North Reading, MA. – July 18, 1942

North Reading, Massachusetts – July 18, 1942


B-17G “Flying Fortress”
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 18, 1942, a B-17B “Flying Fortress”, (Ser. No. 39-8), left its base in Grander, Newfoundland, bound for Middletown, Pennsylvania, to have some equipment updated.  While passing over Massachusetts the aircraft encountered thick clouds and ground fog.  It was speculated that the while the pilot was letting down through the scud the aircraft developed “wing flutter” which caused one of the wings to break away.  The plane went down in a wooded area of North Reading and all aboard perished.       

     The crewmembers were identified as follows:

     Pilot: 1st Lt. Marion R. Klice

     Co-Pilot: 1st Lt. Donald H. Johnson

     Bombardier: 1st Lt. James N. Phillips, Jr., (24), buried in Jasper Cemetery, Jasper, Arkansas. 

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. Orville Drue Andrews, (22), buried in Pineview Cemetery, Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

     Master Sergeant Archie R. Jester, Jr. (32), buried in Salem Cemetery, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

     Engineer: Staff Sergeant William E. Perkins, (21), buried in Evergreen Memorial Park, Portsmouth, Virginia.

     Radio Operator: Corporal Stephen Bilocur, (20), buried in St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. 

     Staff Sergeant Robert J. Aulsbury, (23 or 24), buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Jennings, Missouri.

     PFC. Sidnney Samuel Koltun (24), buried in Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis Missouri.  

     Corporal Charles H. Torrance

     There is a memorial to these men on the town green in North Reading. 


     North Reading Transcript, “Veterans Day Ceremony To Memorialize 1942 B-17 Bomber Crash”, November 2, 1995, page 13. 

     North Reading Times, “May Their Noble Deeds Live Forever”, November 16, 1995, page 1

     North Reading Transcript, “B-17 Bomber Crash Was 59 Years Ago This Week”, July 12, 2001, page 14.     

     North Reading Transcript, B-17 Bomber Crash In Town Happened 65 Years Ago Next Week”, July 12, 2007, page 6. 

    North Reading Historical Commission Blogspot.



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