Atlantic Ocean – March 10, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – March 10, 1945


B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of March 10, 1945, a B-24J Liberator, (Ser. No. 42-50975), with twelve men aboard, took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a gunnery training flight off Montauk Point, New York. The aircraft was last heard from at 8:30 A. M. when the crew radioed that they were over the target area.  At 1:oo P.M. a civilian boat happened upon floating aircraft wreckage about seven miles southwest of Montauk Point and notified the Coast Guard.  It was noted that the sea was smooth and calm, and that the horizon line was difficult to distinguish, which may have contributed to the accident. 

     The crew were identified as:

     Pilot: 2nd Lt. Howard Bruce Tolle, 24, of Hillsboro, Ohio.  

     Co-pilot: Flight Officer George Francis Ruf, Jr., age 21-22, of Louisville, Kentucky. 

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. David Henderson Richey, 20, of Detroit, Michigan.   To see a phot of Lt. Richey, click here:

     Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Raymond G. Bushee. 20, of Chicago. 

     Gunner: Cpl. Russell L. White.  (No info.)

     Radio Operator: Cpl. Philip Ward Ayers, 19, of Sussex, New Jersey. 

     Radio Operator: Cpl Carl E. Carlson.  (No info.)

     Radio Operator: Cpl. William F. Budka, 18, of Jefferson, Maine.  To see a photo of Cpl. Budka, click here:

     Gunner: Cpl. John W. Shedlock, 20, of Cleveland, Ohio.   

     Engineer: Cpl. Charles Richard Clark, Jr., 19, of Gaston, Indiana. To see a photo of Cpl. Clark, click here:  

     Engineer: Cpl. Donald J. Finger, 19, of St. Claire Shores, Michigan.

     Gunnery Instructor:  Tech. Sergeant Harold E. Falk, 30, of Pittsburgh, Penn. 


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “Three Killed, 9 Are Missing In New York Bomber Crash”, March 12, 1945, page A-6.

     Book: “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941 – 1945”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006. 

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