Chicopee, MA. – June 11, 1943

Chicopee, MA. – June 11, 1943


P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of June 11, 1943, 2nd Lt. Bruce Cowan, 19, took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in a P-47-B Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 41-5956), for a routine training flight.   

     At about 10:45 a.m., his aircraft was observed high over the field by a security guard for the Chicopee Water Supply.   The guard later related how the aircraft appeared to “side-slip” and rapidly loose altitude, before it crashed in a wooded area about 200 feet off Burrett Road, about a quarter-of-a-mile from Westover Field.  Lt. Cowan was killed instantly.

     Lt. Cowan died four months shy of his 20th birthday.  He was assigned to the 321st Fighter Squadron of the 326th Fighter Group.  He’s buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama.


     Unknown Newspaper, “Westover Pilot Killed In Crash”, June 12, 1943

     Unknown Newspaper, “Pilot Killed As Westover Plane falls In Chicopee”, June 12, 1943  

     Springfield Union & Republican, “Pilot Crash Victim Came from Alabama”, June 13, 1943




Lyme, CT – June 21, 1943

Lyme, Connecticut – June 21, 1943


P-47 Thunderbolt - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On Wednesday, June 23, 1943, two P-47B fighter planes assigned to the 326th Fighter Group, 322nd Squadron, based at Westover Field in Massachusetts, were engaged in a training flight over Lyme, Connecticut, when they collided in mid-air in the vicinity of the Lyme School.

     The pilot of one plane, (41-6035) Lt. Elmer Buss, was able to bail out safely, but the pilot of the other plane, (41-6052) Lt. William Carlton Ives, 21, was killed. 

     Lt. Ives is buried in Highland Park Cemetery in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. For a photo of his grave, see #86564235.   


     The New Era, (Deep River Ct.)  “Pilot Dies In Crash Of Planes At Lyme”, June 25, 1943, pg. 1


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