Long Island Sound, CT – January 25, 1942

Long Island Sound, Connecticut – January 25, 1942


P-39 Aircobra - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-39 Aircobra – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the evening of January 25, 1942, 2nd Lt. Robert H. Wetherbee left La Guardia Airport in New York in a Bell YP-39 (Ser. No. 40-38) bound for Bridgeport, Connecticut, on a ferry mission.  While flying at an altitude over Long Island Sound the engine began to cut out.  The fuel pressure would vary from 5 to 8 pounds, and occasionally rise to 12 and 14 pounds.  Lt. Wetherbee worked the “wobble pump” in an effort to stabilize the fuel pressure, but found that the pressure would not remain steady.  Then the engine began running extremely rough before finally quitting altogether. As the aircraft dropped to 600 feet,  Lt. Wetherbee had no choice but to make a forced landing in the Sound just off the coast of Norwalk, Connecticut. 

     The accident investigation committee noted that the same aircraft had been grounded after its previous flight for a similar problem with the engine, and found no fault with Lt. Wetherbee.  

     Lt. Wetherbee received his pilot’s rating on October 31, 1941.   He was assigned to the 61st Pursuit Squadron as a Flight Commander.

     Source: U.S. Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-1-25-3





was flying making his way from

Stratford, CT – March 26, 1942

Stratford, Connecticut – March 26, 1942


P-39 Aircobra - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-39 Aircobra – U.S. Air Force Photo

      Shortly before 10:30 a.m. on the morning of March 26, 1942, 2nd Lt. Edward G. Armstrong was flying a P-39 single-seat fighter aircraft (Ser. No. 40-36) on a training flight over the Stratford, Connecticut, area in which he was going through aerobatic maneuvers with the aircraft.   According to witnesses, the aircraft’s engine suddenly quit while at 500 feet, and the plane went into a spin from which it did not recover.  It crashed in St. Michael’s Cemetery, only a few feet from Bruce Brook, which boarders one side of the cemetery.  There was no fire, but the plane was demolished, and Lt. Armstrong was killed instantly. 

     The cemetery is located at 2205 Stratford Ave., in Stratford.  It is surrounded by a densely populated area, and it’s possible that Lt. Armstrong remained with his aircraft to avoid having it crash into nearby homes.   

     Lt. Armstrong was assigned to the 61st Pursuit Squadron in Bridgeport, Ct.  He received his pilots rating December 12, 1941.

     According to a newspaper article in the Bridgeport Herald, Lt. Armstrong was the second fatality in his squadron since it came to the Bridgeport area.  On February 15, 1942, Lieutenant Harry L. Mathews, 24, of North Carolina, was killed when his P-39C (40-2972,) crashed near the Bridgeport Municipal Airport while on a training flight.  For more information, see the page about Lt. Mathews on this website – New England Aviation History       


     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-3-26-7

     Bridgeport Herald, “Plane Crash In Stratford Kills Second Army Flyer”, March 26, 1942 


Groton, CT – March 8, 1942

Groton, Connecticut – March 8, 1942


P-40 Warhawk  U.S. Air Force Photo

P-40 Warhawk
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 8, 1942, a Curtiss P-40E, (41-24786), piloted by 2nd Lt. Gerald A. Brandon of the 61st Pursuit Squadron, crashed on take off from Trumbull Airport in Groton.  The aircraft failed to gain altitude as it left the ground and the left wing clipped a fence post at the end of the runway which caused the plane to rotate 90 degrees and crash into a field.  Lt. Brandon survived.     


     U.S. Army Crash Investigation Report #42-3-8-2 

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