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. 

Atlantic Ocean – June 21, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – June 21, 1945

Updated June 8, 2018

     On the night of June 21, 1945, navy pilot John Huddleston Heath, 27, was killed when his aircraft crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.   His body was not recovered until September 13, 1945, about two miles off Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

     The type of plane, Heath’s rank, and details of the accident are unknown.

     Heath’s body was brought to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, before burial.  The location of his burial is unknown.  He was originally from New Orleans, La.  He died just three days before his 28th birthday.  

     Source: North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #45-86  


     Source: Cape Cod Standard Times, “Navy Searches For Two Bodies”, June 22, 1945, page 1.

     According to an article found in the Cape Cod Standard Times, there were two men aboard the aircraft at the time of this accident.  The article reported how search vessels were operating south of Hyannisport, Massachusetts, searching for two navy men believed lost when their airplane was observed to crash into the water approximately three miles south of Hyannisport around 10:00 a.m. on June 21st.   

     The aircraft was described as an advanced trainer with two officers aboard.  Their names were being withheld.   

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲