Long Island Sound – April 17, 1944

Long Island Sound – April 17, 1944

 

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

     On April 17, 1944, a flight of four P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for a training flight.  While flying in formation over Long Island Sound, one of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-22359), piloted by 2nd Lt. Robert Godshalk, (28), developed engine trouble.  Lt. Godshalk was forced to make an emergency water landing about one mile off Sachem Head in Guilford, Connecticut.  He was seen to get out of the plane before it sank, but by the time a Coast Guard boat had reached the scene the pilot had disappeared.  It was reported that a strong current was running at the time.    

     Lt. Godshalk’s body was later recovered on May 30th.  

     Lt. Godshalk was from Ardmore, Penn.  He’s buried in Westminster Cemetery in Bals Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.     

     Sources:     

     Waterbury Democrat, “Connecticut News”, April 19, 1944

     The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Flyers Body Recovered”, June 2, 1944, page 4.  

     www.findagrave.com

Ellington, CT. – April 30, 1945

Ellington, Connecticut – April 30, 1945

 

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

     On April 30, 1945, two P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for an instrument-navigation training flight.  One of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8197), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Edward Dean Hensley, (20-21).  Both aircraft climbed to 6,500 feet to get above the overcast and leveled off.  At one point the other pilot noticed that Lt. Hensley’s plane had disappeared.  Witnesses on the ground later told investigators that Lt. Hensley’s aircraft was falling sideways as it broke out of the clouds.  It then rolled onto its back and an unknown object was seen to fall away from the plane.  The plane crashed and exploded in the town of Ellington.

     Lt. Hensley is buried Mountain View Cemetery in Deming, New Mexico. 

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com  

 

Windsor Locks, CT. – August 9, 1944

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – August 9, 1944

 

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

     On the morning of August 9, 1944, 2nd Lt. Francis R. Betz took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, in a P-47D fighter aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8262), for a routine training mission.  Upon his return to the airfield, his plane crashed and burned about one mile short of the runway.   

     Source:

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

Branford, CT. – July 4, 1944

Branford, Connecticut – July 4, 1944

 

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

     On July 4, 1944, 2nd Lt. John B. Hass took off in a P-47C fighter aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-6556), from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for a lone navigational training flight.   about forty-five minutes later, while passing over the town of Bradford, his aircraft dove into the ground and exploded, killing him instantly.  It was raining at the time of the crash, but the cause was undetermined. 

     To see a photo and obituary, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/121649607/john-bernard-haas#

     Source:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Windsor Locks, CT. – July 16, 1942

Windsor Locks, CT. – July 16, 1942

Bradley Airfield   

P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

     On the morning of July 16, 1943, two P-38 Lightning fighter planes were taking off for a training flight at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks.  One of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-12588), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Albert R. Dawson, and his aircraft was positioned to the right and just behind  the flight leader’s P-38.  As the two planes sped down the runway, a fuel truck with two privates aboard drove onto the runway from a right side taxiway without authorization from the tower.   The passenger private saw what was happening and warned the driver to turn off.  As the fuel truck driver tried to turn away the other private jumped clear.  A moment later Dawson’s P-38 hit the fuel truck causing and a massive explosion followed.  The force of the impact due to the speed of the aircraft pushed the entangled wreckage for 200 feet. 

      The fuel truck driver was killed in the crash.  The private who jumped suffered minor injuries. Lt. Dawson died of his injuries on July 17, 1942.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/155419101/albert-r-dawson       

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Windsor Locks, Ct. – April 8, 1942

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – April 8, 1942

 

P-38 Lightning U.S. Air Force photo

P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

     On April 8, 1942, a U.S. Army P-38 Lightning fighter plane, (Ser. No. AE-982) crashed at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks.  The pilot, Second Lieutenant Philip R. McKevitt of Vinton, Iowa, was killed.  

      Source: The Woonsocket Call, “Army Pilot Killed At Windsor Locks”, April 8, 1942.

     Update March 5, 2016

     Just after takeoff, Lt. McKevitt noticed a problem with the right engine, and attempted to circle around back to base for landing.  (Witnesses later reported hearing the engine sputtering.)  As he was doing so, the aircraft went into a spin with insufficient altitude to recover, and crashed.  The plane came down in an area a quarter of a mile from the Turnpike Road in the southwest section of Bradley Field, and burned. 

     The crash investigation committee requested that the right engine be sent to Middletown Air Depot to be dismantled and checked for any signs of sabotage. 

     Lt. McKevitt began his flight training on May 3, 1941, and graduated from Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, on December 12, 1941. He arrived at Bradley Field only the week before his accident.  

     Lt. McKevitt is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton, Iowa, Lot 76-so. part of N. For a photo of his grave see www.findagrave.com  memorial #43301321

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-4-8-1

     Windsor Locks Journal, “Army Pursuit Planes In Two Fatal Crashes”, April 9, 1942

 

Bradley Field, CT. – April 19, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – April 19, 1944 

 

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

     On the evening of April 19, 1944, 2nd Lieutenant Horace W. Cotton was piloting a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-8021), from Bradly Army Air Field when he developed engine trouble and requested clearance for an emergency landing.  Clearance was granted, and as Lieutenant Cotton was attempting to make it to runway 33,  his aircraft crashed about 100 yards short of the tarmac, and he was killed.   

     Lieutenant Cotton is buried in Fairmont Cemetery, in Denver, Colorado.  To see a photo of Lt. Cotton, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/20774765/horace-w-cotton

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident, #44-4-19-30

     www.findagrave.com

Bradley Field, CT. – August 4, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – August 4, 1944

 

 

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

     On August 4, 1944, a flight of four P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft took off from Bradley Field for a formation training flight.  Just after take off, one aircraft, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-22514), piloted by Lt. Sylvester F. Currier, began experiencing engine trouble.  After informing the flight leader of his situation Lt. Currier was ordered to return to Bradley Field.  As Currier was about 1.5 miles from the field black smoke began coming from the airplane’s exhaust.  The flight leader advised the lieutenant to land on the nearest runway as there was very little wind.  Unfortunately Lt. Currier’s aircraft didn’t make it to the runway, and crashed in a wooded area about a quarter of a mile from the end of Runway 6.  The engine and landing gear were torn away, and although Lt. Currier was strapped to his seat, the seat broke loose and the lieutenant was slammed against the instrument panel.  A small fire erupted, but was extinguished quickly by rescue crews.  The aircraft was a total wreck.    

     Lt. Currier was not seriously injured.  He’d received his pilot’s rating on April 15, 1944.

     Source:

     U. S. Army Air Forces Aircraft Accident report #45-8-4-15    

Bradley Field, CT. – March 22, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut

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

     At 1:30 p.m., on March 22, 1944, army 2nd Lt. Leeroy Halverson (Spelled with two e’s.) took off from Bradley Field for a routine training flight in a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-8264).  About an hour later, as he was making his approach for landing, his aircraft crashed at the beginning of the runway and he was killed.

     Lt. Halverson was assigned to the 1st Fighter Squadron, First Air Force.  He’d received his pilot’s rating on February 8, 1944.   

     Lt. Halverson is buried in Union Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  To see a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com, memorial #126963224. 

     Source:

     U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident, #44-3-22-20 

East Granby, CT – July 25, 1964

East Granby, Connecticut – July 25, 1964 

     On July 25, 1964, a Connecticut Air National Guard F-100F Super Sabre fighter jet assigned to the 118th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron took off at 12:43 p.m. from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks for what was to be an Air Defense Command training mission.  At 1:44 p.m., as the jet was approaching Bradley Field, it crashed about a half-mile short of the main runway just after the pilot reported a flame-out.  Both crewmen aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain Thomas G. Jurgelas, 31, of South Windsor, Conn.  He was survived by his wife and two children.

     Captain Wesley A. Lanz, 29, of Rockville, Conn.

     Both men were former classmates, graduating in 1957 from the University of Connecticut.

     Source:

     New York Times, “2 Connecticut Men Killed In Jet Crash”, July 26, 1964

     Providence Journal, “Two Air Guard Officers Killed In Conn. Crash”, July 26, 1964

 

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