Windsor Locks, CT. – May 13, 1943

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – May 13, 1943

 

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

     On May 13, 1943, three P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft took off from  Bradley Field in Windsor Locks for a high altitude formation training flight. While at 27,000 feet, one of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8255), piloted by Flight Officer Claude Gregory Baker, (23), began a split-s maneuver from which he was unable to recover due to a failure in the tail section of the aircraft.  His plane went out of control and crashed and burned near the airfield.     

     Flight Officer Baker was assigned to the 361st Fighter Squadron.  He enlisted in July of 1941, and had received his pilots wings on April 26th.  He’s buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. 

     Sources:

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

     Imperial Valley Press, (Calif.), “Death Of Fighter Pilot Investigated”, May 14, 1943  

     Long Beach Independent, (Calif.), Obituary for F/O Baker, May 18, 1943, page 5.

     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

 

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