Cape Cod Beach – May 8, 1942

Cape Cod Beach – May 8, 1942


U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

      On May 8, 1942, Ensign Arthur J. Cassidy was piloting an F4F-4 Wildcat, (Bu. No. 4085), just off Cape Cod on a routine navigational training flight. About 40 minutes into the flight, the 30 gallon reserve fuel tank ran low, so he switched to the main tank, and when he did so the fuel suction was lost and could not be regained.  His engine lost power, but he was able to make an emergency landing on a beach on Cape Cod.  (Unfortunately the navy report on this incident does not state which specific beach, or the town it was located in.)

     Cassidy’s aircraft suffered heavy damage during the landing, but he was not injured.

     He was assigned to VF-41. 

     Ensign Cassidy was later promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.).  He lost his life on March 30, 1943 when his aircraft disappeared over Massachusetts and was never heard from again.  To read about his disappearance click here. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #4140, dated May 8, 1942.


Camp Edwards, MA.- December 22, 1942

Camp Edwards, Massachusetts – December 22, 1942 


Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On December 22, 1942, a flight of three U. S. Army P-40 fighter planes took off from the Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, for a tactics-training flight.   All aircraft were part of the 317th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group, then stationed at Hillsgrove. 

     While over Cape Cod, and practicing mock attack and evasion maneuvers, one of the aircraft, (41-36510), piloted by 1st Lt. Bartholemew  J. Judge, Jr., (24), went missing.  Attempts to make contact by the other two aircraft were unsuccessful, and both were ordered to return to Hillsgrove. 

     When Lt. Judge failed to return he was declared missing.  A search was instituted but nothing was found. 

     Three months later, on March 22, 1943, Lt. Judge’s remains were found near the wreckage of this aircraft in a wooded area of Camp Edwards, about five miles north of Otis Filed.  There was evidence that he’d tried to bail out but his parachute didn’t open. 

     The wreckage was found by Chief Clarence Gibbs, a member of the Camp Edwards fire department, when he saw a glint of sunlight reflect off a piece of metal in a wooded area in a remote portion of the artillery range.  

     Lt. Judge is buried in Saint Catherine’s Cemetery, in Moscow, Pennsylvania.

     Lt. Judge had survived an earlier plane crash in Stafford Springs, Connecticut on August 7, 1942.  In that instance, he and an instructor were in a BT-14 trainer aircraft, (Ser. No. 40-1209). 


      The Waterbury Democrat, “Pilots Injured”, August 8, 1942, page 2.

      The Evening Star, (Washington, DC), “Lt. Judge, Former G.W.U. Student, Reported Missing”, December 26, 1942,page A-8

     Fall River Herald, “Two Aviators Still Sought”, February 8, 1943, page 2.

     The Falmouth Enterprise, “Dead Flyer Found”, March 26, 1943 

     Aviation Safety Network, Wikibase 102913, #174721141


Cape Cod Bay – May 18, 1944

Cape Cod Bay – May 18, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     At 1:07 a.m. in the early morning hours of May 18, 1944, a flight of two U. S. Navy F6F Hellcats took off from Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island for a night-training flight.  The mission was to make practice bombing runs on a designated target anchored in Cape Cod Bay.  According to the navy report of this incident, the training-flight was termed a “Masthead Bombing Flight”. 

     The weather was clear with visibility at six-plus miles, with a cloud cover at 8,500 feet. 

     One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 42520), was piloted by Lt. (jg.) James Francis Corroon, Jr., (25), and the other, (Bu. No. 42221), was piloted by an Ensign De Masters.  Both aircraft were assigned to VF-74.      

     On the previous day, Lt. (jg.) Corroon had flown over the target during a daylight training flight, and was therefore familiar with its location.

     At 2:50 a.m., after both aircraft had finished making their mock attack runs on the target, Ensign De Masters radioed to Lt. (jg.) Corroon that he was returning to base.  Corroon answered, “This is thirty-three, Roger, out.”  This was the last radio transmission from  Lt. (jg.) Corroon.  Despite a careful search of the entire area, no trace of the missing pilot or his aircraft was ever found.

     Investigators were unable to come to an exact conclusion as to the cause of the disappearance. 

     Lt. (Jg.) Corroon was born in Freeport, Long Island, N.Y. in 1919, and received his wings in 1942.  To see more, click on the link below.


     U.S. Navy Crash Investigation Report      

Harwich, MA. – November 24, 1944

Harwich, Massachusetts – November 24, 1944

     Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on the morning of November 24, 1944, Ensign R. N. Kelly of Philadelphia, Penn., was piloting  a single engine aircraft 20,000 feet over Cape Cod when the engine suddenly caught fire.  Knowing he was over a populated area, he stayed with the aircraft until he was able to direct it towards a wooded area, and then bailed out at 3,000 feet.  The plane crashed in the woods near Bassett’s Pond and exploded.  Nobody on the ground was injured. Ensign Kelly sprained his ankle upon landing, but suffered no serious injury.

     The type of aircraft was not stated.

     Ensign Kelly had taken off from Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

     Source: Cape Cod Standard Times, “Navy Plane falls At North Harwich”, November 24, 1944, page 1 

Hyannis Airport, MA – June 13, 1942

Hyannis Airport, MA – June 13, 1942


     On June 13, 1942, an L-1 military observation aircraft, (Ser. No. 40-282), with two men aboard, lost power and crashed on takeoff from Hyannis Airport.  The plane was wrecked, but the pilot, 2nd Lt. Benjamin H. Shiffrin, and his observer, Raymond D. Cawyer, escaped with minor injuries.

    The aircraft was assigned to the 103rd Observation Squadron based at Hyannis. 

    Lt. Shiffrin received his pilot’s rating on August 15, 1941.    

    Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-6-13-2


Hyannis, MA – April 20, 1945

Hyannis, Massachusetts – April 20, 1945

     On the night of April 20, 1945, Ensign Roger Lee Thornton, 22, was killed when the navy aircraft he was piloting crashed about 1.5 miles N.N.E. of the Hyannis Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  The type of plane and cause of the crash are unknown.

     Ensign Thornton’s body was brought to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, before being sent to Columbus, Ohio, for burial. He was survived by his wife Laura Katherine Thornton.  

     To see a photo of Ensign Thornton’s grave go to and see memorial #51907830.


     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #45-39 

     Cape Cod Standard Times, “Navy Pilot Killed In Crash”, April 21, 1945


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