Haverhill, MA. – November 4, 1944

Haverhill, Massachusetts – November 4, 1944


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of November 4, 1944, Ensign Robert E. McLaughlin, (22), was piloting an F4U-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 50636), over the town of Haverhill when the aircraft was observed to go into a roll and then dive into the ground at high speed and explode off Hilldale, Avenue. 

     Ensign McLaughlin was assigned to Carrier Air Service Unit 22, (CASU-22) at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.  He enlisted in the Naval Air Corps V-5 program on September 30, 1942, training at Amherst College in Amherst Massachusetts, and further training in North Carolina, Florida. Illinois, and Texas.  He earned his wings at Corpus Christi, Texas, on July 28, 1944.        

     Ensign McLaughlin is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Haverhill.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/35825894/robert-e-mclaughlin


     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 4, 1944.  


     Haverhill During WWII


North Kingstown, R. I. – August 21, 1944

North Kingstown, Rhode Island – August 21, 1944

Updated March 8, 2019


TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 21, 1944, two TBF-1 Avengers, (Bu. No. 23967), and (Bu. No. 06104), left Quonset Point Naval Air Station as part of a flight of several planes that were to take part in a routine training mission.   The two Avengers were flying in a two-plane formation over Narragansett Bay along the western side of Jamestown Island while they waited for other aircraft in the flight to join up with them.  Bu. No. 23967, piloted by Ensign Walter L. Miller, Jr., 21, of Texas, was in the lead position.  The other aircraft, Bu. No. 06104 was piloted by another Ensign, and was flying in the number two position. 

    While both aircraft were about two miles southwest of the Jamestown Bridge, and at an altitude of 1,500 feet, they began to make a ten degree bank to the left.  The air was turbulent, and while the bank was being executed, the right wing of the number two aircraft collided with the elevator of the lead plane.  Immediately after the collision, Ensign Miller’s aircraft went down and crashed into a vacant house in the Saunderstown section of North Kingstown and came to rest in the side yard where it exploded killing all aboard.  The vacant cottage was destroyed by the fire.

     There was an 8-year-old boy playing in the front yard of his home 100 yards away who suffered non-life-threatening burns from the flaming gasoline sprayed by the explosion.   

     A second house in which an elderly invalid woman was residing was also set ablaze.  She was rescued by two Coast Guardsmen, Meredith E. Dobry, of Bensonville, Ill. and Daniel Caruso, of Meriden, Ct., who both happened to be in the area at the time of the crash.     

     The other Avenger was able to make it safely back to Quonset Point without injury to the crew.

     Both aircraft were assigned to CASU-22 at Quonset Point.

     The dead were identified as:

     Pilot: Ensign Walter Lee Miller, Jr., 21, of Morton, Texas.  To see a photograph of Ensign Miller, go to www.findagrave.com, see memorial #38854830.   

     ARM3c Jacob C. Beam, 20, of Pottstown, Pa. He’s buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in North Coventry, Pa.  See www.findagrave memorial #130440147.

    AMM3c Donald J. Finkler. 19, of East Cleveland, Ohio.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 21, 1944 

     Providence Journal, “Three Quonset Airmen Die As Plane Falls, Fires House”, August 22, 1944, Pg. 1

     New York Times, “Plane Hits House; 3 Die”, August 22, 1944

     Newport Mercury, “Navy Men Identified In Bomber Crash”, date either Aug. 22, or 23rd, 1944

     Town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records.


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