Martha’s Vineyard, MA. – February 19, 1946

Martha’s Vineyard – February 19, 1946

Cape Poge – Chappaquiddick


SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 10:48 a.m. on the morning of February 19, 1946, Ensign Cecil M. Richards, 21, and his gunner, Arm2c William Robert Garrett, 20, were in a U. S. Navy  SB2C-4E Helldiver, (Bu. No. 21083), participating in an aerial bombing exercise over Cape Poge, Chappaquiddick Island, at Martha’s Vineyard.  Ensign Richards began his dive at 6,750 feet.   After releasing the training bombs on a designated target area, the aircraft was seen to continue in its dive, then roll over and crash into the water at high speed.  Both Richards and Garret were killed instantly.  

     The cause of the accident is unknown.

     Both men were assigned to Fighter Bomber Squadron 18, (VB-18), at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  

     In 2016, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers began removing potentially dangerous ordinance from the Cape Poge area and discovered the propeller, one machinegun, and other pieces from Ensign Richards’ aircraft. 


     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 19, 1946.

     (Martha’s) Vineyard Gazette, “Two Fliers Lost – First Fatality Since War, Off Cape Pogue”, February 22, 1946.

     Vineyard Gazette, “World War II Bomber Found Buried At Cape Pogue”, by Noah Asimov, May 2, 2019  

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