Goffstown, N.H. – December 13, 1945

Goffstown, New Hampshire – December 13, 1945

     On the afternoon of December 13, 1945, a 24-year-old man  rented a Piper Cub airplane in Nashua, New Hampshire, and flew to Concord Airport to deliver plans for a proposed seaplane base along the Merrimack River in Lowell.   He arrived safely at Concord at 2:30 p.m., and took off for the return trip to Nashua a half-hour later.  While in route the engine of this airplane began to miss-fire and he began losing altitude.  Then the engine quit.  As he was attempting to make a controlled landing the plane’s left wing struck a tree top which sent the aircraft into a cartwheel causing it to crash and catch fire.  Fortunately the pilot was able to extricate himself and create distance between himself and the burning wreck.

     The weather was cold, the sun had set, and snow covered the ground.  On top of that the pilot had lost his gloves in the crash, one pants leg had been ripped open, and he was bleeding from two lacerations. 

     Fortunately the pilot had served as a B-24 pilot during World War II, and had had some survival training.   He stayed near the plane during the night and began walking at first light. 

     Meanwhile a search for the missing airplane and pilot was underway and several times he heard low flying aircraft and heard hunters shooting, but didn’t see anyone.  When he came upon a brook, he drank from it, and then followed it downstream but it didn’t lead him to civilization. 

     The following night he managed to start a small fire, but it didn’t do much to warm him, so he began walking again.   Then after walking for four to five hours he wound up back at the site where he’d made the fire. 

     He then began ripping four foot lengths of pine branches and stacking them in large pile.  He then crawled inside and spent the rest of the night there.   In the morning he began walking again. 

     At about 7 p.m. that evening he came to a road, and saw a light in the distance.  The light was to the farmhouse at Glen Echo Farm, and when knocked, he was allowed in, fed, and warmed by the stove.   A short time later a police officer arrived to transport him to the base hospital at Grenier Field in Manchester.   

     At the hospital it was learned that the following day, December, 24th was to be the pilot’s wedding day.   The wedding was rescheduled. 

     Source: The Nashua Telegraph, “Found Flier’s Chief regret He Missed Wedding Today”, December 17, 1945, page 1.  





Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲