Quincy, MA – September 28, 1927

Quincy, Massachusetts – September 28, 1927 

     On September 28, 1927, Thea Rasche, a famous German aviatrix, was piloting a Flamingo Udet, U-12, a German – made trainer biplane, 2,000 feet over the area of Dennison Airport when the motor died.  Unable to restart the motor, Rasche brought the plane down, towards the landing field, but then saw spectators on the field, so she aimed towards the hangars and brought the plane down in an open area.  Unfortunately the ground there was soft and the wheels stuck in the mud causing the plane to nose over.  Miss Rasche was not injured, and the principal damage to the aircraft was to the propeller.    

     Dennison Airport was located near the intersection of East Squantum Street and Quincy Shore Drive.  The airport opened in 1927, and closed shortly before World War II.

     Famous Aviator Emilia Earhart was aboard the first official flight out of the airport on September 3, 1927.      

     Thea Rasche was an aviation pioneer, born August 12, 1899.  More information about her can be found on Wikipedia.   


     New York Times, “Thea Rasche Crashes”, September 29, 1927

     Douglas Daily Dispatch, (AZ.), German Aviatrix Crashes; Unhurt; Plane Damaged”, September 29, 1927, pg. 3. 

     www.wikipedia.com – Thea Rasche

     www.wikipedia.com – Dennison Airport

Plymouth, MA – August 13, 1912

Plymouth, Massachusetts – August 13, 1912

     On August 12, 1912, two army lieutenants, identified only by their last names as Kirtland and Arnold, took off from Marblehead, Massachusetts, in a “hydro-aeroplane” bound for an army maneuvers field situated along the Housatonic River in Connecticut, to take part in war simulation games.  The distance between the two points was about 200 miles, which was quite considerable for the time.

     The men had only gone as far as Duxbury, Massachusetts, when the plane developed engine trouble forcing them to land and make repairs.  After spending the night in Duxbury, they resumed their flight the following morning on the 13th.  While attempting to negotiate a turn over Plymouth Bay, the aircraft “volplaned” and fell into the water.  Fortunately the plane came down in shallow water and neither man was reported to be injured.  However, the aircraft suffered a broken propeller, pontoon, and other damage rendering it inoperable, and it had to be towed to shore.

     Source: (Providence, RI) The Evening News, “Army Aviators Give Up Flight”, August 13, 1912.

     Although the first names of the lieutenants were not stated in the article, it’s possible, given the date of the accident, that their full names were Roy C. Kirtland, and Henry H. Arnold, both of whom were military aviation pioneers.  Kirtland Air Force base in New Mexico is named for Colonel Roy C. Kirtland, and General Henry “Hap” Arnold was the Commander of the United States Army Air Forces During World War II.        



East Boston Airport – November 5, 1929

East Boston Airport – November 5, 1929

     On November 5, 1929, a  de Havilland Moth airplane with two men aboard was taking off from East Boston Airport bound for Bridgeport, Connecticut, when at a height of 150 feet it suddenly lost power and fell to the ground.  It hit the runway and began cartwheeling and burst into flames before coming to rest.  Volunteers quickly formed a bucket brigade using water from Boston Harbor to douse the flames prior to the arrival of firefighters.  

     Both men aboard were killed.  They were identified as (Pilot) Clinton D. Johnston, reportedly about 28-years-old, an aircraft factory inspector for the Department of Commerce, and Henry Carter, 32, from Lebanon, New Hampshire.  

     Johnston was to have turned the aircraft over to Carter once they reached Bridgeport, where he would fly it to New York.


     New York Times, “Two Die In Crash At Boston Airport”, November 6, 1929

Springfield, MA – August 16, 1932

Springfield, Massachusetts – August 16, 1932


Russell Boardman

Russell Boardman

     On August 16, 1932, famous aviator, Russell N. Boardman, 34, took off from Springfield Airport for a test flight of his new Gee-Bee, R-1, Junior Sportster, racing airplane, which he intended to fly in the Thompson Trophy Race in Cleveland, Ohio, later in the month.   According to witnesses, Boardman’s plane developed engine trouble and went into a low roll before spinning into the ground from an altitude of 800 feet.  The plane came down in a thickly wooded area but didn’t burn. 

     The plane was demolished and Boardman was seriously injured.  At first there was some question as to whether of not he’d live, but he rallied and recuperated over the next several months.   

     Unfortunately, Boardman was killed in another plane crash almost a year later on July 3, 1933.  In that incident, he was taking part in a trans-continental air-race and had stopped to refuel in Indianapolis.  After refueling, he crashed on take off when a gust of wind caught the wing of his plane. 

    Early in his flying career, Mr. Boardman had survived one other airplane crash in Cottonwood, Arizona.

     Mr. Boardman was famous for a 5,011.8 mile non-stop trans-Atlantic flight he’d made with John Polando from the United States to Istanbul, Turkey, in July of 1931.  For their accomplishment, both were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross per special order of U.S. President Herbert Hoover.  (The D.F.C. is usually only awarded to military personnel.)       

     For more information about their historic flight, see the book, Wings Over Istanbul – The Life & Flights Of A Pioneer Aviator, by Johnnie Polando.     

     Mr. Boardman was born in Westfield, Connecticut, in 1898.  He was survived by his wife and 5-year-old daughter, as well as one brother and three sisters.  He’s buried in Miner Cemetery in Middletown, Connecticut.  (For a photo of his grave see memorial # 71156334 at  www.findagrave.com)  

     For more biographical information about Russell Boardman, see  www.earlyaviators.com/eboardm1.htm


     New York Times, “Boardman Crashes, Condition Serious”, August 17, 1932

    Chicago Daily Tribune, “Flyer Boardman Crashes In Test Of Speed Plane”, August 17, 1932

     Boston Herald, “Russell Boardman Dies In Indianapolis, Crashed Saturday In East-West race”, July 4, 1933.  



     History-Salt Boxes On Bass River website.  Article: “A baroness Came, And So Did A Countess, In The Heyday Of Yarmouth’s Salt Boxes”, by Bainbridge Crist, 1978.   https://sites.google.com/site/saltboxespublic/history


Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲