Long Island Sound – June 24, 1943

Long Island Sound – June 24, 1943

Updated October 10, 2023.

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of June 24, 1943, a U. S. Navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 33146), with five men aboard, left Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight. 

     Those aboard included:

     Pilot: Lt. (Jg.) David William Gottlieb, age 22. 

     Co-pilot: Lt. (Jg.) Thomas F. DeVane, age 22 or 23. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180076888/thomas-francis-devane

     Radio Operator: ARM2c Philip N. Brown. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/84850020/philip-norman-brown

     AMM3c John E. Williams https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/89908206/john-edwin-williams

     AOM1c Robert W. Welker https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/93545731/robert-w-welker

     The men were assigned to VB-125, which at that time was stationed at Quonset Point.

     The purpose of the flight was for the crew to engage in a training exercise with a U.S. Navy submarine in Long Island Sound.  The aircraft was loaded with water filled practice bombs which it was to drop on the submarine while making mock attack runs.  

     While making a low level run on the submarine, the aircraft passed over the sub and began a shallow climb to the left.  In doing so the aircraft suddenly rolled up-side-down and dove into the water of Long Island Sound in an area about mid-way between Plum Island, New York, and Niantic, Connecticut.  The plane exploded on impact and sank immediately in 100 feet of water.  None of the crew survived.   

     Recent information supplied by author and historian Eric Wiberg indicates that the body of one crew member was recovered.   


     U.S. Navy Accident Report #43-7392, dated June 24, 1943

     The Day, “Navy Plane Crashes In Sound; Body Of Flyer Brought Here”, June 24, 1943


Long Island Sound, CT. – May 30, 1943

Long Island Sound, CT. – May 30, 1943


P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

  On the morning of May 30, 1943, 2nd Lt. Neil C. Donovan, 23, was piloting an RP-47B, (Ser. No. 41-5939), over southern Connecticut on a routine training flight when for reasons unknown, his aircraft crashed onto the water of Long Island Sound near the town of Branford.  He did not survive.  Lt. Donovan was assigned to the 321st Fighter Squadron at Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts.    


     Hartford Courant, “Two Army Planes Crash, One Killed, Another Hurt”, May 31, 1943, page 1.  (The article also refers to another P-47 crash that occurred in Coventry, Connecticut.)  

     Information supplied by Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, Rhode Island.


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