Lakeville, MA. – May 29, 1942

Lakeville, Massachusetts – May 29, 1942


B-25 Mitchel bomber

     On the morning of May 29, 1942, a U. S. Army B-25 bomber, (Ser. No. 40-2284), loaded with depth charges, took off from Westover Field in Massachusetts for an anti-submarine patrol off the New England coast.  The mission was uneventful, and as the plane was returning it reportedly developed engine trouble and the pilot ordered the crew to bail out.  The crew, consisting of three officers and three enlisted men, successfully bailed out, and the aircraft crashed in a unpopulated wooded area of Lakeville.  The area where it crashed was bordered by Hill Street, Montgomery Street, Pickens Street, and Precinct Street.  The exploding depth charges were heard for miles, and ignited several forest fires.  Fortunately there were no injuries to civilians or personal property on the ground. 

     Two men said to have witnessed the event told a reporter they were driving on the Taunton-New Bedford Highway when they saw the bomber begin trailing smoke before suddenly bursting into flames.  

     Two other witnesses, a man and his wife, also told of seeing “a flash of fire” in the sky followed by explosions. 

    Army authorities later released a statement that the cause of the crash was due to engine trouble.  

     The pilot of the aircraft was 1st Lt. Oscar Leland Wertz, of Kansas.  Lt. Wertz returned to duty and was later promoted to Captain and assigned to the 5th Air Force in the Pacific Theatre of Operations.  He was killed on July 23, 1943, when the B-25 he was piloting crashed while attacking a Japanese barge in Hanish Harbor, New Guinea.    

     For more info, click here:


    Army Air Corps Technical report Of Aircraft Accident Classification Committee #42-5-29-1

     The Standard Times, (New Bedford, Ma.), “Bomber Crashes, Burns In Lakeville”, May 30, 1942, pg. 1 

     The Standard Times, (New Bedford, Ma.), “Engine Blamed In Plane Crash”, May 31, 1942


Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲