Bethel, CT. – November 29, 1942

Bethel, Connecticut – November 29, 1942

     There are few details about this accident.    

Updated January 25, 2022

Douglas C-39
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 29, 1942, an army C-39 aircraft, (Ser. No. 38-516), with seven men aboard was seen circling the area of Danbury and Bethel for about fifteen minutes before someone aboard fired a red flare.  Then five parachutes were observed before the plane crashed and burned in a wooded area.  Two men had remained aboard the plane and were killed.   Those who bailed out landed safely.

     The dead were identified n the press as:

     Major Herman B. Leeth, 46, of Indianapolis, Indiana.

     Captain John F. Meehan, Jr., from Wyncote, Pennsylvania.

     The survivors were identified as:

     Colonel George V. McPike of Hannibal, Mo.

     Major Robert V. Dunn, of Marion, Md.

     Captain Gerald Garrard, of Cordele, Ga.

     Lieutenant Ross De Lue, of Chicago, Il.

     A civilian, William Kurylo, of Middletown, Pa.

     The flight had originated at the Rome Air Depot in Rome, N.Y.  The reason for the distress flare and cause of the crash were not stated.

     Update: The aircraft had been circling while trying to make radio contact with air traffic control.  Both engines failed due to carburetor icing.   


     Hartford Courant, “Plane Crash In Bethel Is Fatal To Two”, November 30, 1942

     New York Times, “Two Army Fliers Killed”, November 30, 1942 

     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006


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