Bristol, VT. – October 24, 1945

Bristol, Vermont – October 24, 1945


SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 12:30 p.m., on October 24, 1945, a U. S. Navy Helldiver aircraft with two men aboard, took off from Burlington, Vermont, bound for the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  The pilot was Lieutenant (Jg.) Walter G. Smith, 22, of Kansas City, Missouri, and his passenger was Lieutenant Commander Maurice M. Stone, 28, of Savannah, Georgia.     

     The men were in Vermont with a squadron of Quonset Point airplanes to take part in Navy Week exercises, but Lt. Cmdr. Stone had developed an infection in his left arm and Lt. Smith had volunteered to fly him back to Quonset Point for medical treatment. 

     When the plane failed to arrive at Quonset Point it was declared missing and a large scale search was undertaken.  The search was hampered by bad weather.   

     Two days later the wreckage of the missing plane was spotted from the air near the summit of South Mountain in the town of Bristol, about 82 miles southeast of Burlington.   When ground crews reached the scene, they reported that the plane had broken apart on impact and debris was scattered for quite a distance. The bodies of both men were found amidst the wreckage.   

     Lt. Cmdr. Stone had taken part in the first aircraft carrier aerial strike on Tokyo, Japan, while aboard the U.S.S. Bunker Hill.  For his actions he’d earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with three clusters.  He was a native of Maine, and left behind a wife and three children.  He was the executive officer of VB-81 Squadron. 


     The Burlington Free Press, “2 Navy Fliers, Plane Leaving Burlington, Lost”, October 25, 1945, page 1.  

     The Waterbury Democrat, (Ct.), “Navy Flyers Unreported”, October 25, 1945, page 2. 

     Plattsburgh Press – Republican, (N.Y.), “Seek Two Navy Fliers And Lost Plane In Vermont”, October 26, 1945, page 3. 

     The Burlington Free Press, “To Depart Today For Quonset Point”, October 26, 1945, page 11. 

     The Burlington Free Press, “Private Planes Were Prepared To Search For Missing Fliers”, October 26, 1945, page 11. 

     The Burlington Free Press, “Bodies Of Two Navy Fliers Removed From Mountain, Flown To R. I.”, October 29, 1945, page 9.

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