Mt. Greylock, MA. – May 8, 1943

    Mt. Greylock, Williamstown, Massachusetts – May 8, 1943

    On May 8, 1943, two Royal Navy Air Force Pilots took off in a single engine aircraft from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight over Massachusetts.  For a reason that was never ascertained, while passing over the town of Williamstown, Massachusetts, the aircraft crashed into Mt. Greylock and exploded.   Both men were killed in the crash.  

     Sub-Lieutenant Edward William Sewers Berry, age 23.

     Leading Aircraft Fitter Richard Peter Sanford, age 20.

     Both men were born in England, and are buried in Newport Island Cemetery in Newport, R. I.   

     A crew from Westover Field in Chicopee, Mass. arrived and began a week-long cleanup of and removal of the wreckage. 

     The type of aircraft is unknown. 


     The Berkshire County Eagle, “Two Died In Navy Plane on Greylock”, May 12, 1943, pg. 18. Article submitted by Eric Wiberg, author and historian. 

     Town of Williamstown Death Records – Williamstown Town Hall. 

Mt. Greylock, MA. – May 8, 1943.

Mt. Greylock, Williamstown, Massachusetts – May 8, 1943

     Little is known about this accident.      

     On May 8, 1943, a U. S. Navy aircraft with two men aboard took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  The pilot was a British flight officer, who had an American observer aboard.  The names of the men and the type of aircraft is unknown.  At some point the plane crashed into Mt. Greylock in Williamstown, Mass., and both men were killed. 

     Officials from Westover Air Field in Chicopee arrived at the scene and removed the wreckage.  


     The Berkshire County Eagle, “Two Died In Navy Plane On Greylock”, May 12, 1943.  (Article submitted by Eric Wiberg, author and historian.) 

Mt. Greylock, MA – April 2, 1958

Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts – April 2, 1958

Observation Tower on Mt. Greylock.

     On April 2, 1958, a U.S. Navy twin-engine Beech SNB-5 left Grosse Ile Naval Air Station in Michigan bound for South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Massachusetts, on a scheduled navigational training flight.   The plane carried a crew of two: the pilot, Commander Robert D. Vanderberg, 38, of Trenton, Michigan, and the co-pilot, Lieutenant Eugene B. Ganley, 24, of Grosse Ile.

     At about 1:30 p.m. the aircraft was in the vicinity of Albany, New York, where Commander Vanderberg communicated with the tower at Albany Airport.  The weather was snowy, with low clouds and poor visibility.  Just minutes after Vanderberg’s last transmission the Beech plowed into the cloud covered peak of Mt. Greylock.  The impact occurred on the southwest ridge just 50 feet below the 3,491 foot summit.     

     Lt. Ganley initially survived the crash, but succumbed to his injuries about an hour later.  Commander Vanderberg was seriously injured, and had to wait twenty-one hours in the frigid temperatures before help arrived. 

     A search and rescue helicopter circled twice overhead, but failed to see the wreckage due to the weather.  On the third pass the clouds lifted and the downed aircraft was seen.  Medical corpsmen T/Sgt. Charles Kansaku, and S/Sgt. Eugene Slabinski, were lowered from the hovering copter to treat Commander Vanderberg’s injuries.  Vanderberg was then airlifted off the mountain and brought to North Adams Hospital.   Kansaku and Slabinski were ordered to remain behind at the crash site until navy personnel arrived to take over.    

     Heavy snowfall hindered recovery and salvage operations.

     This is the only military aircraft accident known to have occurred on Mt. Greylock.   

     There are have been at least two civilian airplanes that have crashed on the mountain. One on August 12, 1948, and the other on September 17, 1988.  Both resulted in fatalities. 


     North Adams Transcript, (Ma.), “Injured Pilot Improving; Body Of Second held Here”, April 4, 1958  

     Naval Air Station Grosse Ile Virtual Museum – Crash On Mt. Greylock Page – NASGI SNB Crash on Mount Greylock

     Boston Globe, “Pilot Found Alive, 2 Presumed Dead After Plane Crash On Mt. Greylock”, September 19, 1988

     The Recorder – Greenfield, Mass.,, “Recorder Columnist Hikes Mount Greylock To Plane Wreckage”, by Chip Ainsworth, June 3, 2016  

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