Webster, MA. – June 3, 1950

Webster, Massachusetts – June 3, 1950   

U.S. Navy Grumman Avenger
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of June 3, 1950, Lieutenant Commander Gregory T. McLean, (28), took off from Anacostia Field in Washington, D. C., bound for Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  The aircraft was described in the newspapers as a “three-seater torpedo bomber”, which may indicate he was piloting a TBM Avenger.  While in-route Lt. Cmdr. Mclean and his aircraft disappeared.  A widespread search was instituted spanning the east coast and New England.  The search included more than 100 aircraft as well as numerous maritime vessels. 

     The following day the body of Lt. Cmdr. McLean was found in the wreckage of his aircraft which had gone down in a thickly wooded area of Webster, Massachusetts.  The cause of the crash is unknown.        


     The Boston Globe, “Navy Pilot Dies As Bomber Crashes Into Webster Woods”, June 5, 1950, Pg. 15.  Article supplied by Eric Wiberg, author and historian. 

Northampton, Mass. C-54 Crash Memorial

Northampton, Mass. C-54 Crash Memorial

Located at Florence Road and Old Wilson Road, Northampton, Mass.  

To learn more about this accident, click here: Northampton, MA. – 1948

Photos taken May 3, 2018.

Click on images to enlarge.

Memorial at the crash site.
Established 1999.

Groton, CT – October 19, 1944

Groton, Connecticut – October 19, 1944

Updated January 13, 2019


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On October 19, 1944, a navy Hellcat fighter plane crashed into the roof of a home belonging to Fillibert L. Bergeron, causing substantial damage to the structure.  (The exact address was not stated in the press.)  As the plane tore through the house, it snagged the blanket off a sleeping 2-year-old girl.  After striking the home, the aircraft continued onward and came down in the nearby school yard of the Colonel Ledyard School on Chicago Avenue.  State troopers found the blanket amidst the aircraft wreckage. 

     The pilot was identified as navy Lieutenant W. J. McCartney, of Toledo, Ohio, who survived the ordeal with non-life threatening injuries. 

     The sleeping girl was unharmed.       

     Update: Lieutenant McCartney later married a woman who lived in the home his aircraft crashed into.  The story of their romance was published in a book titled “New London Goes To War” (c. 2011), written by Connecticut author Clark van der Lyke, who in 1944 was a child attending the school where Lieutenant McCartney’s Hellcat came to rest.   Mr. van der Lyke has also published the story in Kindle format under the title “Cupid Was His Co-pilot”.


     New York Times, “Plane Wrecks Room; Sleeping Baby Saved”, October 20, 1944.    (Two photos with article.)


Seekonk, MA – November 25, 1928

Seekonk, Massachusetts – November 25, 1928

     Shortly after 1 p.m. on November 25, 1928, a private plane carrying three young men took off from What Cheer Airport in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for a sight-seeing flight.  Less than fifteen minutes later the plane crashed on Cole’s Farm in Seekonk. 

     The lone witness to the crash, Edward L. Cole, 17, stated the plane was passing over at an altitude of about 800 feet when the motor suddenly stopped, and the aircraft went into a spin and crashed. 

     The pilot, William Lang, 23, and a passenger, Stanislaus D’Ambra, 20, both of Providence, were killed instantly.  A second passenger, Francis Clancy 18, was still alive but gravely injured.  He died while en-route to Pawtucket Memorial Hospital.     

     Roland Coutu of Providence was supposed to go on the flight, but gave up his place to D’Ambra. 

     As often happened in such accidents, word of the crash spread quickly and thousands of curious onlookers descended on the scene. 


     Woonsocket Call,”3 Providence Men Killed In Seekonk Plane Crash”, November 26, 1928, Pg. 1       

     The Cranston News, “Cranston Boy Killed Instantly In Plane crash Sunday”, November 28, 1928, pg. 1

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