Atlantic Ocean – October 20, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – October 20, 1944

     Little information was released about this accident. 

     At around midnight on October 20, 1944, a flight of navy planes were in formation off Cape Cod when one plane was seen to fall out of formation and crash into the sea about ten miles east of Provincetown, Massachusetts.  There had been a pilot officer and enlisted radio operator aboard.  The bodies of both men were found floating in a rubber life raft a few hours later.  Some doubted they’d died of exposure because the weather had been mild, however, the region had experienced heavy rain.  An inquest was held at the Chelsea Naval Hospital, the results of which are unknown.

     The type of aircraft, and the names of the two deceased men were not included in the newspaper article.    

     Source:

     The Waterbury Democrat, (Ct.), “Mystery In Plane Deaths”,  October 21, 1944

Truro, MA. – June 9, 1944

Truro, Massachusetts – June 9, 1944 

     Very little information was released about this accident. 

     On June 9, 1944, a navy pilot and enlisted man were critically injured when their aircraft struck a power cable in north Truro and crashed into the water just off shore.  Both were transported to Provincetown for treatment by a civilian doctor.  A navy doctor from the Squantum Naval Air Station was sent for to determine if the men could be safely moved to the Chelsea Naval Hospital. 

     The name of the men and the type of aircraft were not released. 

     Source:

     The Waterbury Democrat, (Ct.) “Navy Plane Hits Cable, Two Hurt”, June 9, 1944, page 16

 

Long Island Sound – March 31, 1943

Long Island Sound – March 31, 1943

      On the evening of March 31, 1943, Captain William J. Hennon, (23), of Mound, Minnesota, took off from Republic Airfield in Farmingdale, Long Island, N.Y. in a North American BT-14 trainer plane bound for Trumbull Field in Groton, Connecticut.  Captain Hennon was an experienced combat pilot having served overseas and had achieved the status of “ace” for downing numerous enemy airplanes.  When he failed to arrive at Groton a search was undertaken but nothing was found.  It was learned that Capt. Hennon’s proposed route would have had him passing through clouds and fog.  It was speculated that the aircraft might have suffered engine failure and went down in Long Island Sound. 

     Sources:

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

Worcester, MA. – October 3, 1943

Worcester, Massachusetts – October 3, 1943 

   

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On October 3, 1943, 2nd Lt. Edward Miller of Rock Springs, Texas, was piloting a P-47B fighter aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-5982), over the Worcester area when he was forced to bail out of his aircraft.  The airplane crashed in a wooded area and Lt. Miller was slightly injured upon landing. He was taken to a hospital by a passing motorist. 

     Lt. Miller was assigned to the 322nd Fighter Squadron at Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts. 

     Source:

     The Waterbury Democrat, “British Flyers Killed In N. E. “, October 4, 1943, page 9.  (The article included three separate accidents, Lt. Miller’s being one of them.) 

Nantucket, MA. – April 6, 1944

Nantucket, Massachusetts – April 6, 1944

 

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

     On April 6, 1944, a TBM-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 25488) was returning to the Nantucket Naval Air Station from an anti-submarine flight when the engine failed.  The pilot made an emergency wheels down landing on rough terrain near the field which caused the plane to flip over onto its back, pinning the pilot inside.  He was rescued without further incident.  No injuries were reported. 

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-69.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report, dated April 6, 1944, #44-12983.  

Atlantic Ocean – October 4, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – October 4, 1944

     On October 4, 1944, two navy “torpedo” planes out of Quonset Point, Rhode Island, crashed in mid-air over the water  reportedly “…a short distance from Nantucket, Island.”  Two officers and four enlisted men were “missing”. 

     The Newport Mercury (Newport, R. I.), identified the men as:

     Ensign Arthur D. Fulton, Jr., 22.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/109798149/arthur-davis-fulton 

    Ensign Bailey Badgley, of San Marino, California. 

    ARM3/c Charles E. Ford, 17, of Island Park, Michigan.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/658943/charles-e-ford

    AOM3/c Charles M. Lovell of Chicago. 

   ARM3/c Thomas S. Daly, of Philadelphia. 

     On October 9, 1944, the Detroit Evening Times reported that none of the bodies had been recovered. 

     It’s possible the aircraft were TBM Avengers which carried a crew of three. 

     Sources:

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Six Navy Flyers Presumably Lost”, October 5, 1944, page 13. 

     Detroit Evening Times, “Detroiter Air Victim”, October 9, 1944, pg. C-3.   (This article stated five fliers had been lost.)

     Newport Mercury, (Newport, R. I.), “Lost Fliers Identified”, October 13, 1944, page 3. 

Atlantic Ocean – June 9, 1943

Atlantic Ocean – June 9, 1943

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 9, 1943, navy Lieutenant Thomas F. Durkin, Jr., took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 8918), for a routine training flight.   While flying about 2 miles off the coast of Block Island his plane crashed into the sea.  The cause was unknown. 

     Lt. Durkin was assigned to VF-16.

     To see photographs and an obituary for Lt. Durkin, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/232870413/thomas-francis-durkin

     Sources:

     The Waterbury Democrat, (Ct.), “Thomas F. Durkin Plane Crash Victim”, June 11, 1943, pg. 8. 

      www.findagrave.com

 

Atlantic Ocean – April 25, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – April 25, 1945

 

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

     On the night of April 25, 1945, a navy TBM-3E Avenger, (Bu. No. 68997), with three men aboard, was taking part in a night gunnery strafing exercise six miles south of Nantucket Island when it failed to come out of a dive and crashed in the water.  All aboard perished. 

     Pilot: Ensign Roy Bacon, Jr. – Missing.

     ARM3/c Forest Edward Schultz, 18.  He enlisted on his 17th birthday, January 13, 1944.  He’s buried in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Cemetery, in Kittery, Maine.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/71686404/forest-edward-schultz

     ARM3/c Eugene A. Sands, 19, of Illinois – Missing

     The men were assigned to Night Torpedo Squadron 52, VT(n)-52, at Martha’s Vineyard Auxiliary Naval Air Station. 

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated April 25, 1945

     The Waterbury Democrat, (Ct.), “Torpedo Bomber Mishap Kills 3”, April 25, 1945, pg. 1

 

 

 

Atlantic Ocean – April 18, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – April 18, 1944

 

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

     On April 18, 1944, a flight of navy TBM-1C Avengers were taking part in a gunnery training flight a few miles south of Nantucket Island when two of the aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision and went down in the water. 

     The aircraft contained the following crews:

     Bu. No. 45729

     Pilot: Ensign Laurence D. Egan – rescued.

     AMM3/c D. M. Sawyer – rescued. 

     ARM3/c Earlie L. Story, 20, of Groveland, Florida.  Died when the plane sank.  Missing. 

     Bu. No. 25617

     Pilot: Ensign Claude J. DuVall, Jr., 20, of St. Louis Missouri.  Died when the plane sank. Missing.

     ARM3c Edward J. Rennert, 20, of Astoria, N. Y..  He parachuted safely, but drowned before rescued.  Body recovered.  

     The aircraft and crews were assigned to VT-301. 

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated April 18, 1944.  

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Nantucket Crash Claims Three Lives”, April 21, 1944, page 16.

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. 

     Sources:

     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.

East Hartford, CT. – August 17, 1942

East Hartford, Connecticut – August 17, 1942   

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On August 17, 1942, 2nd Lt. Harry Franklin Sheraw, (21), was at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, scheduled to take a routine training flight in a P-40E fighter plane, (Ser. No. 41-36521).  Just after take off, at an altitude of 200 feet, the engine failed, an the plane crashed and burned.    

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/168579830/harry-franklin-sheraw

     Source:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Bedford, MA. – July 23, 1942

Bedford, Massachusetts, – July 23, 1942

 

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On July 23, 1942, a flight of P-40 aircraft were returning to Bedford Field after a formation training flight.  One of those aircraft, (Ser. No. 41036509), piloted by 2nd Lt. Clyde W. Kaffenberger, crashed into a wooded hillside while making his landing approach.  Kaffenberger did not survive. 

     Source:

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

Ledyard, CT. – May 4, 1943

Ledyard, Connecticut – May 4, 1943

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 4, 1943, a flight of three P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft took off from Trumbull Field in Groton, Connecticut, for a routine training flight.  As the aircraft were flying in formation they went into a turn.  During the turn, one P-47, (Ser. No. 41-6154), piloted by 2nd Lt. Charles H. Brown, suddenly fell out of formation and was seen to dive into the ground.  The plane crashed and exploded off Old Indian Town Road in the town of Ledyard killing Lt. Brown.  Investigators concluded that the propeller was not operating when the plane impacted the ground, suggesting the aircraft had suffered a complete engine failure.    

      Source:

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

 

Warwick, R. I. – September 15, 1942

Warwick, Rhode Island – September 15, 1942

 

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On September 15, 1942, a flight of three P-40 aircraft were cleared for take off at the Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, R. I. for a training flight.  The second plane to take off, (Ser. No. 41-13861), was piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Donald W. Hoefler, age 20.  When he had reached an altitude of about 500 feet he radioed the tower that he would be making an emergency landing and as he turned to do so his plane crashed and exploded south of the airport.  

     Lieutenant Hoefler is buried in White Chapel Memorial Park,, in Amherst, New York.  To see a photo of Lt. Howfler, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/97621040/donald-w-hoefler

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Candia, N. H. – May 13, 1943

Candia, New Hampshire – May 13, 1943

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 13, 1943, three P-47 aircraft took off from Grenier Airfield in Manchester, New Hampshire, for an authorized aerobatic training flight.  While over the nearby town of Candia, the three aircraft were seen going through aerial maneuvers, when one plane, (Ser. No. 42-8194), piloted by 2nd Lt. Charles R. Ralph, suddenly went into a spin from which it did not recover.  When the plane crashed and exploded the pilot was killed.  The cause of the accident was undetermined.  

     Source:

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

Westerly, R. I. – April 14, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – April 14, 1943

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 14, 1943, 2nd Lt. Robert W. Coleman took off from Trumbull Field in Groton, Connecticut, for a gunnery training flight.  Shortly after take off his aircraft, a P-47B  Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 41-5998), developed engine trouble as it was passing over the town of Westerly.  He was forced to make an emergency landing in an open field strewn with boulders.  When the aircraft struck the boulders it erupted in flames.  Lt. Coleman did not survive. 

     Source:

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

Windsor Locks, CT. – May 13, 1943

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – May 13, 1943

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 13, 1943, three P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft took off from  Bradley Field in Windsor Locks for a high altitude formation training flight. While at 27,000 feet, one of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8255), piloted by Flight Officer Claude Gregory Baker, (23), began a split-s maneuver from which he was unable to recover due to a failure in the tail section of the aircraft.  His plane went out of control and crashed and burned near the airfield.     

     Flight Officer Baker was assigned to the 361st Fighter Squadron.  He enlisted in July of 1941, and had received his pilots wings on April 26th.  He’s buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. 

     Sources:

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

     Imperial Valley Press, (Calif.), “Death Of Fighter Pilot Investigated”, May 14, 1943  

     Long Beach Independent, (Calif.), Obituary for F/O Baker, May 18, 1943, page 5.

     www.findagrave.com

Holland, MA. – September 1, 1943

Holland, Massachusetts – September 1, 1943

 

P-47C Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On September 1, 1943, 2nd Lt. Charles J. Collins, (26), took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in a P-47C fighter plane, (Ser. No. 41-6147), for a high altitude gunnery practice flight.  When he failed to return to Westover Field he was declared missing, and an intensive search followed, which included  military aircraft and a Navy blimp from Lakehurst, New Jersey. 

     On September 4th it was reported that the wreckage of his plane had been found on the bank of the “Connecticut River”.  The same paper placed the crash site in Fiskdale, Massachusetts, which is actually a village in the western portion of Sturbridge, bordering Long Pond and East Brimfield Lake near the Holland/Brimfield town line.  Both lakes are fed by the Quinebaug River, which continues south from Brimfield to Holland.  Therefore, it is believed that the aircraft wreck was discovered along the banks of the Quinebaug, and not the Connecticut. 

     It was also reported that a “huge S.O.S.” had been found marked on a clay bank, presumably along the river.  This led investigators to believe that Lieutenant Collins had successfully bailed out of the plane, and may be lying injured in the dense woodlands.   Nearly 1,500 military, fire, police, and civilian personnel took part in searching the rural forested woodlands.   

     The body of Lieutenant Collins was found on September 8th, about two miles from his plane, in a wooded area of eastern Brimfield.  He’d suffered a severe injury to his right leg while bailing out and died from loss of blood. 

     There had been no witnesses to the crash, no radio distress message had been received, and due to the total destruction of the aircraft, investigators were unable to determine the cause for the accident.     

     Lieutenant Collins is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Baraboo, Wisconsin.  

     Sources:

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Search For Crash Pilot”, September 4, 1943.

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “Body Of Pilot Missing Since September 1 Found”, September 11, 1943, page B-6.

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

     www.findagrave.com

Belchertown, MA. – November 19, 1943

Belchertown, Massachusetts – November 19, 1943

 

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 19, 1943, a B-24J, (Ser. No. 42-7662), took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a high altitude bombing mission.  While at 22,000 feet the #2 engine began running erratically then quit.  The pilot turned the plane back towards Westover and began to descend.   At some point the other three engines began losing fuel pressure and the pilot ordered the crew to bail out.  Six of the ten crewmen bailed out, and all were injured in the process, but all landed safely.  The pilot, the navigator, the bombardier, and the tail gunner, remained with the aircraft and were still aboard when it crashed in a wooded area of Belchertown.  There was no fire, and investigators later determined that this was due to the fuel tanks running dry due to erroneous  readings of the fuel gauges. 

     The aircraft came down in a swampy area on the Loftus Farm. 

     The pilot, 2nd Lt. Arthur C. Davis, of Santa Monica, California, and the navigator, 2nd Lt. Howard R. Cunningham, of Lowell, Massachusetts, both perished as a result of injuries they received n the crash. 

     The bombardier, 2nd Lt. John C. Christiansen and the tail gunner, Sgt. Paul D. Martin, were seriously injured, but survived.       

     Sources:

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

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Bomber Crash Takes Lives Of Army Men”, November 20, 1943

     Pioneer Valley History Network – Disasters – “Airplane Crash In Belchertown”, by Cliff McCarthy.

Waterford, CT. – November 19, 1943

Waterford, CT. – November 19, 1943

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 19, 1943, a flight of twelve P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Trumbull Field in Groton, Connecticut, for a cross-country formation training flight.  A few minutes after take off, one aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8172), piloted by 2nd Lt. Willie S. Reed, Jr.,(25), began to have engine trouble.  Reed dropped out of formation to return to Groton, but then his engine caught fire and his plane began losing altitude.   Lt. Reed stayed with the plane, possibly to avoid a crash in a populated area.  His plane crashed and exploded in the town of Waterford.

     Lt. Reed was assigned to the 401st Fighter Squadron.  He’s buried in Utica Cemetery in Utica, Mississippi.  To see a photo of Lt. Reed, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44223290/willie-s-reed

     Sources:

     The Waterbury Democrat, “News Of Connecticut” – Waterbury – November 20, 1943, page 5. 

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

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

Burlington, VT. – November 26, 1943

Burlington, Vermont – November 26, 1943

 

U.S. Army A-29 Attack Bomber – U.S. Air Force Photo

     This accident involved a military airplane manned by a civilian crew.  The reason for a civilian crew is unclear. 

     On November 26, 1943, a twin-engine Lockheed RA-29 Army Air Force aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-23335), with three men aboard, took off from Boston for what was to be a test flight of the aircraft’s service ceiling.  The aircraft climbed to 24,000 feet and maintained that altitude until the pilot reported that the port engine had lost all power and requested an emergency landing at Burlington Airport in Burlington, Vermont.  The plane crashed and burned one mile from the runway at Burlington, and all aboard perished.    

     The crew were:

     Pilot: Harry Babcock Brown, (31).  He’s buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

     Co-pilot: Harry T. Nordbeck.  (Info unknown.)

    Engineer: James Vaught Dotson, (29).  He’s buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Tenn. 

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com     

Presque Isle, ME. – May 12, 1944

Presque Isle, Maine – May 12, 1944 

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

      On May 12, 1944, an AT-6C trainer aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-33064), with two men aboard took off from the Presque Isle Army Air Field for a local training flight.  For reasons never determined, the plane crashed at high speed six miles south of the airfield and both men, 1st Lt. Dennis S. Smyth, (24), and 1st Lt. Thomas R. Sheehy, (21), were killed. 

     It is unclear which man was flying the plane at the time of the accident.  

     To see a photo of 1st. Lt. Smyth click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/191969977/dennis-s-smyth 

     Click here to learn more information about Lt. Sheehy https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/130123343/thomas-russell-sheehy 

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Long Island Sound – April 17, 1944

Long Island Sound – April 17, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 17, 1944, a flight of four P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for a training flight.  While flying in formation over Long Island Sound, one of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-22359), piloted by 2nd Lt. Robert Godshalk, (28), developed engine trouble.  Lt. Godshalk was forced to make an emergency water landing about one mile off Sachem Head in Guilford, Connecticut.  He was seen to get out of the plane before it sank, but by the time a Coast Guard boat had reached the scene the pilot had disappeared.  It was reported that a strong current was running at the time.    

     Lt. Godshalk’s body was later recovered on May 30th.  

     Lt. Godshalk was from Ardmore, Penn.  He’s buried in Westminster Cemetery in Bals Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.     

     Sources:     

     Waterbury Democrat, “Connecticut News”, April 19, 1944

     The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Flyers Body Recovered”, June 2, 1944, page 4.  

     www.findagrave.com

Putnam, CT. – November 29, 1944

Putnam, Connecticut – November 29, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

      On the morning of November 29, 1944, a flight of four P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, for a training flight.  While flying in formation over northern Rhode Island and into eastern Connecticut the flight encountered some clouds at their altitude and briefly flew threw them.  When the flight emerged from the scud they discovered one aircraft was missing. 

     The missing P-47, (Ser. No. 42-8665), was piloted by 1st Lt. Robert W. Anderson, 27.   Lt. Anderson’s plane was seen by people on the ground to come diving out of the clouds before it crashed and exploded into a brook next to a house on School Street in Putnam. (Nobody in the house was injured.) 

     When military personnel arrived on scene and began recovery operations they discovered the pilot’s body missing.  A search was undertaken, and the pilot’s body was found in a wooded area on the Apley Farm in Putnam – his parachute unopened.  

     Lt. Anderson is buried in Irving Park Cemetery in Chicago.  

     Sources         

     U. S, Army Air Forces Accident Report #45-11-29-16.

     Providence Journal, “Army Digs In Vain To Find Pilot Who Dived Into Brook At Putnam”, November 30, 1944, pg. 1.   

     The Putnam Patriot, “Tri-State Search For Missing Army Pilot”, November 30, 1944, page 1.  

     www.findagrave.com

Ellington, CT. – April 30, 1945

Ellington, Connecticut – April 30, 1945

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 30, 1945, two P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for an instrument-navigation training flight.  One of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8197), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Edward Dean Hensley, (20-21).  Both aircraft climbed to 6,500 feet to get above the overcast and leveled off.  At one point the other pilot noticed that Lt. Hensley’s plane had disappeared.  Witnesses on the ground later told investigators that Lt. Hensley’s aircraft was falling sideways as it broke out of the clouds.  It then rolled onto its back and an unknown object was seen to fall away from the plane.  The plane crashed and exploded in the town of Ellington.

     Lt. Hensley is buried Mountain View Cemetery in Deming, New Mexico. 

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com  

 

Long Island Sound – April 18, 1945

Long Island Sound – April 18, 1945

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 18, 1945, Flight Officer Salvatore Spano, 21, took off from the Suffolk County Army Air Field on Long Island, New York, in a P-47D Thunderbolt fighter plane for a navigation training flight.   While off the coast of Connecticut, his airplane was observed to drop to a low level and then bounce off the surface of the water.  It then appeared that the aircraft recovered, but it then crashed into the water off the coast of Milford, Connecticut, and sank immediately.  When the aircraft was recovered the pilot was still inside.   

     Lt. Spano is buried in Mount Saint Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield, Connecticut.  

     Source:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Atlantic Ocean – March 10, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – March 10, 1945

 

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of March 10, 1945, a B-24J Liberator, (Ser. No. 42-50975), with twelve men aboard, took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a gunnery training flight off Montauk Point, New York. The aircraft was last heard from at 8:30 A. M. when the crew radioed that they were over the target area.  At 1:oo P.M. a civilian boat happened upon floating aircraft wreckage about seven miles southwest of Montauk Point and notified the Coast Guard.  It was noted that the sea was smooth and calm, and that the horizon line was difficult to distinguish, which may have contributed to the accident. 

     The crew were identified as:

     Pilot: 2nd Lt. Howard Bruce Tolle, 24, of Hillsboro, Ohio.  

     Co-pilot: Flight Officer George Francis Ruf, Jr., age 21-22, of Louisville, Kentucky. 

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. David Henderson Richey, 20, of Detroit, Michigan.   To see a phot of Lt. Richey, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/143629665/david-henderson-richey

     Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Raymond G. Bushee. 20, of Chicago. 

     Gunner: Cpl. Russell L. White.  (No info.)

     Radio Operator: Cpl. Philip Ward Ayers, 19, of Sussex, New Jersey. 

     Radio Operator: Cpl Carl E. Carlson.  (No info.)

     Radio Operator: Cpl. William F. Budka, 18, of Jefferson, Maine.  To see a photo of Cpl. Budka, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120649754/william-f-budka

     Gunner: Cpl. John W. Shedlock, 20, of Cleveland, Ohio.   

     Engineer: Cpl. Charles Richard Clark, Jr., 19, of Gaston, Indiana. To see a photo of Cpl. Clark, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/104130570/charles-richard-clark  

     Engineer: Cpl. Donald J. Finger, 19, of St. Claire Shores, Michigan.

     Gunnery Instructor:  Tech. Sergeant Harold E. Falk, 30, of Pittsburgh, Penn. 

     Sources:

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “Three Killed, 9 Are Missing In New York Bomber Crash”, March 12, 1945, page A-6.

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

     www.findagrave.com 

Granby, MA. – December 20, 1944

Granby, Massachusetts – December 20, 1944 

 

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the evening of December 20, 1944, a B-24J Liberator, (Ser. No. 42-109868), with nine men aboard, took off from Mitchell Field,  on Long Island, New York, bound for Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a cross-country navigational flight.  As they were approaching Westover Field the aircraft encountered poor visibility conditions.  As the plane circled the field at 2,000 feet two of the four engines began to “run away”.  As the pilot tried to reduce the RPMs, cockpit instruments indicated a fire in one of the engines.  Then the remaining two engines began to lose power and the pilot ordered the crew to bail out, and five did so.  The pilot, co-pilot, navigator and a gunner remained with the aircraft.    

     The aircraft came down on a farm in Granby about two miles from Westover Field.  After skidding on snow, crashing through some trees, it went into a farmhouse, but none of the home’s occupants were injured.   The pilot, 2nd Lt. James E. Webster, 25,  and the co-pilot, Flight Officer George H. Slack, 20, received serious injuries, but the navigator and the gunner were killed.  Additionally,  one of the men who bailed out also perished.   

     The dead were identified as:

   

      Navigator: 2nd Lt. George E. Bennett, 19, of Brockport, New York.  He’s buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Brockport, New York. 

 

      Bombardier: 2nd. Lt. Julian Berger, 19, of Baltimore, Maryland.  He perished as a result of injuries received when he bailed out of the aircraft.  He’s buried in Oheb Shalom Cemetery in Baltimore. 

     Gunner: Cpl. Stanley Saffer, 19, of New York City. He’s buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Maspeth, New York.  To see a photo of him, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/123182763/stanley-saffer

     As to the other four members of the crew, all received injuries, two required hospitalization.  

     The rest of the crew were identified as: Cpl. Kenneth A. McPhail, Cpl. Robert H. Risdon, Pfc. Fred Lopez,  and Pfc Walter E. Oparowski

     Sources: 

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Two Army Fliers Killed In Crash”, December 21, 1944, page 2.

     The Brockport Republic & Brockport Democrat, Obituary for Lt. George E. Bennett, December 28, 1944, page 4. 

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

     www.findagrave.com

Bangor, ME. – September 17, 1944

Bangor, Maine – September 17, 1944

 

A-26 Invader – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of September 17, 1944, a flight of three Douglas A-26 aircraft took off from Down Air Field in Bangor for a ferry flight to the European Theatre of Operations.  Just after take off, one of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-39247), suffered engine trouble and crashed in a wooded area about 3.5 miles from the air field. 

     Killed in the crash were:

     Pilot: 1st Lt. Jack W. Williams

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. Albert L. Keener  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/77166738/albert-l-keener

      Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Windsor Locks, CT. – August 9, 1944

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – August 9, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of August 9, 1944, 2nd Lt. Francis R. Betz took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, in a P-47D fighter aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8262), for a routine training mission.  Upon his return to the airfield, his plane crashed and burned about one mile short of the runway.   

     Source:

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

Branford, CT. – July 4, 1944

Branford, Connecticut – July 4, 1944

 

P-47C Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 4, 1944, 2nd Lt. John B. Hass took off in a P-47C fighter aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-6556), from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for a lone navigational training flight.   about forty-five minutes later, while passing over the town of Bradford, his aircraft dove into the ground and exploded, killing him instantly.  It was raining at the time of the crash, but the cause was undetermined. 

     To see a photo and obituary, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/121649607/john-bernard-haas#

     Source:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Fort Mountain, ME. – June 20, 1944

Fort Mountain, Maine – June 20, 1944

    On June 20, 1944, a military C-54A, (Ser. No. 41-37277), with a civilian crew, took off from Newfoundland to transport one military passenger and a load of cargo to Washington, D. C.   At 4 A.M. on the morning of the 20th, while flying in thick low-lying clouds, the aircraft crashed into Fort Mountain, about 100 feet from the summit.  Fort Mountain is located in Baxter State Park about 30 miles northwest of the town of Millinocket. 

     When the crew failed to radio in at required checkpoint times, and failed to answer control tower transmissions from Presque Isle and Bangor airfields, it was declared missing.   

     A search was begun, and the aircraft wreckage was located from the air on June 23, but due to the extreme remoteness of the location, it took four more days before a ground crew could reach the site.  The search party was forced to hack its way through heavy brush and undergrowth covering the mountain.  Upon reaching the site they found wreckage strewn over a wide area, and no survivors.

     Those who perished were:       

     Pilot: Roger R. Inman

     Co-Pilot: Disbrow N. Gill, 32, of Florida.

     Navigator: David E. Reynolds

     Engineer: Nordi Byrd

     Radio Operator: Eugene B. Summers, (21-22) of Kansas. 

     Crewman: Samuel B. Berman

     Passenger: Sgt. Elbert R. Barnes, 23, of Escatawpa, Mississippi.  Sgt. Barnes was a radio mechanic in the Air Crops.  He was born and raised in Escatawpa, and graduated from Moss Point High School.  He attended Graceland College in Mona, Iowa, for two years, and belonged to the Latter Day Saints Church.  He’d been stationed in Newfoundland.  He was survived by his parents, four brothers, and four sisters.  His name is on a WWII honor plaque in the Moss Point High School, a gift of the class of 1944.   

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/46166703/elbert-roderick-barnes

     Sources:

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

     www.mewreckchasers.com

     www.findagrave.com

     The Chronicle-Star, (Pascagoula, MS.), “Elbert Barnes Of Escatawpa Killed In Plane Crash”, July 7, 1944, page 1.  

     Detroit Evening Times, “Plane Rescuers Scale Mountain”, July 27, 1944, page C-15

     Pascagoula Chronicle – Star And Moss Point Advertiser, “Former Students of Moss Point High School To Be Listed On Honor Plaque”, August 19, 1944, page 6. 

   

Long Island Sound – June 17, 1944

Long Island Sound – June 17, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 17, 1944, a flight of four P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, for a gunnery training flight over Long Island Sound off the shore of Madison, Connecticut.  One of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-22556), was being piloted by 2nd Lt. Everett C. Smith, (20), of North Carolina.  

     While over the target area, Lt. Smith made seven successful passes at the target(s).  While making his eighth pass he crashed into the water of Long Island Sound and was killed.   

     Lt. Smith is buried in Bethlehem United Methodist Church Cemetery in Advance, North Carolina. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/58597830/everett-clark-smith

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com  

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – May 22, 1944

Narragansett Bay – May 22, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

On the morning of May 22, 1944, six P-47 fighter aircraft took off from the Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, for a ground target, gunnery training flight in Connecticut.  Once in the air, the aircraft formed two formations, each with three aircraft. 

     The flight flew to the target range in Madison, Connecticut, where it encountered bad weather consisting of low clouds and fog.  The flight radioed for weather reports at alternate ranges before heading towards Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.  As the flight approached the area of the Quonset Point Naval Air Station it encountered a low lying cloud bank with a 700 foot ceiling.   One of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8201), piloted by Captain James H. Pound, Jr., of Benton Harbor, Michigan, flew into the cloudbank.  His airplane was observed to drop out of the clouds and level off before suddenly diving into Narragansett Bay about a mile from Quonset Point.   The cause of the crash was undetermined. 

      To see a photo of Lieutenant Pound click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/27590631/james-h-pound

     Sources:

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

     The Ypsilanti Daily Press, “Flyer Killed”, May 23, 1944, page 5.

     Detroit Evening Times, “Benton Harbor Flier Dies In Plane Crash”, May 23, 1944, page 2-C 

     www.findagrave.com. 

Atlantic Ocean – April 7, 1944

     Atlantic Ocean – April 7, 1944

 

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 7, 1944, two B-24 Liberator bombers took off from Westover Air Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, on what was to be a high altitude gunnery training flight off Montauk Point, Long Island, N. Y.  One of the B-24s was Ser. No. 42-7525, with eleven men aboard, piloted by 2nd Lt. Kenneth W. Wignes. 

     The bombers were attached to the 804th Bomber Squadron, 471st Bomb Group, stationed at Westover Field. 

    While over the target area, Lt. Wignes radioed the other B-24 that he was having engine problems and was returning to Westover.  When the aircraft didn’t arrive at Westover it was declared missing and presumed to have gone down in the ocean.  It was speculated that the aircraft had suffered an inflight fire or explosion. 

     The crew consisted of:

     Pilot: 2nd Lt. Kenneth E. Wignes, 23, of Iowa.   https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62764862/kenneth-eugene-wigness

     Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Gene W. Sloan, age 21-22, of Kansas.   https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/90692131/gene-w-sloan

     Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Fred G. Rhodes, 24, of Pennsylvania. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62765149/frederick-g-rhodes

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. Rufus R. Nelson, 26, of Iowa. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62765231/rufus-ronald-nelson 

     2nd Lt. Martin J. Kew, 22-23, of Indiana. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/195411201/martin-j-kew 

     Radio Operator: S/Sgt. Edward J. Clancy, of Wisconsin. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62765409/edward-j-clancy 

     Engineer: S/Sgt. Robert G. McLaughlin, 21, of Alabama.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/13414269/robert-g-mclaughlin

     Sgt. Chester Webb, age 22-23.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62765594/chester-webb 

     Gunner: Sgt. George W. Wilson, Sr., age 34.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36408207/george-w-wilson 

     Gunner: Sgt. Joseph L. Hartzell.

     Gunnery Instructor: S/Sgt. Joseph A. Jachim, age 24-45, from Chicago.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62765777/joseph-albert-jachim 

     Sources:

     Greenfield Recorder – Gazette, (Greenfield, Mass.), “Westover Bomber With Crew Of 11 Missing Off L. I.”, April 8, 1944, pg. 1.  

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

     www.findagrave.com

 

Presque Isle, ME. – March 11, 1944

Presque Isle, Maine – March 11, 1944

 

B-17G “Flying Fortress”
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 11, 1944, a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, (Ser. No. 42-97208), with ten crewmen aboard, was taxiing into position in preparation for takeoff when its brakes failed and it crashed into the number 3 hangar at Presque Isle Air Field.  The aircraft was bound for overseas duty at the time. 

      Co-pilot, 2nd Lt. Thomas Walker Gage, 24, of Stockport, Ohio, suffered fatal injuries in the accident.  He’s buried in Stockport Cemetery in Stockport, Ohio.  To see a photo of Lt. Gage click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9392261/thomas-walker-gage   

     The bombardier and navigator were seriously injured, while the rest of the crew received non-life threatening injuries.  

     Sources:

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “One Killed, 9 Injured As Bomber Hits Hangar”, March 13, 1944, page B-6     

     www.findagrave.com.

 

Long Island Sound – March 11, 1944

Long Island Sound – March 11, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 8:00 A.M. on the morning of March 11, 1944, a flight of two army P-47 fighter planes took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for what was to be an intercept training mission.  The two P-47s were it intercept a flight of  six B-24 bombers over New London, Connecticut, at nine o’clock.

     One of the P-47s, (Ser. No. 43-25406), was being piloted by Captain Thomas M. Boulware, (23-24), of South Carolina.     

      While in the area of New London, Captain Buolware’s aircraft engine suddenly began trailing smoke and flames.  He successfully bailed out of the aircraft, and he and the plane came down in Long Island Sound, but he perished before he could be rescued.  

     Captain Boulware is buried in Barnwell County Memorial Cemetery, in Barnwell, South Carolina.  To see a photo of Captain Boulware, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/107881672/thomas-mccullough-boulware

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

     The Wilmington Morning Star,(No. Carolina), “Killed In Action”, March 12, 1944, page 13 

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – February 23, 1944

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – February 23, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On February 23, 1944, a flight of four army P-47 fighter aircraft took off from Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, R. I., for an aerial gunnery flight.  One of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 43-25421), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Billy H. Stormont, of Eugene, Oregon.   

     Weather conditions had begun to deteriorate, and shortly after take off the flight was ordered back to Hillsgrove.  A low cloud system had moved in, with a 100 foot ceiling, extending up to 1,500 feet.  As the flight let down through the scud the planes became separated.   It was while letting down through the clouds that Lt. Stormont’s aircraft crashed in Narragansett Bay off Coddington Point in Middletown.     

     Lt. Stormont was assigned to the 442nd Fighter Squadron. 

     To see a photo of Lt. Stormont click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/225177451/billy-h-stormont 

     Sources:

     Roseburg News Review, (Ore.), “Army Plane Piloted By Eugenean Is Missing”, February 25, 1944, page 1. 

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

     www.findagrave.com.  

Wellfleet, MA. – July 18, 1943

Wellfleet, Massachusetts – July 18, 1943 

 

A U.S. Army RB-34
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 18, 1943, a twin-engine RB-34 “Target Tug”, (Ser. No. 41-38052), with four men aboard took off from Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, to participate in a tracking exercise with the anti-aircraft batteries at Camp Edwards.  The crew was part of the 1st Tow Target Squadron stationed at Otis. 

     At some point bad weather moved in and the crew found themselves surrounded by thick low-lying clouds, beginning at 1,500 feet and extending up to 10,000 feet.   The plane circled, with the pilot flying on instruments, trying to make radio contact with Otis, but the radio wasn’t working.  When the aircraft finally broke through the clouds it was very low on fuel, so the pilot decided to ditch in shallow water near the shore, and advised the crew to bail out, which they did.  One crewman landed in a tree, the other two came down in the water and were rescued by a Coast Guard boat. 

     Meanwhile, the pilot successfully let the plane down in Wellfleet Harbor, but was unable to extricate himself before it sank. 

     The pilot was identified as Flight Officer Clyde Rogers, (24), of Cleveland, Georgia. 

     Sources:

     The Falmouth Enterprise , “Camp Edwards” (News), July 23, 1943.   

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

Castle Hill, ME. – July 2, 1943

Castle Hill, Maine – July 2, 1943

 

B-26G Bomber
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 2, 1943, a B-26C twin-engine bomber aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-35181), with five men aboard, took off from Presque Isle Field bound for overseas duty.  Three miles from the airfield the starboard engine developed a problem and the pilot was forced to shut it down.  With only one engine, the pilot was unable to sufficiently  climb to maintain a safe altitude as the aircraft passed over increasingly rising terrain.  About six miles later the aircraft crashed into a wooded area and exploded killing three crewmen and seriously injuring two others. 

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Walter M. Cothran.  

     (Co-Pilot) 1st Lt. Walter H. Peoples, of Wilmington, Delaware. 

     (Flight Engineer) Corporal Albert L. Williams of New Mexico.  

     Sources:

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

     The Imperial Valley Press, (Calif.) “Three Army Fliers Killed In Wreck”, July 4, 1943, page 3. 

 

Westover Field, MA. – June 20, 1943

Westover Field, MA. – June 20, 1943

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 20, 1943, a flight of P-47 aircraft were returning to Westover Filed from a training flight.  One plane, (Ser. No. 42-22358), piloted by 2nd Lt. Richard M Burdick, (19), made a normal landing and coasted to a normal taxi speed.  A second P-47, (Ser. No. 41-5953), piloted by another second lieutenant, came in “hot” and bounced along the runway before crashing into Lieutenant Burdick’s aircraft.  Both pilots received serious injuries, and Lieutenant Burdick passed away the following day.    

     Both pilots were assigned to the 321st Fighter Squadron. 

     Lieutenant Burdick is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Boardman Township, Ohio. 

     Source:

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

     www.findagrave.com 

Warwick, R. I. – May 29, 1943

Warwick, Rhode Island – May 29, 1943

 

P-47C Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 29, 1943, 2nd Lt. Millard F. Parsley, Jr., (29), was returning from a training flight to Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick when his aircraft developed engine trouble and he requested an emergency landing clearance.  As he was making his approach his aircraft crashed and burned near the airport. 

     The aircraft Lt. Parsley had been flying was a P-47C, (Ser. No. 41-6552),  He was assigned to the 310th Fighter Squadron, 58th Fighter Group.  He’s buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Erwin, Tenn.

     To see a photo of Lt. Parsley, click here: https://etvma.org/veterans/millard-f-parsley-jr-11001/

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

     etvma.org

Topsfield, MA. – May 14, 1943

Topsfield, Massachusetts – May 14, 1943

 

P-47C Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 14, 1943, a flight of five U. S. Army P-47 aircraft took off from Bedford Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, for a formation training flight.  While in formation at 6,500 feet over the Topsfield area, one aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-6643) piloted by 2nd Lt. Ernest W. Hagar, (20), began trailing white smoke.  As Lt. Hagar left the formation to attempt an emergency landing his engine lost all power, forcing him to bail out.  Once he left the aircraft his parachute didn’t fully deploy and he perished.  The aircraft crashed on the Steward Estate, on Perkins Row, in Topsfield.   

     Lt. Hagar was assigned to the 370th Fighter Squadron at Bedford.  He’s buried in Sweetwater Cemetery in Sweetwater, Texas.  To see a photo of him click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15515087/ernest-wayne-hagar   

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com  

Long Island Sound – May 18, 1943

Long Island Sound – May 18, 1943     

 

P-47C Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of May 18, 1943, two U. S. Army P-47 aircraft took off from Trumbull Field in Groton, Connecticut, for a training mission over Long Island Sound.  One aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-6561), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Edward E. Woolery, and the other, (Ser. No. 42-6636), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Alexander S. Koczak.  

     While engaged in a simulated “dog fight” over the water the aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision with one plane shearing the tail off the other.  Both aircraft crashed into the Sound, one hitting the water about 2,000 yards west of Great Gull Island, and the other about 1,000 yards northeast of the island.    

     2nd Lt. Woolery attempted to bail out of his plane but his parachute didn’t open and he was killed.  Lt. Koczak was rescued from the water off the east end of Great Gull Island.    

     Both men were assigned to the 360th Fighter Squadron. 

     Source:

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

North Stonington, CT. – May 13, 1943

North Stonington, Connecticut – May 13, 1943

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 13, 1943, a flight of five P-47 “Thunderbolt” aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, bound for Trumbull Field in Groton, Connecticut.  The flight leader was 2nd Lt. Harry J. McElroy, Jr., (21), piloting a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-8241).  While at an altitude of 31,000 feet Lt. McElroy’s aircraft was seen to go into a dive and the formation followed.  When it became apparent that something was wrong, the other aircraft began pulling out of the dive.  Lt. McElroy’s aircraft continued in its dive and crashed and exploded in North Stonington. 

     Lt. McElroy enlisted on January 26, 1942.  He was assigned to the 360th Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group, at that time stationed at Trumbull Field.  He’s Buried in Union Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/18819668/harry-mcelroy      

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

New Bedford, MA. – April 4, 1943

New Bedford, Massachusetts – April 4, 1943

 

P-47C Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 4, 1943, 2nd Lieutenant Fred V. Bright, Jr. took off from Hillsgrove Army Airfield in Warwick, Rhode Island, for a routine training flight in a P-47C Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 41-6562).   While over New Bedford, Massachusetts, Lt. Bright radioed the control tower at Hillsgrove that he was having problems with the aircraft and would be making an emergency landing at the New Bedford Airport which he happened to be passing over at the time.  As he was making his final approach his plane was seen to crash and burn about 100 yards from the end of the runway.   

     Lt. Bright was survived by his wife living in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  

     Sources:

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

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Pilot Identified”, April 5, 1943

Fishers Island Sound – March 5, 1943

Fishers Island Sound – March 5, 1943

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 5, 1943, 2nd Lt. Carl P. Bock, (22), was killed when the P47B Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 41-5975), he was piloting crashed in Fishers Island Sound.  He was returning to Trumbull Field in Groton after taking part in a gunnery practice exercise when the aircraft developed engine trouble.  When the plane hit the water he was knocked unconscious and drowned.   

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Boston Harbor, MA. – March 1, 1943

Boston Harbor – March 1, 1943

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of March 1, 1943, a flight of two P-47 Thunderbolts took off from Bedford Field for a simulated combat training flight.  One of those P-47s, (Ser. No. 41-6646), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Stanley Jankowski.  

     The aircraft made their way over the Boston area and engaged in aerial maneuvers.  While doing so, another P-47 entered the area and took part in the exercise.  Then a flight of four other P-47s arrived.  During the exercise, Lieutenant Jankowski’s aircraft was seen to go into a steep dive and plunge into Boston Harbor.  It was speculated that he may have blacked out. 

     Source:

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

Stafford Springs, CT. – August 7, 1942

Stafford Springs, Connecticut, –  August 7, 1942

     On August 7, 1942, a BT-14 trainer aircraft, (Ser. No. 40-1209), took off from Bradley Army Air Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, for a routine flight.  The aircraft crashed in Stafford Springs, and the two pilots aboard were injured.  The reason for the crash wasn’t stated in the press, and it’s unclear which pilot was flying the plane at the time.  The injured pilots were identified as 1st Lt. Barney E. Turner, of Miami, Florida, and 2nd Lt. Bart L. Judge, Jr., of Milford Pike, Pennsylvania. 

     2nd Lt. Judge later perished in another plane crash on December 22, 1942.  For more information, click here: Camp Edwards – December 22, 1942

       Source:

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Pilots Injured”, August 8, 1942.      

Canton, MA. – October 13, 1942

Canton, Massachusetts – October 13, 1942

 

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On October 13, 1942, Staff Sergeant Watkins Mayo, (19), of Tulia, Texas, was piloting a Curtis P-40F, (Ser. No. 41-14099), over the area of Canton, Massachusetts, on an authorized aerobatic training flight.  He was observed making loops and rolls over the (now defunct) Boston Municipal Airport in Canton.  The airport was located on the northeast side of Neponset Street, just southeast of the Neponset River.  It was while he was practicing aerobatics that his plane crashed and burned in a wooded area near the airport.   

     S/Sgt. Mayo was assigned to the 317th Fighter Squadron.

     S/Sgt. Mayo is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Tulia, Texas.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/235598250/watkins-mayo

     Sources:

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Cause Of Crash”, October 14, 1942, page 2. 

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

     www.findagrave.com

New Cannan, CT. – October 12, 1942

New Cannan, Connecticut – October 12, 1942

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On October 12, 1942, four U. S. Army P-47 Thunderbolt fighter planes were engaged in a simulated dogfight over New Cannan.  One of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-5991), was piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Richard M. Craghill, (23), of Corcoran, California.  While taking part in the aerial maneuvers, Craghill’s aircraft went into a spin and crashed into the front of a large private home on Valley Road. 

     Ruth Weeks, the owner of the home, was standing on the front lawn talking with two plumbers as the plane was coming down.  She and one of the men ran to the side of the house while the other man threw himself flat on the ground.  The plane crashed and exploded killing Lt. Craghill and setting the house ablaze.  Although the house was destroyed by the fire, all occupants inside at the time of the accident escaped without injury. 

     To see a photo and obituary of Lt. Craghill, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/70994379/richard-marvin-craghill     

     Sources:

     The Waterbury Democrat, “New Cannan Had Plane Tragedy”, October 12, 1942, page 1. 

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

     www.findagrave.com

East Hartford, CT. – September 22, 1942

East Hartford, Connecticut – September 22, 1942

 

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On September 22, 1942, Staff Sergeant Raymond R. Kroskiewicz took off from Rentschler Field in East Hartford, for a training flight. He was piloting a Curtiss P-40F fighter plane, (Ser. No. 41-14178).    Shortly after 3 P.M. he returned to the field, and as he was attempting to land his aircraft crashed and burned. 

     S/Sgt. Kroskiewicz was from Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. 

https://www.fold3.com/memorial/83720094/raymond-r-kroskiewicz

https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=421093

     Sources:

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

     www.fold3.com

     www.honorstates.org

Peru, MA. – August 15, 1942

Peru, Massachusetts – August 15, 1942 

     On August 15, 1942, a flight of eleven Army transport planes took off from Pope Field, North Carolina, bound for Hyannis, Massachusetts.  The aircraft were transporting paratroopers assigned to the 502nd Parachute Battalion. 

     The planes made a scheduled refueling stop at Mitchell Field on Long Island, N. Y.  By this time weather conditions had significantly deteriorated at both Long Island and Hyannis, so the flight was diverted to Hillsgrove Airfield in Warwick, Rhode Island.  However, once airborne again the formation found itself in thick clouds and the planes became separated as they lost visual contact with each other and the ground.  It was now nighttime, and the pilots were forced to fly on instruments.  

     At about 9:30 P.M. one of the aircraft, a C-53 troop transport, (Ser. No. 42-6463), with nineteen men aboard, crashed into the side of Garnet Peak in the town of Peru, Massachusetts.  All but three men perished. 

     The only man aboard who was not injured in the crash was Sergeant Robert Lee, who managed to extricate four men from the flaming wreckage, all while suffering severe burns to himself in the process.  Two of those rescued by Sgt. Lee perished, but two others survived, thanks to his bravery.  The men besides Sgt. Lee who survived were Private James Fern, and Private Alonzo L. Pearson. 

     Those who perished in the crash were identified as:

     Pilot:  2nd Lt. Joseph J. Fields, of Atlanta, Georgia.

     Co-Pilot: Staff Sergeant Charles M. Scott, of York, Pennsylvania.

     Engineer: Staff Sergeant Robert W. Lamon, (23), of Shawnee, Oklahoma. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/92476969/robert-wesley-lamon

      Pfc. Hyman B. Flinkman of Baltimore, Maryland.

      S/Sgt. Samuel B. Hathorn, of Princess, Mississippi. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/40605321/sam-benton-hathorn

     Sgt. John H. Kelly, of Titus, Alabama. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/30123329/john-harmon-kelley

     Cpl. Frank A. Lastosky, of Sykesville, Pennsylvania. 

     T-5 Joseph C. Neurohr, of Brooklyn, New York. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/157864980/joseph-c-neurohr

     Pvt. Jack E. Palmer, of Antigo, Wisconsin. 

     1st Lt. Gardner V. E. Plain, of Ransomville, New York. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/184895640/gardner-van_etten-plain

     Pfc. Stanley E. Racine, of Pensacola, Florida. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/108383586/stanley-edward-racine

     Pfc. Norman Sands, of Chicago. 

     Pvt. Steven E. Schollin, of Oak Haven, Illinois

     Pvt. James F. Thompson, of Los Angeles.

     Cpl. Austin E. Weeces, of Craig, Nebraska. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/16371027/austin-e-weeces  

     Pfc. James D. Westbrooks, of Andrson, South Carolina. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/89746541/james-d-westbrooks

     Today there is a monument honoring these men on Garnet Peak in Peru.  https://www.townofperuma.com/about-us/slideshows/garnett-mountain-peak

     Sources:

     PDF Document “Garnet Peak Plane Crash”, by Joe Stergis, 2008

     The Berkshire Eagle, “Peru Residents Remember Paratroopers Lost In 1942 Plane Crash On Garnet Peak” by Patricia LeBoeuf, 2007. 

     New England Public Media, “Peru, Mass., To Mark 75th Anniversary Of Military Plane Crash”, by Adam Frenier, August 14, 2017.

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

     www.findagrave.com 

North Reading, MA. – July 18, 1942

North Reading, Massachusetts – July 18, 1942

 

B-17G “Flying Fortress”
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 18, 1942, a B-17B “Flying Fortress”, (Ser. No. 39-8), left its base in Grander, Newfoundland, bound for Middletown, Pennsylvania, to have some equipment updated.  While passing over Massachusetts the aircraft encountered thick clouds and ground fog.  It was speculated that the while the pilot was letting down through the scud the aircraft developed “wing flutter” which caused one of the wings to break away.  The plane went down in a wooded area of North Reading and all aboard perished.       

     The crewmembers were identified as follows:

     Pilot: 1st Lt. Marion R. Klice

     Co-Pilot: 1st Lt. Donald H. Johnson

     Bombardier: 1st Lt. James N. Phillips, Jr., (24), buried in Jasper Cemetery, Jasper, Arkansas.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/33052049/james-phillips 

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. Orville Drue Andrews, (22), buried in Pineview Cemetery, Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/143781613/orville-drue-andrews

     Master Sergeant Archie R. Jester, Jr. (32), buried in Salem Cemetery, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28156667/archie-raymond-jester

     Engineer: Staff Sergeant William E. Perkins, (21), buried in Evergreen Memorial Park, Portsmouth, Virginia. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/37691634/william-e-perkins

     Radio Operator: Corporal Stephen Bilocur, (20), buried in St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/173569551/stephen-bilocur 

     Staff Sergeant Robert J. Aulsbury, (23 or 24), buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Jennings, Missouri. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/202569263/robert-j-aulsbury

     PFC. Sidnney Samuel Koltun (24), buried in Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis Missouri.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/41980784/sidney-samuel-koltun  

     Corporal Charles H. Torrance

     There is a memorial to these men on the town green in North Reading. 

     Sources:

     North Reading Transcript, “Veterans Day Ceremony To Memorialize 1942 B-17 Bomber Crash”, November 2, 1995, page 13. 

     North Reading Times, “May Their Noble Deeds Live Forever”, November 16, 1995, page 1

     North Reading Transcript, “B-17 Bomber Crash Was 59 Years Ago This Week”, July 12, 2001, page 14.     

     North Reading Transcript, B-17 Bomber Crash In Town Happened 65 Years Ago Next Week”, July 12, 2007, page 6. 

    North Reading Historical Commission Blogspot.  

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

Windsor Locks, CT. – July 16, 1942

Windsor Locks, CT. – July 16, 1942

Bradley Airfield   

P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

     On the morning of July 16, 1943, two P-38 Lightning fighter planes were taking off for a training flight at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks.  One of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-12588), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Albert R. Dawson, and his aircraft was positioned to the right and just behind  the flight leader’s P-38.  As the two planes sped down the runway, a fuel truck with two privates aboard drove onto the runway from a right side taxiway without authorization from the tower.   The passenger private saw what was happening and warned the driver to turn off.  As the fuel truck driver tried to turn away the other private jumped clear.  A moment later Dawson’s P-38 hit the fuel truck causing and a massive explosion followed.  The force of the impact due to the speed of the aircraft pushed the entangled wreckage for 200 feet. 

      The fuel truck driver was killed in the crash.  The private who jumped suffered minor injuries. Lt. Dawson died of his injuries on July 17, 1942.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/155419101/albert-r-dawson       

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Bridgeport, CT. – July 13, 1942

Bridgeport, Connecticut – July 13, 1942

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 13, 1942, 2nd Lt. Burdette L. Wertman, (22), of David City, Nebraska, left Bradley Airfield in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, on a routine flight for the Bridgeport Municipal Airport.  He was piloting a P-47B Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 5919).  As he was making his final approach to the runway the right wing was observed to drop, and as it did so the aircraft fell onto the runway with the right wing striking first.  The aircraft then cartwheeled, tumbled, and skidded for several hundred yards before coming to rest.  Lieutenant Wertman did not survive.       

     Lt. Wertman was assigned to the 88th Fighter Squadron.  He received his pilot’s wings at Ellington Field, Texas in December of 1941.  

     To see a photo and detailed obituary of Lt. Wertman click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/113799435/burdette-lawrence-wertman

   Lt. Wertman had survived a previous aviation accident of January 18, 1942, while landing at Bridgeport.  To learn more, click here: Bridgeport, Ct. – January 18, 1942 

      Sources:

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

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Bradley Field Lt. Killed”, July 14, 1942, Page 8.  

     www.findagrave.com

Groton, CT. – May 1, 1942

Groton, Connecticut – May 1, 1942

 

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On May 1, 1942, 2nd Lt. Kenneth R. MacQuarrie, (25), was piloting a P-40E , (Ser. No. 40-497), over Groton.  He and two other P-40s had recently taken off from Trumbull Field in Groton to engage in a mock aerial combat fight over the area.  While participating in this exercise, Lieutenant MacQuarrie’s aircraft crashed and exploded in a wooded area about two miles north of the airfield.  There had been no collision between his aircraft and the other two.     

     To see a photo of Lt. MacQuarrie, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/2741812/kenneth-r-macquarrie

     Sources:

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

     www.findagrave.com

Buxton, ME. – October 4, 1943

Buxton, Maine – October 4, 1943

     On October 4, 1943, a British aircraft on a training flight from the Brunswick Naval Air Station was passing over the town of Buxton, Maine, when the pilot was forced to bail out.  The pilot landed safely, and the plane went down in a field in the western portion of town in an area known as Bar Hills.  No further info at this time.  

     Source:

     The Lewiston Evening Journal, “British Pilot Bails Out As His Plane Crashes At West Buxton”, October 5, 1943.

Pownal, ME. – October 3, 1943

Pownal, Maine – October 3, 1943 

     On the morning of October 3, 1943, two British Corsairs, (JT-190 & JT-198), belonging to the 1837 Squadron, took off from the Brunswick Naval Air Station for a tactical training flight.  While over the town of Pownal they collided in mid-air.  One pilot was killed instantly, the other managed to bail out, but later died of his injuries.  Both aircraft came down within one hundred feet of each other in a swamp near the Pownal State School.  The debris field was spread over a large area.    

     The pilots were identified as Lieutenant David J. F. Watson, (24), and Lieutenant Commander Alfred J. Sewell, (30).  Both are buried in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Cemetery in Kittery, Maine. 

     To see photos of their graves click below. 

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/71686589/alfred-jack-sewell

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/71691019/david-james_felshaw-watson

     Sources:

     The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two British Pilots Killed As Planes Collide In Mid Air”, October 4, 1943

    The Waterbury Democrat, “British Flyers Killed in N. E. ” October 4, 1943

     Aviation Archeology In Mane website http://mewreckchasers.com/

Charlestown, R. I. – November 15, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – November 15, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On November 15, 1944, an F6F Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70956), was coming in to land at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field on Runway 12 when it struck some trees, then continued on through electric powerlines and a stone wall before coming to rest on Route 1 which during WWII ran past the airfield.   The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The aircraft was beyond repair. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated November 15, 1944 

Westerly, R. I. – November 13, 1944

Westerly, Rhode Island – November 13, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On November 13, 1944, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70977), crashed into some trees at the end of the runway of the Westerly Airport as it was making a landing approach.  The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the aircraft was a total loss. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated November 13, 1944.    

Groton, CT. – October 11, 1944

Groton, Connecticut – October 11, 1944 

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 11, 1944, a pilot flying an F6F-4 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 71347), was making touch-and-go practice landings on Runway 33 at the Groton Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  After making five successful landings, the pilot forgot to lower the landing gear for the sixth, and made a wheels up landing causing considerable damage to the aircraft.  The pilot was not injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated October 11, 1944

Charlestown, R. I. – October 12, 1944

Charlestown, R. I. – October 12, 1944 

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

      On October 12, 1944, an F6F-3N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42794), crash landed while making its approach to the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  The aircraft was damaged but the pilot was not injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated October 12, 1944.       

Charlestown, R. I. – October 11, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 11, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 11, 1944, an F6F-3N, (Bu. No. 42370), nosed over while landing at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field causing damage to the front of the aircraft.  The pilot was not injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated October 11, 1944

Charlestown, R. I. – October 9, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 9, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 9, 1944, an F6F-3n Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42510), was seriously damaged during a crash landing.  The pilot was not injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Crash Report, dated October 9, 1944.  

Charlestown, R. I. – October 8, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 8, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

      On October 8, 1944, an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 40766), was landing at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station and blew a tire shortly after touchdown which caused damage to the aircraft as it went off the runway and skidded to a stop.  The pilot was not injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated October 8, 1944

Charlestown, R. I. – September 19, 1944

Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field – September, 19, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On September 19, 1944, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41151), was taking off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field when the engine failed as it became airborne.  The plane crashed in a field off the end of the runway.  The fuselage and wings were buckled, but the pilot wasn’t hurt. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report, dated September 19, 1944    

Cape Cod Bay – September 11, 1944

Cape Cod Bay – September, 11, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On September 11, 1944, Ensign Henry Karl Klein was piloting a F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41497), over Cape Cod Bay while participating in a dive bombing training exercise.  He was seen to begin his dive run from 7,000 feet.  His section leader would later report that he saw pieces of Klein’s aircraft break away during the dive.  A fisherman who’d been watching the exercise from a distance later told investigators that he saw a wing break off the aircraft just before it hit the water.  Ensign Klein’s aircraft plunged into the water and he did not survive. 

     The cause of the accident was determined to be structural failure of the aircraft for reasons unknown.   

     Ensign Klein had been assigned to VF-48.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report, dated September 11, 1944    

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 6, 1944

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – September 6, 1944 

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On September 6, 1944, the pilot of an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70927), inadvertently made a wheels up landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The aircraft skidded to a stop and required a major overhaul.  The pilot was not injured.

     This aircraft was later involved in a fatal crash in Wilmington, Massachusetts, on May 23, 1946.  To learn more, click here.  Wilmington, Mass. May 23, 1946 

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident Report, dated September 6, 1944

Augusta, ME. – July 25, 1942

     Augusta, Maine – July 25, 1942

 

P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

     On July 25, 1942, a U. S. Army P-38 fighter, (Ser. No. 41-7647), was making a landing approach to the Augusta State Airport when the pilot overshot the runway and crash landed in a sand pit beyond and the plane caught fire.  The aircraft was loaded with gasoline and ammunition and the pilot was trapped inside.  Ignoring any danger to themselves, eight enlisted men of the Military Police from Camp Keyes ran to the plane and managed to rescue the pilot.  These men were later identified and received medals for their heroism.    

     The rescuers were identified as follows:

     Private George W. O’Connell of New York City.

     Sergeant Joseph E. Cote of Cranston, R. I. 

     Private Edward A. Singer of Boston, Mass. 

     Sergeant Charles J. Hoffman of Bridgeport, Conn.

     Sergeant Alfred H. Paddison of Worcester, Mass.

     Corporal Alfred H. Squires of Westfield, Mas.

     Sergeant Francis J. Curran of Jamaica Plain, Mass. 

     Private Joseph De Napoli of West Hartford, Conn. 

     Sergeants Hoffman and Paddison were severely burned during the rescue. 

     Source:

     The Waterbury Evening Democrat, “Military Police Will Be Honored” September 17, 1942

 

Trumbull, CT. – January 23, 1944

Trumbull, Connecticut – January 23, 1944

 

AT-11, U.S. Air Force Photo

    On January 23, 1944, a U. S Army AT-11, Ser. No. 42-37184, was on a cross country training flight from Ellington Field in Texas, to New England.   As the plane was passing over Connecticut it encountered thick clouds and crashed in the town of Trumbull, and both men aboard were killed. 

     The airmen were identified as 1st Lt. Rodney L. Stokes, (23), of Liberty, Missouri, and Sergeant Julius G. Skyberg, (26), of De Smet, South Dakota. 

     To see a photo of Lt. Stokes, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/65489256/rodney-linden-stokes

     To see a photo of Sgt. Skyberg, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/39728382/julius-george-skyberg

     Source: 

     The Waterbury Evening Democrat, “Plane crash At Trumbull Boosts State death Toll”, January 24, 1944, page 7.

Connecticut River – August 19, 1943

Connecticut River – August 19, 1943

 

P-47C Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On August 19, 1943, Army fighter pilot Homer V. Watts, (Rank Unknown), was piloting a P-47C Thunderbolt, (#41-6289), on a routine flight over the area of Middletown, Connecticut, when his aircraft developed engine trouble.  According to a man who notified police, the aircraft was headed north when he heard an explosion, but did not actually see the plane fall due to his view being obstructed.  The pilot was killed when his aircraft crashed into the Connecticut River near Dart Island in Middletown.

     Source:

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Plane Falls In Conn.”, August 19, 1943     

Scituate, R. I. – October 30, 1942

Scituate, Rhode Island – October 30, 1942 

 

Curtiss P-40
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of October 30, 1942, two U. S. Army P-40E Warhawks took off from Hillsgrove Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, for what was to be a routine training flight.  Both aircraft were assigned to the 317th Fighter Squadron at Hillsgrove.

     Both aircraft headed northeast towards the rural town of Scituate, where they began to engage in a mock “dog fight”.  At one point during the exercise, aircraft #41-36495 was trailing aircraft #40-498 in a left turn climb, when the first aircraft stalled.  When the second tried to break away to the right its wing struck the other planes fuselage.  The pilot of the second aircraft was forced to bail out.  As his plane crashed in a wooded area off Huntinghouse Road, the pilot landed safely. 

     Meanwhile, the other P-40, (41-36495) made it safely back to Hillsgrove.

     The accident was witnessed by a plane spotter in a fire tower in Scituate, who immediately called in the alarm.

     Sources:

     U. S. Army crash investigation report #43-10-30-6

     Woonsocket Call, “Mystery Shrouds Plane Crash Fire”, October 31, 1942   

     Pawtucket Times, “Two Army Planes Collide Over R. I.”, October 31, 1942, page 8. 

South Kingstown, R. I. – August 4, 1943

South Kingstown, Rhode Island – August 4, 1943

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On August 4, 1943, two U. S. Army P-47 fighter planes attached to the 378th Fighter Squadron, 362 Fighter Group, stationed at Groton, Connecticut, were on a training flight over South Kingstown, Rhode Island, when they collided in mid-air and crashed. One aircraft went down in Potter Pond, and the other crashed near Succotash Road about a half-mile south of Post Road.  Neither pilot survived. 

     The two pilots were:

     2Lt. Richard Huber, (24), of Glendale, California.  He’s buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.  He was piloting a P-47C, Ser. No. 41-6425.

     2LT. Charles M. Armstrong Jr. (20 or 21), of Austin, Texas.  He’s buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.  He was piloting a P-47D, Ser. No. 42-8261.  

     Sources:

     Newport Mercury, (R.I.), “Army Investigates Crash Of Bomber”, August 13, 1943, page 8.   This article began with the report of a B-34 bomber crash that occurred in Smithfield, R. I., but this last paragraph contained the report of this accident.

     Providence Journal, “Three Men Perish In Bomber Crash”, August 6, 1943, page 1.  This article began with the report of a B-34 bomber crash that occurred in Smithfield, R. I., but this last paragraph contained the report of this accident.

     www.Findagrave.com  

North Atlantic – July 3, 1941

North Atlantic – July 3, 1941 

     On July 3, 1941, a U. S. Navy PBY-5 Catalina (Bu. No. 2347), with seven crewmen aboard took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island bound for Iceland.  The aircraft was assigned to VP-72, which was being transferred from Quonset to provide cover for U. S. Marine Corps occupation forces stationed in Iceland.

     The flight was to be instrument flight rules due to zero visibility with cumulus clouds extending to about 18,000 feet.  The plane never arrived at its destination, and what happened to it is unknown.  Navy investigators theorized that an onboard fire may have occurred due to a leak in the temporary hull tank installation, or that the aircraft entered a spin while flying on instruments and never recovered.  The official cause of the accident is listed as “Unknown”.

     The missing crewmen were identified as follows:

     Pilot: Ensign Robert C. McKown of Atlanta, Georgia. 

     Co-Pilot: Ensign Joseph C. Haskel of Charleston, South Carolina

     AMM1c Wyman Richard Van Liere, (28), of Liberty, Arizona.  The Navy report lists the last name only as “Liere”, but newspaper accounts state the last name is Van Liere. 

     AMM1c Linton Melmus England, (32), of Long Beach, California.

     AMM3c Anthony Henry Gazafy, (28), of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  His birthday was the same day the plane disappeared.  He was 28. 

     RM1c Claude Andrew Ashley, (34), of Garden City, Kansas. 

     RM3c Lyn Elliott Dunlap, (20), of Mountain, Wisconsin.  

     Despite a search which lasted for more than two weeks no trace of the missing aircraft was ever found.  

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #3043 dated July 3, 1941

     Wilmington Morning Star, “Patrol Plane Lost At Sea”, July 8, 1941, pg. 10.

     Evening Star,(Wash. D.C.), “Navy Abandons Search For Plane Carrying 7” July 24, 1941, page B-2.  

     The Mercury, (Pottstown, PA.), “U.S. Navy Plane Reported Missing With Seven Men On Atlantic Patrol”, July 8, 1941 

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 2, 1943

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – March 2, 1943

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

      At 8 p.m. on the night of March 2, 1943, a U. S. Navy F4F-4 Corsair, (Bu. No. 12193), was making a night landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when it hit the slipstream of the aircraft in front of it and crash-landed causing major damage to the aircraft.  The pilot was not injured.    

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #43-6128 dated March 2, 1943.

Off Long Island, N.Y. – March 31, 1943

     Off Long Island, New York, – March 31, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

On the evening of March 31, 1943, a flight of four F4F-4 Wildcat aircraft took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island bound for Floyd Bennett Field on Long Island, New York.  Ensign Robert G. Carlson led the first section, which took off at 4:05 p.m., and Lieutenant Ernest C. Houck Houck led the second section, which took off at 4:23 p.m.  Lt. Houck’ s wingman was Ensign Leonard E. Byrer.  Both sections had been cleared under CFR direct, but soon after take off they encountered foul weather which included falling snow and low cloud cover. 

     While flying about 50 feet over the water just off the south shore of Long Island, Ensign Carlson’s wingman  observed Carlson’s aircraft suddenly bank sharply and disappear.  Ensign Carlson perished when his aircraft, (Bu. No. 12200), crashed into the water about 500 feet off shore.  Meanwhile his wingman landed safely after flying on instruments for an hour. 

     A short time later Ensign Byrer’s aircraft, (Bu. No. 12205), went down in the water near U. S. Coast Guard Station #79.  His body was recovered.   To see a photo of Ensign Byrer click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/52370762/leonard-eugene-byrer

     Lieutenant Houck, flying Bu. No. 12207 never made it to Floyd Bennett Field and it was assumed that he too crashed at sea.  Neither his aircraft nor his body were ever recovered.  To see a photo of Lt. Houck click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44721849/ernest-carl-houck  

      Ensign Carlson’s body was recovered on May 1. He’s buried in Riverview Cemetery in St. Joseph, Michigan.  

     The men were assigned to VF-24. 

     Sources:

     Three U. S. Navy accident reports, #43-6380, #43-6381. #43-6382, all dated March 31, 1943.  

     www.findagrave.com

Off Block Island, R. I. – June 7, 1943

Off Block Island, Rhode Island – June 7, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of June 7, 1943, a flight of F4F Wildcat aircraft took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a formation training flight.  The flight headed southward towards Block Island, which is three miles off the coast of Rhode Island.  At about 5 p.m., the flight leader led the formation into the edge of a cloud formation.  As the aircraft entered the clouds, the Wildcat being piloted by Ensign James Wilson Davis was observed by his wingman to suddenly roll over violently and go into a steep dive.  The wingman followed downward, but pulled out of the dive at about 300 feet.  Ensign Davis’s aircraft crashed into the sea and disappeared about a half-mile east of Block Island. 

     The navy serial number of Ensign Davis’s Wildcat was 12208.        

     The members of the flight were assigned to VF-16. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report, no. 43-7180, dated June 7, 1943.  

Charlestown, R. I. – April 10, 1945

Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field – April 10, 1945

 

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of April 10 1945, a Curtis Helldiver, (Bu. No. 60242), took off from the Charlestown NAAF for a night training flight.  It was to be the pilot’s first time flying at night.  Shortly after takeoff the pilot realized that the landing gear wouldn’t retract, so he notified the control tower and returned to the base. 

     As it happened, there was an electrical problem with some of the runway lights as those in some areas were brighter or dimer than others.  Other pilots that night had reported this.  As the pilot approached the airfield he became confused with the lighting configuration as it was his first night landing at the field.   The pilot landed to the side of the runway, but not on the runway.  In doing so eight feet of the right wing was torn away and the aircraft skidded into another Helldiver, (Bu. No. 60222), (unoccupied), that was parked off the runway, tearing its left wing off.   

     Both airplanes were severely damaged but the pilot was not hurt. 

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident report dated April 10, 1945. 

Presque Isle, ME. – September 7, 1944

Presque Isle, Maine – September 7, 1944

 

C-54 Skymaster
U. S. Air Force Photo.

     On the morning of September 7, 1944, a U. S. Army Douglas C-54A, (Ser. No. 42-72211), crashed shortly after take off from the Presque Isle Army Air Base.  The plane made a normal take off and was seen to rise 1,000 feet into the air before turning to the left.   As it did so, it suddenly fell to the ground and exploded on impact.  The aircraft came down about a mile from the air field on the property of Walter Carmichael, a Presque Isle potato farmer.    

     All three crewmen aboard perished.  They were identified as:   

     Pilot: Major George H. Shafer, (37-38). He’s buried in Sunset Memorial Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico.   

     Co-pilot: Captain Knute Nordahl

     Engineer: Master Sergeant Thomas W. Marshall, (23).  He’s buried in Pecan Grove Cemetery in McKinney, Texas.    

     The purpose of the flight was for training.  

     Sources:

     The Nashua Telegraph, “Several Believed Dead As Plane crashes In Maine”, September 7, 1944, page 10.

     www.findagrave.com

     Aviation Safety Network

 

 

Deer Mountain, ME. – July 11, 1944

Deer Mountain, Maine – July 11, 1944

 

B-17G “Flying Fortress”
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 11, 1944, a B-17 “Flying Fortress”, (Ser. No. 43-83023), with ten crewmen aboard left Kearney Army Air Field in Nebraska for a cross-country flight to Dow Army Air Field in Bangor, Maine.  The purpose of the flight was to land in Maine before proceeding overseas for combat duty.   

     As the aircraft came into the New England area in encountered bad weather, with low visibility, and low cloud cover.  The last radio transmission from the plane was received by the control tower at Grenier Army Air Field in Manchester, New Hampshire at 11:55 a.m.  At some point afterwards the plane crashed into Deer Mountain in the unincorporated area of North Oxford, Maine. 

     When the aircraft failed to arrive at Dow a search was instituted, and when searchers reached the crash site they found all ten crewmen deceased. 

     The crew were identified as:

     Pilot: 2nd Lt. John T. Cast, (27) of Springfield, Ohio.  He’s buried at St. Bernard Cemetery in Springfield, OH.  He was survived by his wife and five month old son.      

     Co-pilot: 2nd Lt. John W. Drake, (21) from Port Arthur, Texas. He buried in Greenlawn Memorial Park, Groves, Texas.

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. William H. Hudgems of Flagstaff, Arizona. 

     Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Robert S. Talley, (26) of San Angelo, Texas.  he’s buried in Fairview Cemetery in Pampa, Texas.  He was survived by his wife. 

     Engineer: Staff Sgt. Wayne D. McCavran, of Seymour, Iowa.

    Radio Operator: Sgt. Cecil Leon Murphy, (21) of Falls City, Nebraska.  He’s buried in Falls City Cemetery, Falls City, Neb. 

    Gunner: Cpl. John H. Jones, Jr., of Buffalo, New York.  He was survived by his wife.   

    Gunner: Sgt. Clarence Marvin Waln, (22), of Ten Sleep, Wyoming.  He’s buried in Ten Sleep Cemetery.  He would have been 22 on July 30th. 

    Gunner: Sgt. Gerald V. Biddle, (23) of East Orange, New Jersey.  He’s buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron, Ohio.  he was survived by his wife. 

     To see a photo of Sgt. Biddle, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10196746/gerald-v.-biddle

     Armor Gunner: Sgt. James A. Benson, (21), of Clark, South Dakota.  He’s buried in Clark Center Cemetery, Clark, S.D.

     Sources:

     The Nashua Telegram, “Army Squads Search Woods For Wreckage Of Fortress”, July 14, 1944

     www.findagrave.com

 

Melrose, MA. – September 24, 1945

Melrose, Massachusetts – September 24, 1945

Updated February 4, 2022

 

B-25 Mitchel bomber
USAF Museum photo

     On September 24, 1945, a twin-engine B-25J, (Ser. No. 43-36088), with six men aboard, took off from Grenier Field in Manchester, New Hampshire, for a training flight to Boston.  

    The airplane made it safely to Boston, and later took off to return to Manchester.  On the return trip, while approaching the area of Saugas, Massachusetts, the plane developed engine trouble, and before long one of the engines caught fire.  The pilot, Major Doak A. Weston, (30),  gave the order to bail out, and all five crewmen did so and landed safely.  Because the airplane was over a populated area, Major Weston opted to stay with the aircraft hoping to find a safe place to crash-land.  As the plane dropped lower he circled over the towns of Melrose, Malden, Saugus, and Wakefield.  Then he saw the Mount Hood Golf Course in Melrose and aimed for it.   

     The aircraft was now too low for Major Weston to bail out.  As the plane neared the ground witnesses reported seeing a flaming wing drop away.   The B-25 crashed and exploded at the 8th green of the gold course, killing Major Weston instantly.   A portion of the burning plane came through the wall of a nearby private home setting it on fire, but firemen were able to extinguish it before too much damage was done to the structure. 

     There were no injuries on the ground.   

     Major Weston’s actions no doubt saved the lives of people on the ground.   

     On September 24, 2010, sixty-five years after the crash, the Town of Melrose honored Major Weston’s sacrifice with a ceremony held at the site where his plane crashed, which included the unveiling of a small monument engraved with the crew’s names.  The ceremony was attended by Major Weston’s son, who was only three years old at the time of the incident.  

     Some sources state that Major Weston was from Denver, Colorado, and others state Aptos, California.  

     Major Weston had survived a previous aviation crash on February 23, 1943, when a B-25C, (Ser. No. 41-13289), he was piloting crashed into Lake Murray in South Carolina.  (He was a 1st Lieutenant at the time.) In that instance, He was flying low over the lake on a skip bombing training mission when the plane went into the lake and sank in 125 feet of water.  He was reportedly thrown clear of the aircraft as it cartwheeled across the water, and despite being seriously injured, was able to swim to shore.  Unfortunately the other five men aboard perished.   

     Those who perished were:   

     Co-pilot: 2nd Lt. Marshall S. Hawke, 26, of Muncie, Indiana.   https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/97277246/marshall-s-hawke

     1st Lt. Clifford O. Sherry, 24, of Chicago.  

     2nd Lt. Harold L. Feineuer, of Bay City, Michigan. 

     2nd Lt. John E. Handcock, 27, of Carmel, Pennsylvania. 

     Sgt. George W. Rhine, 22, of Inglewood, California. 

     Deep water divers were sent to attempt to recover the bodies.  It is unknown if the aircraft was recovered, or allowed to remain where it was. 

     Sources:

     The Nashua Telegraph, “Grenier Field Plane Goes Up In Flames On Way To Saugus”, September 24, 1945.

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Army Checks Bomber Explosion”, September 25, 1945, page 9. 

     Imperial Valley Press, (California), “Five Army Fliers Die In Carolina”, February 24, 1943, page 5. 

     Detroit Evening News, “Bay City Flier killed In Crash Of Bomber”, February 24, 1943, page 4. 

     Detroit Evening News, “Bomber Hits Lake, 5 Killed”, February 25, 1943, page 12. 

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

     www.findagrave.com

 

Atlantic Ocean – March 5, 1942

Atlantic Ocean – March 5, 1942

(Grenier Field)

 

Douglas A-20 Havoc
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 5, 1942, a U. S. Army Douglas DB-7B, (Ser. No. AL-301), (better known as the Douglas A-20 Havoc), took off from Grenier Field in Manchester, New Hampshire, bound for Langley Field in Hampton, Virginia.   The plane carried a crew of three. 

     There was the pilot, 2nd Lt. David Soutbard, (23), of Orlando, Florida; the bombardier, Private 1st Class Jack C. Maxey, Jr., (21), of Ada, Oklahoma; and Private George T. Oswerk, (21), of Walsenburg, Colorado.   

     The aircraft arrived safely and Langley and later took off for a trip back to Manchester.  While in route the aircraft crashed into the ocean off Barnegat Light, New Jersey.  (The reason for the accident was not stated in the press.)

     The pilot and bombardier were killed in the crash, but Private Oswerk was thrown clear and survived.  He was rescued by a passing ship, but unfortunately passed away of his injuries on March 7th. 

     The Nashua Telegraph newspaper reported that this was the “first fatal accident to (a) Grenier Field plane.         

     Lieutenant Southbard’s body was reportedly not recovered. 

     Pvt. 1c Maxey is buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Ada, Oklahoma. 

     Pvt. Oswerk is buried in St. Mary’s North Cemetery in Walsenburg, Colorado. 

     The men were assigned to the 79th Bombardment Squadron at Grenier Field. 

     Sources:

     The Nashua Telegraph, “Grenier Field Plane Crashes Off NJ Shore – Two Members of 3-Man Crew Are Killed”, March 6, 1942, page 1. 

     www.findagrave.com

Simsbury, CT. – October 4, 1944

Simsbury, Connecticut – October 4, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On October 4, 1944, two army P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft took off from Bradley Field in Winsor Locks for a “routine combat training flight”.  One aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-22595), was piloted by First Lieutenant Junior L. Birdsong.   The other aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-8305), was piloted by an unnamed officer. 

     While conducting a combat training exercise over the town of Simsbury the two aircraft collided in mid-air.  Lieutenant Birdsong was unable to escape from his plane and was killed when it crashed.  The other pilot parachuted safely in a wooded area on Avon Mountain.  Both aircraft went down in thick woods within three-quarters of a mile of each other, and within a mile of the nearest main road.  They reportedly “burned fiercely” until firefighters from Simsbury and Bradley Filed could reach them.   

     Lt. Birdsong is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, in Pittsburg, Texas.  To see a photo of him go to www.fingagrave.com. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9101607/junior-lovell-birdsong

     Sources:

     Hartford Courant, “One Dies, Another Safe In Simsbury Air Crash”, October 5, 1944.   

     The Pittsburg Gazette, (Texas), “Military Funeral For Lt. J. L. Birdsong”, October 13, 1944. 

     www.findagrave.com

 

North Haven, CT. – July 6, 1943

North Haven, Connecticut  – July 6, 1943

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

    On the morning of July 6, 1943, Lieutenant George Sutcliffe took off from Westover Air Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in a P-47 B Thunderbolt, (Ser. No.  41-6013) for what was to be a routine training flight.  Just after 11:30 a.m. while passing over the town of North Haven, Connecticut, he was forced to bail out.  He landed safely while his aircraft crashed and burned in a vacant area off Hartford Turnpike.   Nobody on the ground was injured.  

     Click here for more information about Lt. Sutcliff. 

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/george-sutcliffe-obituary?pid=147991329

     Sources:

     Information supplied by Lawrence Webster, Aircraft Archeologist and Historian, of the former Quonset Air Museum

     North Haven Volunteer Fire Company report dated July 6, 1943. 

     Hartford Courant, “Crash Sites All But Forgotten”, by David K. Leff, November 21, 2010

New Bedford, MA. – June 15, 1945

New Bedford, Massachusetts – June 15, 1945

 

Early U.S. Navy Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 15, 1945, a navy SBW-4E Helldiver , (Bu. No. 60107), violently ground-looped while making a landing at New Bedford.  The aircraft suffered substantial damage but the crew was not hurt. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated June 15, 1945

Otis Air Field – July 23, 1945

Otis Air Field – July 23, 1945

 

Early U.S. Navy Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 23, 1945, a navy SBW-4E Helldiver, (Bu. No. 60120), was participating an a flight-carrier-landing-practice exercise at Otis Field,  Upon touchdown on the runway the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded to a stop on its belly.  The aircraft sustained substantial damage, but the pilot was not hurt. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated July 23, 1945 

Otis Air Field – May 5, 1945

Otis Air Field – May 5, 1945

 

Early U.S. Navy Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On May 5, 1945, a navy SBW-4E Helldiver, (Bu. No. 60116), was attempting to land at Otis Field with an overheating engine.  It was the pilot’s first flight in such an aircraft.  Just before touchdown, while at an altitude of about twenty-five feet, the aircraft dropped and crashed onto the runway, suffering two bent wings, a buckled fuselage, bent propeller, and damage to the engine.  The pilot was not injured. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated May 5, 1945.   

Hyannis, MA. – March 25, 1945

Hyannis, Massachusetts – March 25, 1945

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On March 25, 1945, a navy TBF-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 24329), was in the process of taking off from Hyannis when the aircraft lost power twice.  The pilot attempted to abort the take off and applied the brakes.  The aircraft went off the end of the runway onto soft ground where the wheels dug in and the landing gear was torn away.  The aircraft nosed over and skidded for an additional sixty feet before coming to rest.  There were no injuries. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated March 25, 1945. 

 

Barnstable, MA. – June 23, 1945

Barnstable, Massachusetts – June 23, 1945 

(And Truro, Mass. )

 

Early U.S. Navy Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of June 23, 1945, a flight of six navy SBW Helldiver aircraft were in a “tail-chase” formation 3,000 feet over the town of Truro, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.  One aircraft, (Bu. No. 60112), was flying in the third position, and Bu. No. 60142 was following it in the fourth position about 400 feet behind.  When the formation entered a climbing turn, the third aircraft unexpectedly flipped over onto its back and began to fall.  The pilot of the fourth aircraft tried to avoid a collision but was unsuccessful.   

     The right wing of the fourth aircraft was sheared off about six feet from the tip. The pilot attempted to maintain control but was unable to, so he climbed to 4,000 feet and gave the order to his gunner to bail out.  Both men reported having trouble getting clear of the cockpit before jumping.  The aircraft crashed in Barnstable Harbor.  The pilot and his gunner also came down in the water and were rescued by fishermen.   Both suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Meanwhile, the pilot of the other aircraft found his controls frozen after the collision and ordered his gunner, ARM3c Kenneth E. Kubik, (19), to bail out.  The pilot later reported that he too had difficulty leaving the aircraft, but he landed safely with non-life-threatening injuries.  ARM3c Kubik was unable to leave the aircraft and was killed when it crashed and exploded one mile northeast of Truro. 

     ARM3c Kubik was from Caldwell, Kansas, and assigned to VT-74.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report  dated June 23, 1945   

Nantucket, MA. – June 12, 1945

Nantucket, Massachusetts – June 12, 1945

     On June 12, 1945, an FG-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 76561), was returning to the Nantucket Naval Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft ground-looped upon landing.  The aircraft suffered significant damage, but the pilot was uninjured. 

     The aircraft was assigned to VBF-74B.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated June 12, 1945 

Nantucket, MA. – April 6, 1945

Nantucket, Massachusetts – April 6, 1945 

 

     On April 6, 1945, a navy Fg-1D Corsair aircraft, (Bu. No. 76648), was returning to the Nantucket Naval Auxiliary Air Field from a training flight when the engine began to cut out while the aircraft was still at 5,500 feet.  As the pilot came in for an emergency landing the engine lost all power.  The aircraft made a hard landing on the right wing and flipped over on its back.  The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.  

     The pilot was assigned to VBF-92.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 6, 1945

Cape Cod Beach – May 8, 1942

Cape Cod Beach – May 8, 1942

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

      On May 8, 1942, Ensign Arthur J. Cassidy was piloting an F4F-4 Wildcat, (Bu. No. 4085), just off Cape Cod on a routine navigational training flight. About 40 minutes into the flight, the 30 gallon reserve fuel tank ran low, so he switched to the main tank, and when he did so the fuel suction was lost and could not be regained.  His engine lost power, but he was able to make an emergency landing on a beach on Cape Cod.  (Unfortunately the navy report on this incident does not state which specific beach, or the town it was located in.)

     Cassidy’s aircraft suffered heavy damage during the landing, but he was not injured.

     He was assigned to VF-41. 

     Ensign Cassidy was later promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.).  He lost his life on March 30, 1943 when his aircraft disappeared over Massachusetts and was never heard from again.  To read about his disappearance click here. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #4140, dated May 8, 1942.

 

Caribou, ME. – June 26, 1943

Caribou, Maine – June 26, 1943

 

B-26G Bomber
U.S. Air Force Photo

     Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on the morning of June 26, 1943, an army B-26 bomber, (Ser. No. 41-31645), was en-route to cross the Atlantic  for overseas duty with a crew of five aboard.   

     Meanwhile, four adults and a 10-year-old boy were working in an open field on the farm of Carl Rasmussen in Caribou loading rocks on two horse-drawn wagons.  

     The B-26 came out of the sky and crashed right were the civilians were working, killing four of the five of them, as well as all members of the aircraft crew.  The momentum of the aircraft carried it onward into an adjoining field and the debris field stretched all the way to a wooded area.  

     The four civilians killed on the ground were identified as Alfred Winter, 37,  and his 9-year-old son, Alfred, Jr., Miss Ann Theriault, (25), and Miss Elouise M. Newton, (18).   Freeman Hitchcock, who was also working in the field suffered serious injuries.  

     The servicemen were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st. Lt. Bertrand N. Robertson, (28) of Greenville Junction, Maine.  He’s buried in Greenridge Cemetery in Caribou, Me. 

     (Co-Pilot) 2nd Lt. Herbert F. Myers, 22, of South Portland, Maine.  To see a photo of Lt. Meyers, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62097192/herbert-f-meyers

     (Navigator) 1st Lt. Edwin M Hankinson, (25 – 26) of Morrice, Michigan.  He was survived by his wife whom he’d married eight days earlier on June 18, 1943.  He’s buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Perry, Michigan.  To see a photo of him click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36429945/edwin-morgan-hankinson

      S/Sgt. William H. Jochim, (20), of Louisville, Nebraska.  He’s buried in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Louisville, Nebraska.  To see a photo of him click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/64401819/william-h-jochim

     T/Sgt. John M. Kuser, of New York City.  He’s buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.  

     Sources:

     Fort Fairfield Review, (Me.), “Nine-Death Bomber Crash Sat. Was Third Airplane Accident In Green Ridge Section In Ten-Month Period”, June 30, 1943, page 1.  

     Unknown newspaper, “Nine Killed When Plane Hits Field”, June 26, 1943

     Imperial Valley Press, (Calif.), Army Plane Crashes, Kills Five Fliers, Four Workers”, June 27, 1943

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

Marion, MA. February 4, 1943

Marion, Massachusetts – February 4, 1943 

 

Douglas A-20 Havoc
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On February 4, 1943, a U. S. Army, Douglas A-20C Havoc, (Ser. No. 41-19637), left Cumberland Air Base in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with four men aboard.  The purpose of the flight was to take part in a joint-training exercise with members of the 3rd Armored Division in the vicinity of the town of Lebanon, about twenty-five miles to the east.  Once over the Lebanon area, the crew was to remain airborne and establish radio contact with armored division forces on the ground.  When the exercise was over, the aircraft was scheduled to return to Harrisburg.  

     The aircrew consisted of the pilot, Major Arnold J. Bailey; the gunner, Sergeant Albert D. Reposa; and the radio operator,  Sergeant Donald T. Robinson; all assigned to the 3rd Air Force.  Also aboard was Major Charles H. Cooke of the 3rd Armored Division who was acting as an observer, and occupied the bombardier’s position in the nose of the aircraft.      

     As the aircraft flew towards Lebanon it encountered poor forward visibility due to low cloudy conditions, and at the time the pilot didn’t have a current instrument flight certification.  Therefore he climbed and executed a 180 degree turn and began heading back towards Harrisburg.  While making their way back to Harrisburg the pilot once again saw the ground, but the overcast continued to close in so he climbed to nearly 4,000 feet to get above it. 

     At Harrisburg he attempted two unsuccessful instrument landings before setting a southern course towards Baltimore, Maryland, flying between layers of clouds as he did so.  Upon arriving at Baltimore he found conditions to be the same as they were at Harrisburg, and set a northeast course towards New England.  However, the weather continued to grow worse, and as the plane neared the New England coast it encountered heavy rain.    

     As the aircraft passed over eastern Rhode Island the pilot noted that the fuel was low.  He then took the plane to 13,000 feet and gave the order to bail out. 

     Major Bailey landed safely in a wooded area at Mayflower Ridge, near the Wareham River, in the town of Wareham, Massachusetts.  He then hiked thought the woods carrying his parachute until he came to the Wareham Country Club where he obtained a ride to Camp Edwards.

     Nobody had seen or heard the plane come down, therefore the location of where it crashed was not immediately known.  Initial reports indicated the plane had gone down in the water somewhere between Swansea, Massachusetts,  and Bristol, Rhode Island.  Later reports indicated the plane had gone down in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts.   The wreckage was finally located in a wooded area on the grounds of the RCA wireless station in the coastal town of Marion, Massachusetts.      

     Major Cooke’s body was recovered at the crash site, but Sergeants Robinson and Repoza were missing, and after a five day search had not been found.  A parachute belonging to one of the men was found offshore in the water and it was presumed that both men had landed in the frigid water and drowned.

     Sgt. Reposa’s body was later recovered in May of 1943 on the shore of Wareham.          

     Sources:

     Unites States Army Air Force accident investigation report #43-2-4-7

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “District Army Officer Dies In Plane Crash In Massachusetts”, February 6, 1943.

     Daily Boston Globe, “Body Found Near Plane, Army Silent, Bomber Lost”, February 6, 1943

     Wareham Currier, “Bomber Crashes In Marion”, February 11, 1943.  (Article courtesy of the Trustees of the Wareham Free Library, Celia Epstein Stone Research Room.)

     Fall River Herald, “ARP Units Aiding In Search For Missing Army Plane”, February 5, 1943, page 1

     Fall River Herald, “Two Aviators Still Sought”, February 8, 1943, page 2.

     Fall River Herald, “Wrecked Bomber Found At Marion”, February 6, 1943, page 1.

     Wareham, MA., death records.

 

 

 

Camp Edwards, MA.- December 22, 1942

Camp Edwards, Massachusetts – December 22, 1942 

 

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On December 22, 1942, a flight of three U. S. Army P-40 fighter planes took off from the Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, for a tactics-training flight.   All aircraft were part of the 317th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Group, then stationed at Hillsgrove. 

     While over Cape Cod, and practicing mock attack and evasion maneuvers, one of the aircraft, (41-36510), piloted by 1st Lt. Bartholemew  J. Judge, Jr., (24), went missing.  Attempts to make contact by the other two aircraft were unsuccessful, and both were ordered to return to Hillsgrove. 

     When Lt. Judge failed to return he was declared missing.  A search was instituted but nothing was found. 

     Three months later, on March 22, 1943, Lt. Judge’s remains were found near the wreckage of this aircraft in a wooded area of Camp Edwards, about five miles north of Otis Filed.  There was evidence that he’d tried to bail out but his parachute didn’t open. 

     The wreckage was found by Chief Clarence Gibbs, a member of the Camp Edwards fire department, when he saw a glint of sunlight reflect off a piece of metal in a wooded area in a remote portion of the artillery range.  

     Lt. Judge is buried in Saint Catherine’s Cemetery, in Moscow, Pennsylvania. 

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/174721141/bartholemew-j-judge

     Lt. Judge had survived an earlier plane crash in Stafford Springs, Connecticut on August 7, 1942.  In that instance, he and an instructor were in a BT-14 trainer aircraft, (Ser. No. 40-1209). 

     Sources:

      The Waterbury Democrat, “Pilots Injured”, August 8, 1942, page 2.

      The Evening Star, (Washington, DC), “Lt. Judge, Former G.W.U. Student, Reported Missing”, December 26, 1942,page A-8

     Fall River Herald, “Two Aviators Still Sought”, February 8, 1943, page 2.

     The Falmouth Enterprise, “Dead Flyer Found”, March 26, 1943 

     Aviation Safety Network, Wikibase 102913

     www.findagrave.com, #174721141

 

Mapleton, ME. – July 3, 1943

Mapleton, Maine – July 3, 1943

 

B-26G Bomber
U.S. Air Force Photo

     At about 5 p.m. on July 3, 1943, a U. S. Army B-26C bomber aircraft, (Ser. # 41-35181), took off from the Presque Isle, Maine, Air Base, for a routine training flight when it lost an engine shortly after take off and went down and exploded in a wooded area of Mapleton, about five miles west of the airfield.    

     There were five men aboard at the time, three of whom perished. 

     The dead were identified as:

     The pilot: 1st Lt. Walter M. Cochran of Wilmington, Del.

     The co-pilot: 1st Lt. Walter H. Peoples of Wilmington, Del.

     Flight Engineer: Corporal Albert O. Williams of Central, New Mexico.  

     The injured survivors were identified as:

     Corporal Richard P. Hamilton of Pasadena, Cal.

     1st Lt. Norman F. Smith, of Sandena, Cal.

     Both were brought to Presque Isle Air Base Hospital. 

     Sources:

     Evening Star, (Wash. D.C.), “Three Army Fliers Die In Maine Plane Crash”, July 4, 1943m, page C-7 

     Aviation Safety Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groton, CT. – June 12, 1945

Groton, Connecticut – June 12, 1945

 

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 12, 1945, a navy SB2C Helldiver, (Bu. No. 20916), was landing at Groton Field in strong gusty winds when the aircraft ground-looped at high speed, causing major damage to the aircraft.  Neither the pilot or the gunner aboard were injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated June 12, 1945    

New Bedford, MA. – December 11, 1944

New Bedford, Massachusetts – December 11, 1944

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On December 11, 1944, a navy F4U-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 82206), made an accidental wheels-up landing at New Bedford NAAF.  The aircraft skidded to a stop and there was no fire.  The pilot was not injured, but the aircraft suffered substantial damage. 

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 10, (VF-10) 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 11, 1944.

 

New Bedford, MA. – December 7, 1944

New Bedford, Massachusetts – December 7, 1944 

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On December 7, 1944, a pilot was making carrier practice landings at New Bedford NAAF in an F4U-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 82205).  After making several successful landings, he attempted to make another.  Just before touchdown a strong gust of wind caused the left wing to dip.  The pilot attempted to correct, but the aircraft went into a ditch. The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the aircraft was seriously damaged. 

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 10, (VF-10).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 7, 1944.     

Haverhill, MA. – November 4, 1944

Haverhill, Massachusetts – November 4, 1944

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of November 4, 1944, Ensign Robert E. McLoughlin, (22), was piloting an F4U-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 50636), over the town of Haverhill when the aircraft was observed to go into a roll and then dive into the ground at high speed and explode. 

     Ensign McLoughlin was assigned to Carrier Air Service Unit 22, (CASU-22).

     Ensign Mcloughlin is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Haverhill.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 4, 1944.  

     www.findagrave.com   

 

Point Judith, R. I. – December 15, 1944

Point Judith, Rhode Island – December 15, 1944

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the night of December 15, 1944, a flight of U. S. Navy F4U Corsairs took off from the Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine for a cross-country flight to Groton, Connecticut.  All of the aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 10, (VF-10).  

     At about 3:00 a.m., the flight was passing over the water about a half-mile south of Point Judith, Rhode Island,  at an altitude of 600 feet, staying just below a layer of haze.  The flight was split into two sections.  Members of the first section included Ensign Herman Arthur Rodgers, piloting aircraft #57673, and Ensign William P. Brede, Jr., piloting aircraft #57514. 

     Suddenly Ensign Rodgers’, and Ensign Brede’s aircraft were observed by members of the second section to abruptly drop out of formation and plunge into the water and explode on impact.  Neither pilot had radioed any trouble with his aircraft, or given a distress signal.

     The aircraft and the pilot’s bodies were never recovered, and the cause of the accident is unknown.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 15, 1944.    

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 7, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 7, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of October 7, 1943, a navy FM-1 Wildcat, (Bu. No. 15193), was in the process of landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when a strong crosswind blew it off the runway as it was touching down.  The aircraft ground-looped at high speed and was heavily damaged.  The pilot was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-8979, dated October 7, 1943.

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 31, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 31, 1944 

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 31, 1944, a navy TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06077), was landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft ground-loped at high speed damaging the landing gear and buckling the fuselage.  There were no injuries.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated August 31, 1944.

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 1, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 1, 1944

 

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

     On the afternoon of July 1, 1944, a ground collision occurred between two aircraft on Runway 19 at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  An F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42300), taxied into the back of an SNJ-5 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 51651).  The SNJ-5 was damaged beyond repair, but there were no injuries reported from those aboard either aircraft.     

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated July 1, 1944.

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

Martha’s Vineyard – March 25, 1944

Martha’s Vineyard – March 25, 1944 

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the night of March 25, 1944, a navy TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 05880), was returning to the Martha’s Vineyard Naval Auxiliary Air Field after a night familiarization flight.   As the pilot was making his landing approach, he was waved off due to another aircraft which had just landed still being on the runway.  The Avenger circled around and came in for a second approach.  As it touched down it made a wheels up landing, and skidded on its belly for 900 feet before coming to rest.  The propeller, the bomb bay doors, and the starboard wing were heavily damaged, but there were no injuries.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-81.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-12653, dated March 25, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 17, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 17, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of February 17, 1944, a navy TBF-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 48027), was landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the landing gear collapsed shortly after touchdown. The aircraft skidded for over 900 feet before coming to rest.  The aircraft suffered major damage but the three-man crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to Torpedo Squadron Four, (VT-4).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11785, dated February 17, 1944.  

Windham, CT. – April 13, 1944

Windham, Connecticut – April 13, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

    On the morning of April 13, 1944, a navy TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24124), landed short of the left side of the runway at the Windham Air Field.  The left wing dragged and the plane went off the runway where it went into some soft dirt and was thrown over onto its right wing.  The aircraft was damaged, but there were no injuries.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-13163, dated April 13, 1944.   

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 13, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – March 13, 1942 

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On March 3, 1942, a navy SNJ-3 trainer aircraft, (BU. No. 6911), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a night training flight.  Just after touchdown the pilot realized the brakes weren’t working, and the aircraft went off the end of the runway and nosed over.  The pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 13, 1942.    

 

Charlestown, R. I. – September 22, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 22, 1944

 

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

     On the afternoon of September 22, 1944, a navy F6F-3 Hellcat fighter, (Bu. No. 26052), was taking off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the engine suddenly lost all power just after the plane became airborne.  The aircraft fell back to the runway and the fuselage broke in half, but there was no fire.  The pilot suffered serious injuries and the aircraft was a total loss.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 22, 1944.

 

Squantum NAS – May 25, 1945

Squantum Naval Air Station – May 25, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On May 25, 1945, a navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27007), landed at the Squantum Naval Air Station in a strong cross-wind and ground looped at high speed causing damage to the left wing, left aileron, propeller, and both landing wheels.  The pilot was not injured.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 25, 1945.

Greenwich, CT. – July 21, 1945

Greenwich, Connecticut – July 21, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     At about 3:30 p.m., on the afternoon of July 21, 1945, a navy SNJ-5 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 90720), with two men aboard left the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island for a training flight over Connecticut. About an hour later, while over Greenwich, Connecticut, the aircraft experienced problems with the engine’s fuel flow and began losing altitude.  The pilot made a crash-landing on a golf course.  The crew suffered non-life-threatening-injuries and the aircraft was heavily damaged.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 21, 1945. 

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 22, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 22, 1944

 

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

     On the night of August 22, 1944, a flight of navy F6F Hellcat fighters were taking part in a night-carrier-landing-practice exercise at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, when one of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 70169), landed with its landing gear still in the “up” position.  The plane skidded to a stop and suffered significant damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 22, 1944.      

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 21, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 21, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

      In the early morning hours of August 21, 1944, a flight of navy F6F Hellcat fighters were making night practice landings and take offs at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  At 2:00 a.m., one aircraft, (Bu. No. 58106), came in for its fifth landing, but the landing gear remained in a retracted position.  The Hellcat made a wheels-up landing and skidded to a stop causing damage to the aircraft, but the pilot wasn’t injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 21, 1944.

Charlestown, R. I. – August 24, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 24, 1944 

 

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

     On the afternoon of August 24, 1944, a flight of F6F Hellcat navy fighters was practicing mock daylight carrier landings on Runway 35 at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  One Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42287), came in to land with the landing gear still up.  The aircraft crash-landed on the runway and skied to a stop.  There was no fire, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.  The pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 24, 1944.

Brunswick, ME. – March 24, 1945

Brunswick, Maine – March 24, 1945

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On March 24, 1945, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 48884), was returning to the Brunswick Naval Air Station after a 4.5 hour operational flight.  As the aircraft was coming in to land it ran out of fuel and crashed on approach.   Two of the six men aboard were injured, and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 24, 1945.

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 14, 1942

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 14, 1942

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of July 14, 1942, a flight of navy aircraft were participating in a night-carrier-landing-drill at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  One of the aircraft was an F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 02137).   The flight circle took the planes out over Narragansett Bay.      

     As the Wildcat was making its landing approach from an altitude of 300 feet over the Bay, its engine suddenly lost all power.  The pilot was able to glide the plane in to make an emergency water landing just off shore.  The pilot was able to extricate himself before the plane sank in 18 feet of water.  The pilot suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 41, (VF-41)

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4487, dated July 14, 1942.

 

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 30, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 30, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On January 30, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12147), was taking off for a training flight from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just as the aircraft reached an altitude of 700 feet the engine lost all power.  The aircraft was too low for the pilot to bail out, so he tried to glide  towards a wooded clearing.  At an altitude of 50 feet he was able to restart the engine, and as he did so the Wildcat clipped some tree tops causing damage to the plane.  The pilot was able to gain enough altitude to make it back to Quonset Point.  As he was landing, the aircraft hit a snowbank which caused it to swing upwards into an almost vertical position and then slam back down.  The aircraft was heavily damaged but the pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated January 30, 1943.

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 5, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 5, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 9:40 p.m. on the night of February 5, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12156), was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a night familiarization flight.  The pilot inadvertently made a wheels-up landing, and as the aircraft skidded to a stop it caught fire.  The pilot escaped, but the aircraft was destroyed by the flames. 

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16).   

     Source: 

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5879, dated February 5, 1943.

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 7, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 7, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 7, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 5030), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the engine suddenly lost all power immediately after becoming airborne.  The aircraft crashed back onto the runway and required a major overhaul.  The pilot was not injured.

     This aircraft had been involved in another accident only five days earlier on February 2nd.  On that date, BU. No. 5030 was coasting to a stop after having just landed at Quonset Point when it was struck by another Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12149), which was taxiing into position in preparation of take off.  The accident was blamed on the pilot of Bu. No. 12149.

     Both aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16).

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5849, dated February 2, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 7, 1943.  

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 2, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 2, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 2, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 5030), was landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The pilot made a successful landing and as the aircraft was coasting down the runway and nearly to a stop, it was struck by another Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12149), which was taxiing into position in anticipation of taking off.  Both aircraft were damaged but there were no injuries.  The accident was blamed on the pilot operating Wildcat 12149.

     Both aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16).

     Wildcat 5030 was repaired and put back in service.  

     Five days later, on February 7, Wildcat 5030 was taking off from the Quonset Point NAS when the engine suddenly lost power just after becoming airborne and the plane crashed back onto the runway.  The aircraft required a major overhaul, but the pilot was not injured.  The cause could not be determined.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5849, dated February 2, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 7, 1943.        

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 9, 1943

Quonset Point, R.I. – February 9, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 9, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 02027), was landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a strong cross-wind when the wingtip hit a snowbank causing the plane to crash.  The aircraft was seriously damaged, and the pilot received non-life-threatening injuries.

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16). 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #43-5932, dated February 9, 1943

Off Block Island – February 22, 1943

Off Block Island – February 22, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of February 22, 1943, a flight of navy F4F Wildcat fighters was taking part in a low altitude flight tactics training exercise off Block Island.  One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 12045), was piloted by Lt. (Jg.), Edward Enalius Bailey of Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16), based at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  As Lt. (Jg.) Bailey was making a simulated attack on two torpedo planes he suddenly crashed into the water.  Neither the pilot or his aircraft could be recovered. 

     Source: U. S. Navy report, #43-6049, dated February 22, 1943.

Narragansett Bay – August 23, 1944

Narragansett Bay – August 23, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of August 23, 1944, a flight of navy F6F Hellcats were engaged in “night flying carrier landing practice” at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The flight circle extended out over the waters of Narragansett Bay.  During the training exercise, one aircraft, (Bu. No. 58915), went down in the water and sank.  The pilot escaped with no injuries and was rescued about an hour later. The aircraft was later recovered.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 23, 1944,

Ayer, MA. – July 12, 1945

Ayer, Massachusetts – July 12, 1945

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 12, 1945, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 68260), was approaching the Ayer Naval Auxiliary Air Field to land.  The pilot didn’t touch down until he was half-way down the 2,000 foot runway, after which time he was unable to stop the aircraft before it went off the end of the runway and flipped over onto its back.  There was substantial damage to the aircraft, and the pilot sustained non-life-threatening injuries.       

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 12, 1945. 

 

Norwood, MA. – August 5, 1944

Norwood, Massachusetts – August 5, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of August 5, 1944, the pilot of a navy F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58931), was practicing glide-angle training runs over the Norwood, Massachusetts, area when a sudden “jolt” occurred in the engine compartment followed by sections of cowling falling away, and oil spraying the windshield.  Immediately afterwards the aircraft began trailing smoke.  The pilot nursed the aircraft up from 1,500 feet to 2,500 feet where he bailed out.  The plane came down and was destroyed.  The pilot landed safely with a lacerated hand.     

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 5, 1944

 

Charlestown, R. I. – August 1, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 1, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of August 1, 1944, several aircraft from Night Fighter Squadron 104, (VFN-104), were taking part in a simulated night carrier landing exercise at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  During the exercise, one of the aircraft, an F6F-3N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42994), crashed into the water just off shore from the air field.  The pilot escaped before the plane sank, and wasn’t injured.  The aircraft was later salvaged.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 1, 1944.

Sanford, ME. – July 25, 1944

Sandford, Maine – July 25, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 25, 1944, several aircraft were taking part in a “carrier landing practice” exercise at the Sanford Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  One aircraft was a F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42759).  As the pilot made his landing on a simulated aircraft carrier deck platform the arresting wire broke causing the plane to swing violently to the right and skid for about 40 feet.  The aircraft required a major overhaul, but the pilot was not injured.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 25, 1944

Ayer, MA.- July 10, 1944

Ayer, Massachusetts – July 10, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 10, 1944, an F6F-3 hellcat, (Bu. No. 26333), was taking off at Ayer Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft lost power just after becoming airborne and fell back onto the runway.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, but the pilot survived, receiving non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 10, 1944

Ayer, MA. – August 8, 1944

Ayer, Massachusetts – August 8, 1944 

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 8, 1944, Ensign Henry Clayton Youngdoff took off in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58125), from the Ayer Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Ayer, Mass.  The purpose of the flight was to participate in rocket firing dive exercises.   After completing a practice dive over the airfield, Ensign Youngdoff climbed to 6,000 feet where he joined up with the division flight leader.  Just after doing so, Youngdoff’s aircraft began trailing blue smoke and loosing power.  After declaring an emergency, he was granted permission by Ayer tower to make an emergency landing.  Ensign Youngdoff turned towards the field but due to the loss of power his aircraft began loosing altitude.  When he was about three miles from the field he was only at 1,000 feet and still dropping, so he turned the aircraft towards a small lake.  The terrain below was rugged and hilly.  As he headed towards the lake the engine froze, and realizing he wouldn’t make it to the lake he bailed out.  Unfortunately his parachute didn’t fully deploy and he was killed.  The aircraft crashed and burned about a mile away.  Nobody on the ground was injured.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 8, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – September 22, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – September 22, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of September 22, 1944, a U. S. Navy F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70568), took off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island for a routine training flight off the New England Coast.  The pilot was Ensign Robert Lee Skinner, 20, of Comanche County, Texas.  The last radio contact with Ensign Skinner was heard about five minutes after take off.  When Ensign Skinner failed to return he was declared missing and a search was instituted, but nothing was found. 

     Five months later the wreckage of Ensign Skinner’s aircraft was discovered off the coast of Montauk Point, Long Island, N.Y.  The cause of his accident was never determined.

     Ensign Skinner was assigned to Night Fighter Squadron 107, aka  VF(n)-107.

     A photo of Ensign Skinner can be seen on www.findagrave.com, memorial #55702569.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/55702569/robert-lee-skinner

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 22, 1944.

     www.findagrave.com 

Wingdale, N.Y. – November 3, 1945

Wingdale, New York – November 3, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     The flight of this aircraft originated at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Charlestown, Rhode Island, but ended in upstate New York. 

     On November 2, 1945, a U. S. Navy  SNJ-4 “Texan” trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27381), left Charlestown, Rhode Island, on a cross country training flight to Chincoteague, Virginia, where it arrived safely. 

     The aircraft carried two men.  The pilot was Ensign James Frederick Wagner, 25, of Titusville, Penn.  The other man was Ensign Shannon R. Caulk, 21, of Columbia, Tenn.  Both were assigned to Carrier Aircraft Service Unit 26, (CASU-27), at Charlestown.        

     On the morning of November 3, the men took off from Virginia bound for Groton, Connecticut.  The aircraft’s expected time of arrival at Groton was to be 11:31 a.m.

     While passing over the upstate New York area not far from the Connecticut boarder, the men encountered foggy weather and a cloud ceiling of 1,000 feet.  At approximately 11:15 a.m. the aircraft crashed into East Mountain, an 1,800 foot tall hill in the village of Wingdale, New York.  The impact took place along a rocky ledge about 100 feet from the summit.  There was no explosion, but wreckage was scattered along the mountain side.  Both Ensign Wagner and Ensign Caulk were killed instantly.

     A man living nearby heard the accident and upon investigation found the crash site and notified authorities.       

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 3, 1945

     Poughkeepsie Journal, “Two Ensigns Killed In crash Of Navy Plane”, November 5, 1945, page 1.

     Poughkeepsie Journal, “Wrecked Ship And Bodies Found On East Mountain”, November 4, 1945

 

 

North Kingstown, R.I. – April 11, 1945

North Kingstown, Rhode Island – April 11, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On the afternoon of April 11, 1945, a U. S. Navy SNJ-5 “Texan” trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 43893), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown with two men aboard.   The purpose of the flight was to test a newly installed “flight attitude” gauge in the rear cockpit.   As the pilot was putting the aircraft through a series of aerobatic maneuvers the engine suddenly lost all power and the plane went into a stall.  The aircraft then fell into a short spin and crashed killing both men.

     The pilot was identified as CAP USN Francisco P. Brunetti, 25, and the rear cockpit passenger was identified as AMM3/c John C. Costner, 23.     

     The location of this accident listed in the navy report was “Washington, R.I.”, however there is no such town, but there is a Washington County, R.I.  Within Washington County are the towns of Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown, and Westerly.  After contacting town halls form those towns, it was learned that the death records for this accident are kept at North Kingstown, Book 6, Page 335.  Therefore it is surmised the accident occurred in North Kingstown.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated April 11, 1945

 

Atlantic Ocean – December 3, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – December 3, 1944

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of December 3, 1944, a flight of U. S. Navy F6F Hellcats took off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Charlestown, Rhode Island, for a “practice night interception” training flight off the Rhode Island coast.  At about 7: 30 p.m., the lead aircraft, (Bu. No. 70632), piloted by Ensign Maynard F. Lednum, (21), was last seen making a “steep diving turn” while descending into a cloud bank at 6,000 feet.   Although not witnessed, he presumably crashed into the ocean and was lost.  Neither the pilot nor the aircraft were recovered.

     Ensign Lednum earned his wings at Pensacola Florida on April 11, 1944, and arrived in Rhode Island on October 7, 1944. 

     To see a photo of Ensign Lednum go to www.findagrave.com, see memorial #173204555.  

     Ensign Lednum was assigned to squadron VF(N)-91.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 3, 1944.

     www.findagrave.com

Atlantic Ocean – June 3, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – June 3, 1945

U.S.S. Mission Bay

 

Ensign John J. Zayak
Photo courtesy of
Allison M. Albert

     In the early morning hours of June 3, 1945, a flight of U. S. Navy F6F Hellcats assigned to Night Attack Combat Training Unit 9, (NACTU-9), took off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Airfield in Charlestown, Rhode Island, to rendezvous with the escort carrier U.S.S. Mission Bay, (CVE-59), which was operating off the coast of New England.  The purpose of the flight was to conduct night training exercises and practice landings with the carrier.   

     One of the F6F aircraft assigned to the flight, was Bu. No. 70957, piloted by Ensign John J. Zayak.   At 4:30 a.m., as Ensign Zayak was making a landing approach to the Mission Bay, he received a “wave off” signal.  He then “pulled up” and began a climb to the right in order to go around and make another attempt.  As the aircraft cleared the flight deck the engine suddenly lost all power, and the plane went down in the water and sank immediately.      

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     Neither the aircraft or Ensign Zayak could be recovered.  The cause of the engine failure could not be determined.    

 

 

 

 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated June 3, 1945

Westerly, R. I. – March 9, 1945

Westerly, Rhode Island – March 9, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On the afternoon of March 9, 1945, a navy SNJ-5, “Texan” trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 43917), took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field for a training flight over southern Rhode Island with two men aboard.  The pilot was Lt. (Jg.) William Edward Stakely.  With him was Lt. (Jg.) Howard Gilmore Boren, Jr., 23.  According to the navy accident report, “The purpose of the flight was to instruct Lt. (Jg.) Boren in recoveries on instruments from stalls, spins, and unusual positions.” 

     As the aircraft was going through a series of aerial maneuvers over the Bradford section of Westerly, Rhode Island, ground observers looked up to see the aircraft spinning violently towards the ground as a “detached portion” of the aircraft could be seen “fluttering” after it.  The aircraft dove into the ground and exploded and neither man was able to bail out.

     The “detached portion” that fell away was found to be the left wing of the aircraft which was recovered in a wooded area about three-quarters of a mile from the crash site. 

      An excerpt from the official U. S. Navy report reads: “A close examination of the left wing showed it to be completely crumpled.  It was curled up and twisted from the leading edge of the wing tip diagonally aft and inboard toward the wing root.” 

     It was believed the wing structure failed due to stresses placed upon it during the routine aerial maneuvers.  The accident was not the fault of the pilot.

     Lt. (Jg.) Boren was a combat veteran and had received the Navy Cross for his actions in battle.  To read the citation or to see a photo of Lt. (Jg.) Boren, go to www.findagrave.com, memorial #56951005.    

     As of this posting no further info is known about Lt. (Jg.) Stakely.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 9, 1945 

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

 

Squantum NAS – August 3, 1944

Squantum NAS – August 3, 1944 

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On August 3, 1944, a U. S. Navy SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 54546), made a normal landing at the Squantum Naval Air Station.  Just after touchdown, while the aircraft was still rolling at high speed, the landing gear suddenly collapsed dropping the plane onto the runway where it skidded on its belly to a stop.  The two-man crew was not injured, but the aircraft required a major overhaul.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 3, 1944. 

Otis Field – September 10, 1944

Otis Field, Falmouth, Massachusetts – September 10, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     Just after 2 p.m. on September 10, 1944, a U. S. Navy SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 54180), with two men aboard, took off from Otis Filed.  The pilot was a navy ensign.  The second man was Army Sergeant James Edwin Senter, (21 or 22). 

     The aircraft was seen to climb several hundred feet before it suddenly went into a downward spin to the left.  The pilot managed to jump clear of from an altitude of 500 feet, and his parachute opened just before he hit the ground.  Although injured, he would survive.

     Meanwhile the aircraft crashed just twenty feet away killing Sergeant Senter.

     Sergeant Senter is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  He enlisted in the army in 1940 at the age of 18.  To see a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #173920812.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 10, 1944.

Brunswick, ME. – March 10, 1943

Brunswick, Maine – March 10, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy PV-1 Ventura
U. S. Navy Photo

     On March 10, 1943, a U. S. Navy PV-3 Ventura aircraft, (Bu. No. 33949), ground-looped upon landing at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.  The aircraft required a major overhaul but the crew was not injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-6197, dated March 10, 1943.    

Quonset Point, R. I. – December 10, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – December 10, 1942

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On December 10, 1942, a U. S. Navy PV-3 Ventura aircraft, (Bu. No. 33951), was being used to demonstrate “wing-overs” and “flipper-turns” to student pilots when the tail section suddenly warped and became twisted.  The plane made an emergency landing and there were no injuries.  It was determined that the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and was scrapped.

     Source:

     U. S. navy accident report dated December 10, 1942.  

Cape Cod Bay – October 3, 1944

Cape Cod Bay  – October 3, 1944

 

OS2U Kingfisher
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 3, 1944, a U. S. Navy OS2U Kingfisher aircraft was flying 700 feet over Cape Cod Bay when a muffled thud was heard from the motor followed by an immediate loss of power.  The pilot made an emergency landing in the water and awaited rescue from a nearby Coast Guard boat.  The aircraft was towed to shore by the Coast Guard.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 3, 1944.     

 

Squantum NAS – January 15, 1944

Squantum Naval Air Station – January 15, 1944 

 

OS2U Kingfisher without float
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 15, 1944, a flight of U. S. Navy OS2U Kingfisher aircraft were returning to the Squantum Naval Air Station after an anti-submarine patrol.  The pilot of one of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 5564), was allowed to make a touch-and-go landing at an auxiliary air field located near the tip of Cape Cod so as to familiarize himself with the field. When the aircraft touched down, the left wheel hit a rut which damaged the left wheel strut of the landing gear.   The pilot was able to keep the aircraft airborne and advised his flight leader of the situation.  The flight leader then flew near #5564 and viewed the damage from his aircraft, and advised the pilot to jettison his bombs. (This was done three miles off Brant Rock.)  Afterwards the damaged aircraft continued to the Squantum NAS where preparations were made for an emergency landing.  When the pilot landed at Squantum the left landing gear collapsed and the plane ground-looped.  The aircraft required extensive repairs, but the pilot was not hurt.   

     This same aircraft had been involved in another accident a year earlier.  On January 10, 1943, the aircraft’s landing gear collapsed after a hard landing.  There were no injuries.    

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-10990, dated January 15, 1944.

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5635, dated January 10, 1943.

Salem Harbor, MA. – December 21, 1943

Salem Harbor, Massachusetts – December 21, 1943

 

OS2U Kingfisher
U. S. Navy Photo

     On December 21, 1943, a U. S. Navy OS2U-3 Kingfisher aircraft, (Bu. No. 5769), was landing in Salem Harbor when a sudden gust of wind tipped the plane causing the left wing and float to strike the water.  The aircraft came to an abrupt stop with the left side partially submerged.  The aircraft failed to right itself, so the pilot and his radioman climbed out onto the fuselage where they waited the arrival of a nearby crash boat.  After being tossed a line, the pilot secured it around the engine hub.   After this was done, the pilot and his radioman were taken aboard the boat, and the boat began to tow the aircraft towards shore.  However, the line snapped while in-route, and the current quickly carried the aircraft away and dashed it into some rocks.  Once recovered, the aircraft required a major overhaul.  There were no injuries.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 21, 1943

Squantum NAS – January 31, 1944

Squantum Naval Air Station  – January 31, 1944

 

OS2U Kingfisher without float
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 31, 1944, an OS2U-3 Kingfisher aircraft, (Bu. No. 5369), was landing at the Squantum Naval Air Station when the landing gear collapsed just after touchdown causing major damage to the aircraft.  The crew was not injured.  The caused of the accident was determined to be mechanical failure.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11356, dated January 31, 1944.   

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 17, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 17, 1943

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 17, 1943, a U. S. Navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 29860), was making a landing approach to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a six hour cross-country training flight.  About thirty other aircraft were in the vicinity at the time, all trying to land quickly because the Quonset control tower had announced that the field was about to close due to weather closing in.  The Ventura came in close behind another aircraft and struck the slipstream of the preceding plane.  The Ventura landed hard on the runway and bounced, but was traveling fast enough for the pilot to apply full throttle and remain airborne.  The Ventura circled the field for a second try, and upon touchdown the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded along the runway to a stop. There was no fire, but the aircraft received major damage.  The six man crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VB-126.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-7297, dated June 17, 1943.    

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 10, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – March 10, 1943

 

U.S. Navy PV-1 Ventura

     On the morning of March 10, 1943, a U. S. Navy PV-1 Ventura aircraft, (Bu. No. 29834), with five men aboard, was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The pilot started a normal takeoff, and as the aircraft proceeded down the runway it began a gradual drift to the left.  The plane became airborne just before reaching the left edge of the runway at which time the left wing tip was observed to drop about 15 degrees and strike a snowbank.  At the moment of impact the wing burst into flames and the aircraft settled back down to the ground.  Both propellers hit the ground tearing the engines from their mountings.  The flaming fuselage skidded along the ground coming to rest 150 yards to the left of the runway.   The aircraft was completely consumed by fire.

     One crewman, Lieutenant, (Jg.) George L. Mawhinney, died in the accident.    

     The pilot and two other crewmen received first and second degree burns.  The fifth crewman escaped with minor bruises.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VB-125.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-6199, dated March 10, 1943. 

 

 

Westerly, R. I. – September 25, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – September 25, 1943

     On September 25, 1943, a U. S. Navy Howard NH-1 aircraft, (Bu. No. 29446), was landing in a strong cross wind the Westerly Air Field when the aircraft bounced causing major damage to the landing gear.  The plane then came down and struck the runway damaging the propeller and left wing and fuselage before coming to rest.  None of the four men aboard were injured.

     This aircraft was repaired and put back into service.  It was involved in another accident at Otis Air Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, on May 5, 1944.  The aircraft ground looped upon landing; there were no injuries.   

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-8786, dated September 25, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-43906, dated May 5, 1944.

Westerly, R. I. – January 15, 1944

Westerly, Rhode Island – January 15, 1944 

     On January 15, 1944, a U. S. Navy Howard NH-1 aircraft, (Bu. No. 29481), with four men aboard, was landing at the Westerly Airport when the right wheel broke away upon touchdown, and the aircraft skidded to a stop.  There were no injures.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-10895, dated January 15, 1944

New Bedford, MA. – April 18, 1944

New Bedford, Massachusetts – April 18, 1944

     On April 18, 1944, a U. S. Navy Howard NH-1 aircraft, (Bu. No. 44905), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island, bound for New Bedford’s auxiliary air field.  Upon landing at New Bedford, the aircraft went off the runway and flipped onto its back.  The plane was badly damaged, and the three men aboard received non-life-threatening injuries.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-13365, dated April 18, 1944.  

Otis Field – May 12, 1944

Otis Field, Massachusetts – May 12, 1944

     On May 12, 1944, a U. S. Navy Howard NH-1 aircraft, (Bu. No. 44913), ground looped after landing at the Otis Army Air Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  The right wing and aileron were damaged but no injuries were reported.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-44085, dated May 12, 1944. 

Otis Field – May 5, 1944

Otis Field, Massachusetts – May 5, 1944

     On May 5, 1944, a U. S. Navy Howard NH-1 aircraft, (Bu. No. 29446), was landing in a strong crosswind at Otis Army Air Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, when the plane ground looped after touchdown.   The left wing and aileron were damaged, but the three men aboard were not injured.  

     This aircraft had been involved in a previous accident on September 25, 1943 when it crash-landed in a cross-wind at Westerly, Rhode Island.  There were no injuries.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-43906, dated May 5, 1944

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-8786, dated September 25, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 9, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 9, 1942

 

OS2U Kingfisher
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 9, 1942, a U. S. Navy OS2U Kingfisher aircraft, (Bu. No. 5314), with two men aboard, was making a landing approach to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just before touchdown, a gust of wind caught the aircraft while it was low over Narragansett Bay causing the left wing to touch the water.  The aircraft spun around and hit the water and was then driven into the beach.  The aircraft sustained heavy damage but the crew was not hurt.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #4292, dated June 9, 1942.

Bourne, MA. – October 9, 1942

Bourne, Massachusetts – October 9, 1942

Cape Cod Canal

 

OS2U Kingfisher
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 9, 1942, a U.S. Navy OS2U Kingfisher aircraft, (Bu. No. 09413), flew under the Sagamore Bridge which crosses the Cape Cod Canal in Borne, and just after doing so struck a high-voltage electric cable strung 350 feet above and across the Cape Cod Canal.  The impact sent the aircraft into a stall and caused it to hit the water near the southern shore of the canal.  The aircraft would require a major overhaul, but neither of the two-man crew was reported to be injured.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5038, dated October 9, 1942

Squantum NAS – January 10, 1943

Squantum Naval Air Station – January 10, 1943

 

OS2U Kingfisher without float
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 10, 1943, a flight of U. S. Navy OS2U Kingfisher aircraft were returning to the Squantum Naval Air station after an anti-submarine patrol flight over the Atlantic.  One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 5564), landed too close behind the flight leader’s plane, and was caught in its slipstream.  The slipstream caused 5564’s left wing to drop and hit the runway with enough force to dislodge two depth charges, but they did not explode.  5564 was still traveling fast enough for the pilot to give full throttle and remain airborne.  The aircraft circled the field and came in for another landing attempt with flaps 1/3 down.  The aircraft hit the tarmac 4/5 of the way down the runway during which point the left landing gear gave way and the aircraft skidded to a stop.  The aircraft suffered substantial damage, but the two-man crew was not hurt.     

     This aircraft was repaired and put back into service.  It was later involved in another accident on January 15, 1944 when the left landing gear collapsed while making an emergency landing at the Squantum Naval Air Station.  There were no injuries.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5635, dated January 10, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report $44-10990, dated January 15, 1944.

Block Island – November 7, 1942

Block Island – November 7, 1942

 

U.S. Navy OS2U-2 Kingfisher
U.S. Navy Photo

     On November 7, 1942, a U. S. Navy OS2U-3 Kingfisher airplane, (Bu. No. 09416), was forced to land at Block Island due to being low on fuel.  Upon landing the aircraft flipped over and suffered heavy damage.  The two-man crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5762, dated November 7, 1942.  

Block Island Sound – February 13, 1942

Block Island Sound – February 13, 1942

 

OS2U Kingfisher
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 13, 1942, two U. S. Navy OS2U Kingfisher aircraft were flying together 2,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean about four miles south of Newport, Rhode Island.  

     Each Kingfisher carried two men.  The first, (Bu. No. 5315), was occupied by Ensign Bradley Goodyear Jr., (30), of Buffalo, N.Y., and Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3/c Edward J. Hamner, (20-21), of Long Lake, N.Y.

     The second aircraft, (Bu. No. 5299), contained Ensign R. M. Nelson, and Aviation Radioman 1/c Reginald Henry Davis, (27), of Hardin County, Texas.  

     For some unknown reason, Ensign Goodyear’s aircraft was seen to enter a sharp left turn at a nose down angle.  It continued into the turn for about 270 degrees before it crashed in the water. 

     Ensign Nelson landed his plane in the water where the accident had occurred, and two bodies were seen on the surface.  AMM3/c Hamner left the aircraft in an attempt to retrieve them, and subsequently drowned in the process.

     The cause of the accident could not be determined as the aircraft had sank and was not recovered.       

     Both aircraft were assigned to VP-82.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #3793, dated February 13, 1942.     

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 15, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 15, 1944

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On August 15, 1944, a navy SNJ-3 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 7002), left Otis Field in Falmouth, Massachusetts, bound for Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Upon landing at Quonset the plane’s landing gear collapsed causing heavy damage to the aircraft .  There were no injuries.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 15, 1944.  

Hyannis, MA. – November 19, 1944

Hyannis, Massachusetts – November 19, 1944

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On November 19, 1944, a navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 26865), was landing at Hyannis Airport in a strong cross-wind, when the aircraft ground looped just after touchdown.  The right wing and aileron were damaged, as well as the right landing gear being torn away, and the left landing gear bent.  The propeller was also bent.  There were no injuries.

     Source:  U. S. Navy accident report dated November 19, 1944. 

Beverly, MA. – February 7, 1945

Beverly, Massachusetts – February 7, 1945

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On February 7, 1945, a navy SNJ-5 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 90667), was landing at Beverly, Massachusetts, when the aircraft went off the runway and into a snowbank and nosed over.  The aircraft was damaged but there were no injuries.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated February 7, 1945

Squantum NAS – May 20, 1944

Squantum Naval Air Station – May 20, 1944

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On May 20, 1944, an SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 5660), was in the process of taking off from the Squantum Naval Air Station when the pilot suddenly aborted the takeoff and applied the brakes.  The aircraft nosed over and was damaged.  The undercarriage broke loose, and the left wing, propeller, engine cowling, were all damaged, as well as the engine due to the sudden stoppage.  The pilot and his instructor were not hurt.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-14365), dated May 20, 1944. 

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 20, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 20, 1943

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On October 20, 1943, an navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27815), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station and as it was taxiing off the runway to an airplane parking area it collided with a parked tractor causing significant damage to the aircraft requiring a major overhaul.  The pilot and instructor aboard were not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-33.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated October 20, 1943.

 

Nantucket, MA. – October 18, 1943

Nantucket, Massachusetts – October 18, 1943

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On the morning of October 18, 1943, a navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27276), was landing in a strong cross wind at the Nantucket Naval Air Station when the aircraft ground-looped just after touching down.  The pilot and his civilian passenger were not injured but the aircraft suffered significant damage.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-9145, dated October 18, 1943. 

Martha’s Vineyard – October 9, 1943

Martha’s Vineyard – October 9, 1943

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On October 9, 1943, an navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27178), crashed while landing in a strong cross wind at Martha’s Vineyard Naval Auxiliary Air Field and flipped over onto its back.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and the two-man crew suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-9008, dated October 9, 1943.

Brunswick, ME. – July 7, 1943

Brunswick, Maine – July 7, 1943

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On July 7, 1943, a U. S. Navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft , (Bu. No. 27614), was landing at the Brunswick Naval Air Station in a strong 90-degree cross-wind.  As the pilot attempted to use alternate brakes to prevent a ground loop the aircraft nosed over.  The pilot and instructor aboard suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The aircraft required a major overhaul.        

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-7567, dated July 7, 1943.

Squantum, NAS – May 13, 1943

Squantum Naval Air Station – May 13, 1943

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On May 13, 1943, a U. S. Navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 26862), ground-looped upon landing at the Squantum Naval Air Station in Salem, Mass. The left landing gear was buckled, the left wing was warped, and the aileron and landing flaps were damaged.  The pilot and instructor aboard were not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-31.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-6880, dated May 13, 1943.    

 

Narragansett Bay – April 24, 1943

Narragansett Bay – April 24, 1943

     On April 24, 1942, a U. S. Navy  SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27278), was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a one hour training flight with a pilot and instructor aboard.  While five miles from the air base, and at an altitude of 1,000 feet, the fuel tank ran dry.  The pilot switched tanks, but the engine failed to re-start.  The pilot made an emergency landing in Narragansett Bay and the plane sank almost immediately.  The pilot and instructor were able to escape and were rescued.  The aircraft was recovered and required a major overhaul. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #43-6638, dated April 24, 1943.  

Ft. Devens, MA. – March 7, 1942

Ft. Devens, Massachusetts – March 7, 1942 

     On March 7, 1942, a U. S. Navy SNJ-3 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 01829), was taxiing for takeoff at Fort Devens Air Field when the pilot hit the brakes to avoid another aircraft and nosed over.  There were no injuries but the front of the aircraft received considerable damage.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated March 7, 1942.

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 12, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 12, 1942

    On January 12, 1942, an SNJ-3 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 6911), had just landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the brakes jammed.  The aircraft skidded forty feet and then nosed over.  The aircraft was damaged, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated January 12, 1942.

Fall River, MA.- September 9, 1943

Fall River, Massachusetts – September 9, 1943

     On the morning of September 9, 1943, a U. S. Navy SNJ-4C Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27022), was on a training flight over the Fall River area with a pilot and instructor aboard.  Shortly before 10:00 a.m. the aircraft went into a practice spin from an altitude of 6,000 feet from which it recovered at 5,000 feet.  However, at that time the pilot discovered that the throttle was jammed in the closed position.  Repeated attempts to rectify the problem were unsuccessful, and the pilot selected an open field in which to make an emergency landing.  As the plane descended, the pilot continued to work on the throttle, which suddenly opened, but the engine didn’t respond with increased power.   As the aircraft lowered to 2,000 feet the cockpit suddenly began filling with smoke, and flames appeared from the engine cowling.   The decision was made to bail out, and the pilot rolled the aircraft onto its back.  After the instructor had successfully left the aircraft the plane rolled into a vertical position and the pilot was unsure of he could successfully jump clear of the plane so he remained at the controls and aimed for a small cove at the Fall River shoreline.  There he made a successful emergency landing in shallow water about 30 feet from shore.  The pilot and the instructor were not injured, but the aircraft was a total loss.   

     Source:  U. S. Navy accident report #41-8538, dated September 9, 1943.

Squantum NAS – April 6, 1944

Squantum Naval Air Station – April 6, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On April 6, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28761), made a wheels-up landing at the Squantum Naval Air Station and skidded 300 feet to a stop.  The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-31.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-12971, dated April 6, 1944. 

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 26, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 26, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On April 26, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 54260), was approaching to land at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the pilot discovered that he couldn’t lower the landing gear.  He began to circle the airfield in an attempt to fix the problem but was unable to do so.  With fuel running low, he made a wheels-up emergency landing at the base.  The aircraft suffered extensive damage, but the crew was not injured.  The accident was due to mechanical failure. 

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-33.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy report #44-13575, dated April 26, 1944.  

Atlantic Ocean – April 19, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – April 19, 1945

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of April 19, 1945, two FM-2 Wildcat aircraft were involved in a gunnery-training exercise ten miles south of Block Island, R. I.  Both aircraft had just completed a run at a simulated target in the water, when one of the pilots noticed gas fumes in the cockpit of his aircraft, (Bu. No. 47109).  He reported the trouble to the other pilot, and both aircraft began heading back to base.  At 11:40 a.m., while both aircraft were still over the water, the engine of Bu. No. 47109 suddenly cut-out and stopped.  The fuel gauge read 45 gallons.  The pilot was unable to re-start the engine and made a wheels up emergency landing in the water.  The plane remained afloat for about a minute giving the pilot time to escape.  He was rescued a short time later by a navy sea plane.  The aircraft was not recovered.

     Both aircraft were assigned to VC-15.

     Source:  U.S. Navy accident report dated April 19, 1945.     

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – May 1, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – May 1, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On May 1, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28722), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  After achieving an altitude of ten feet, the engine suddenly cut out, and the aircraft settled back onto the runway.  Just as it did so, the engine suddenly restarted, and as the aircraft began to lift for a second time, the engine once again failed.  The aircraft went off the end of the runway and flipped over onto its back.  The Aircraft was heavily damaged, but the crew was not injured.

     The aircraft belonged to VS-33.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-13737, dated May 1, 1944.  

New Bedford, MA. – February 13, 1943

     New Bedford, Massachusetts – February 13, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On the morning of February 13, 1943, two U. S. Navy SBD-4 Dauntless dive-bombers were participating an a tactical exercise over the water off New Bedford. 

      One aircraft, (Bu. No. 06870), was occupied by the pilot; Ensign Herber (Not Herbert) S. Graham, 23, and his gunner/radioman AOM2/c Louis P. Michael.  

     The other Dauntless, (Bu. No. 06867), was occupied by the pilot; Ensign Robert M. J. Veith, and his radioman/gunner AMM3/c Joseph L. Wallace.   

     Shortly before noon, both aircraft made a practice dive on a simulated target, and pulled out at 1,300 feet.  As both planes were re-forming in the air they were involved in a mid-air collision.  After the accident both aircraft went out of control and crashed into the water.  The only crewman to survive was AMM3/c Wallace who was able to bail out and use his parachute.  He was rescued from the water by a small surface craft.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5979, dated February 13, 1943.

Brunswick, ME. – April 2, 1944

Brunswick, Maine – April 2, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On April 2, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28262), was returning to the Brunswick Naval Air Station after a training flight.  The pilot was making a normal landing approach, but was unable to establish radio contact with the control tower, and unknown to the pilot was the fact that one of the landing gear wheels had failed to come down.  When the aircraft touched down it went off the runway and nosed over.  The aircraft was heavily damaged, but the two-man crew was not injured.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-44.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-12844, dated April 2, 1944.

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 25, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 25, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     At 4:10 p.m. on the afternoon of January 25, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28651), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station and collided with another SBD-5, (Bu. No. 36454), that was stopped on the runway due to a flat tire.  At the time of the accident darkness was falling, and the control tower had failed to notify incoming aircraft of the hazard.

     The two-man crew of the incoming Dauntless were not injured.  The crew of the other Dauntless suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

     Both aircraft were substantially damaged, and both were assigned to VB-4.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11175, dated January 25, 1944.

Squantum NAS – January 24, 1944

Squantum Naval Air Station – January 24, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     At 7:45 p.m. on the night of January 24, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, was returning to the Squantum Naval Air Station after a night training flight.  As the Dauntless came in to land, a British TBF Avenger also landed on the same runway, but ahead of the Dauntless.  Neither pilot was aware of the other aircraft’s presence until it was too late.  The Dauntless landed directly behind the Avenger, and quickly overtook it, crashing into the back of it.   Both aircraft were damaged. There were no reported injuries aboard the Dauntless.  It’s unknown about the crew of the Avenger.

     The accident was due to miscommunication between aircraft and control tower.

     Source:

     U. S. navy accident report #44-11151, dated January 24, 1944.    

Squantum, NAS – January 24, 1944

Squantum Naval Air Station – January 24, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On January 24, 1944, a SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28952), was returning to the Squantum Naval Air Station after a training flight.  As the aircraft approached the runway the pilot noted that the right landing gear had failed to come down.  The pilot began to circle the field and attempted to fix the problem but was unable to do so.  When his fuel ran low he was advised to make an emergency landing on one wheel, which he did.  The aircraft was damaged in the landing, but the crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11150, dated January 24,1944.    

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 11, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 11, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On January 11, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 29033), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Immediately after becoming airborne the pilot’s control stick locked.  The pilot cut the throttle and attempted to land on the remaining portion of the runway but overran the runway and struck a light and a mound of dirt.  The aircraft was damaged, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-10814, dated January 11, 1944.    

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – May 2, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – May 2, 1944

 

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

     On May 2, 1944, a TBM-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 25430), was due to take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station to participate in an aerial gunnery training flight.  The aircraft was designated to be the “target-tug”, meaning it was to tow a canvas target behind it which other aircraft would take turns firing at. 

     At 2:00 p.m. the aircraft began its take-off run with the target sleeve attached.  As soon as the aircraft became airborne the pilot raised the wheels.  At an altitude of 100 feet, the right wing stalled due to recent squadron modifications to it, causing a loss of altitude.  At the end of the runway was Narragansett Bay.  The target sleeve hadn’t yet become airborne, and began dragging in the water off the end of the runway.  Then the right wing stalled a second time and the plane went down in the bay.

     There were four men aboard the aircraft; the pilot, a gunner, and two radio-men.  (The Avenger generally carried a crew of three)  When the plane hit the water one crewman suffered a broken left arm, another a lacerated hand, and the other two were not injured.  All were rescued.

    The aircraft was a total loss, with its fuselage having broken in half.   

    The men were assigned to CASU-22 at Quonset Point.

    Source: U.S. Navy accident report #44-13795, dated May 2, 1944.

 

 

Off Block Island – April 30, 1942

Off Block Island, R. I. – April 30, 1942

 

Vought SB2U Vindicator
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of April 30, 1942, a flight of Vought SB2U Vindicator navy aircraft were participating in a coordinated group bomb-attack training flight off Sandy Point, Block Island.  At 2:30 p.m., two of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 1365), and (Bu. No. 0746), were involved in a mid air collision.  (Bu. No. 1365) had its right wing sheared off in the collision.  (Bu. No. 0746) had part of its right wing and tail section torn away.  Both aircraft had been traveling in opposite directions in different groups at the time of the accident. 

     The pilot of (Bu. No. 1365 ) was Ensign David L. Kauffman, 21.  With him was Lt. (Jg.) Howard Lapsley, 31, serving as an observer.   As the aircraft fell, one man was seen to bail out, but his parachute never opened.  The aircraft crashed into the water north of Sandy Point.    

     The pilot of (Bu. No. 0746) was Ensign Frederick W. Tracey.  With him was his radioman, ARM3/c  J. C. Brown.  Both parachuted safely as their aircraft crashed into the water north of Sandy Point.  Both men were rescued from the water.

     The aircraft were assigned to VS-41. 

     The weather at the time of the accident was fair and hazy.  

     To see a photograph Ensign Kauffman, and to read his obituary go to www.findagrave.com and see memorial #113970491.

     To learn more about Lt. (Jg.) Lapsley, go to www.findagrave.com, and see memorial #25898354.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #4091, dated April 30, 1942 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 12, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 12, 1942

 

Vought SB2U Vindicator
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 12, 1942, a Vought SB2U Vindicator, (Bu. No. 0739), was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a practice bombing training flight when it crash-landed due to heavy crosswinds.  The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4422, dated July 12,1942. 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 27, 1945

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 27, 1945

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 27, 1945, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06381), had just landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, and as the aircraft was taxiing the landing gear suddenly retracted causing the aircraft the be damaged beyond repair.  None of the crew aboard was injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 27, 1945.  

Martha’s Vineyard, – January 2, 1945

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – January 2, 1945

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 2, 1945, a TBF-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 24395), was landing at the Martha’s Vineyard Naval Air Station when the aircraft was hit with a strong crosswind while five feet from the ground.  The right wing fell and struck the runway causing the aircraft to crash-land.  The aircraft suffered significant damage, but the crew was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated January 2, 1945 

Cape Cod Bay – May 8, 1944

Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts – May 8, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of May 8, 1944, a TBM-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 25500), was participating in a bomb-depth charge training flight over Cape Cod Bay.  The aircraft was carrying some 100 lb. bombs equipped with instantaneous fuses, and some depth charges equipped with 5-second delay fuses.  At 4:10 p.m., the pilot began a bomb run during which one of the bombs caused a fire in the bomb-bay.  As flames gushed forth from the open bomb-bay doors, the rest of the ordinance was jettisoned.  The aircraft was then seen to enter a steady glide and crash into the water.  The aircraft sank taking all aboard with it. 

     The navy identified the crew as follows:

     Pilot: Lt.(Jg.) Norwood H. Dobson, (27).  To see a photo of him, go to www.findagrave.com, view memorial #53923003.

     Gunner: AOM3/c John William Dahlstrom

     Radio Operator: ARM3/c Arthur N. Levesque 

     The crew was assigned to VT-7. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-13855, dated May 8, 1944. 

Sanford, ME. – May 16, 1944

Sanford, Maine – May 16, 1944 

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On May 16, 1944, a TBM-1C, (Bu. No. 17085), made a normal landing on Runway 14 at the Sanford Maine Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  As the aircraft was rolling down the runway the left landing gear collapsed.  The aircraft skidded to a stop and the three-man crew was not hurt. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-14211, dated May 16, 1944.

 

Groton, CT. – May 9, 1944

Groton, Connecticut – May 9, 1944

 

TBM-3E Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On May 9, 1944, a TBM-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 45503), took off from Groton Field with a three-man crew aboard.  After climbing to an altitude of 500 feet the engine suddenly backfired and quit.  The pilot was unable to restart the engine, and the plane crashed in a wooded area of the Noank section of Groton.   The crew escaped with non-life-threatening injuries – the aircraft was consumed by fire. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 9, 1944.

Narragansett Bay – December 5, 1945

Narragansett Bay – December 5, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On December 5, 1943, a Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 10543), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  Shortly after take off, while at an altitude of 1,000 feet,  the engine suddenly caught fire and lost power.  The pilot was forced to make an emergency water landing in the frigid waters of Narragansett Bay in the vicinity of Conimicut Point.  The aircraft sank but the pilot and gunner were able to escape with minor injuries.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-10109, dated December 5, 1943.

Nantucket, MA. – November 20, 1943

Nantucket, Massachusetts – November 20, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On the morning of November 20, 1943, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 29034), was approaching the Nantucket Naval Auxiliary Air Field in heavy haze.  Ground fog conditions were also present.  Due to poor visibility, the plane landed half-way down the runway.  The pilot applied the brakes but was unable to prevent the aircraft from running off the runway and into a ditch. The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-9838, dated November 20, 1943.     

Charlestown, R. I. – April 27, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – April 27, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On the afternoon of April 27, 1944, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 09747), overshot the runway while landing at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  The aircraft was on a ferry mission with a Marine Corp 1st lieutenant aboard.   The aircraft first touched down at the approximate midpoint of the 1,400 foot runway.  To the right of the runway was a parked twin-engine PBM Mariner with a bomb truck parked alongside.   When the pilot of the Dauntless applied full brakes the aircraft swerved to the right, and its right wing struck the bomb truck causing the aircraft to pivot and crash into the fuselage of the Mariner. The pilot was not injured but the passenger suffered a cut lip.  No other injuries were reported concerning the truck or the Mariner.  Both aircraft were damaged beyond repair. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-15665, dated April 27, 1944.   

Brunswick, ME. – January 28, 1944

Brunswick, ME. – January 28, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On January 28, 1944, a flight of three Douglas SBD Dauntless aircraft were returning to the Brunswick Naval Air Station after a formation training flight.  As the aircraft approached the field at an altitude of 1,800 feet in a “V” formation, one of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 28727), left the formation and went into a spin from which it did not recover.  The aircraft crashed and burned killing the pilot, Ensign James A. Andrew, Jr., and the gunner, Seaman 1/c Harry Hoerr. 

     The men were assigned to VS-31.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11278, dated January 28, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 12, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 12, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On October 12, 1943, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 24149), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  As the aircraft was taxiing down the runway it collided with another SBD-5, (Bu. No. 11038), that was also taxiing from another runway.  The two aircraft collided where the runways intersected.  Both aircraft suffered substantial damage, but there were no injuries.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 12, 1943.

Charlestown, R. I. – March 3, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – March 3, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On March 3, 1943, a Douglass SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 10448), was taking off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the engine lost power and the aircraft crashed.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, but the crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 3, 1943.

Charlestown, R. I. – February 12, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – February 12, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On February 12, 1943, a pilot was making practice landings and take-offs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in a Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 06850), when he crash-landed due to cross winds.  The aircraft sustained heavy damage, but the pilot and his gunner were not injured.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5790, dated February 12, 1943   

Hartford, CT. – October 9, 1942

Hartford, Connecticut – October 9, 1942

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On October 9, 1942, a civilian test pilot and a civilian observer took off from Hartford Airport in a Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 2187).  The purpose of the flight was to test the performance of a newly installed propeller.  As the pilot was making a power-climb to 12,000 feet smoke and oil began coming from the engine.  The pilot made a rapid descent towards the airfield but lost power and crash-landed short of the runway causing extensive damage to the aircraft.  The pilot, and the observer were not injured. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated October 9, 1942  

South Kingstown, R. I. – March 13, 1943

South Kingstown, Rhode Island – March 13, 1943

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On March 13, 1943, Ensign Charles W. Bradley, 22, was piloting a Douglas SBD-4 aircraft, (Bu. No. 01526), taking part in a gunnery practice training flight over southern Rhode Island.  The weather was clear, with a cloud ceiling at 5,00 feet, and visibility six miles. 

     After completing a gunnery run at 3,000 feet, the aircraft was observed to turn over and enter a vertical dive from which it did not recover.  Both Ensign Bradley and his gunner, ARM2/c Pat D. McDonough, 22, were killed. 

     Both men were assigned to squadron VB-23.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-6221, dated March 3, 1943.   

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 3, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 3, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On June 3, 1943, Ensign Charles Howland Reinhard was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 10940), for an authorized cross country training flight.  Almost immediately after becoming airborne, and with the landing gear retracted, the aircraft was observed by ground personnel to suddenly enter a left spin and crash.  Ensign Reinhard perished in the accident. 

     Ensign Reinhard was assigned to VB-15.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-7131, dated June 3, 1943.  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 15, 1943

Charlestown, R. I. – September 15, 1943

 

Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of September 15, 1943, a pilot was making practice carrier landings at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Field in a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 11057).  On his third approach he was given a “high out” and due to darkness, made a hold-off landing.  The plane stalled and came down on the port landing gear causing it to collapse and break off causing damage to the port wing.  As the plane settled the propeller was also damaged.  The pilot was not hurt.      

     The pilot was assigned to VC-32.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated September 15, 1943, #44-8014

Stratford, CT. – March 15, 1943

Stratford, Connecticut – March 15, 1943

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On March 15, 1943, Chance-Vought civilian test pilot Boone T. Guyton, was piloting an F4U-1 Corsair, (Bu. No. 02157), over the Stratford area.  The aircraft had been brought to Chance-Vought and converted to a XF4U-3, with experimental equipment added.  Mr. Guyton was testing the performance of the aircraft when the engine suddenly failed forcing him to make an emergency landing at Bridgeport Airport, (Today known as Sikorsky Memorial Airport.)  Upon landing the aircraft struck a cement retaining wall.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, and the pilot was seriously injured.      

     Investigation determined that one of the rods in the engine had seized causing the engine failure.   

     Boone Guyton, (1913 – 1996), was a well known test pilot and navy veteran.  He wrote a book of his experiences called “Whistling Death: The Test Pilot’s Story Of The F4U Corsair, published in 1991 and 1997. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #43-6245, dated March 15, 1943

New Milford, CT. – March 1, 1944

New Milford, Connecticut – March 1, 1944

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     At about 2 p.m. on the afternoon of March 1, 1944, Chance-Vought (Aircraft) civilian test pilot, Willard B. Boothby, was flying a navy F4U-1 Corsair, (Bu. No. 49882), over western Connecticut when the aircraft developed an on-board fire.  Boothby was forced to bail out as the aircraft went down in the Still River section of the town of New Milford, where it struck a private home on Rt. 7 and exploded.  The aircraft and home were destroyed, but the home was unoccupied at the time, and there were no injuries on the ground. 

     Meanwhile, the parachute malfunctioned, and the pilot came down in a wooded area on Corman Hill and was killed instantly.  At the time of the accident, strong winds were blowing, and police speculated that the lines became tangled. 

     The aircraft had been accepted by the Navy only six days earlier on February 23rd, and was at the Chance-Vought plant for experimental purposes. 

     Mr. Boothby began his flying career while a student at Purdue University, and became a test pilot for Chance-Voight in 1941.  He’s buried in Saccarappa Cemetery in Westbrook, Maine.  He was survived by his wife and son.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 1, 1944

     Unknown Newspaper, “Willard Boothby, Test Pilot For Chance-Vought, Plane On Fire, Bales Out, And Instantly Killed”, March 2, 1944 – courtesy of the New Milford Public Library.     

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #47668157

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 11, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 11, 1944

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On January 11, 1944, an F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 11863), with a target tow sleeve attached, was in the process of taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  At the time, the aircraft had been cleared by the tower for takeoff. When the Wildcat was about two-thirds of the way down the runway, a Grumman J2E Duck suddenly landed ahead of, and in the path of the Wildcat.  To avoid a collision, the pilot of the Wildcat skidded to the left and went off the runway and plowed into a snowbank.  The pilot was not injured, but the Wildcat was in need of a major overhaul.  

     Nobody aboard the other aircraft was injured.  

 

Grumman Duck
U. S. Navy Photo

Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated January 11, 1944   

 

Charlestown, R. I. – October 2, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 2, 1944

 

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

     On the night of October 2, 1944, an F6f-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70998), was coming in to land at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field after a training flight when the pilot got vertigo and misjudged the altitude and distance to the runway.  The aircraft crashed a half-mile short of the runway and was damaged beyond all repair.  The pilot survived.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 2, 1944.  

Beverly, MA. – October 29, 1944

Beverly, Massachusetts – October 29, 1944

 

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

     On October 29, 1944, a F6F-5, Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58128), was taking off from the Beverly Navy Auxiliary Air Field for a training flight.  As the aircraft began to climb the engine began sputtering and then quit.  The plane came down and was damaged beyond all repair, and the pilot received non-life-threatening injuries.  The pilot reported that when the engine failed all instruments were reading normal.  The cause of the crash is unknown.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 29, 1944.

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 31, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 31, 1944

 

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

     On October 31, 1944, a pilot took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58302), for a familiarization flight over the area.  Thirty minutes into the flight the pilot detected the odor of gasoline fumes in the cockpit and returned to Quonset.  Just after landing safely the aircraft caught fire and was burned.  The pilot extricated himself without injury.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 31, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 17, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 17, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 17, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 01769), with three men aboard, was taking off for a training flight from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just after becoming airborne, but still over the runway, the engine suddenly lost power and the aircraft fell back onto the runway with its wheels retracted.  The aircraft suffered substantial damage as a result of the incident, but the crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VTN-91.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated October 19, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 16, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – September 16, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On September 16, 1945, a flight of three FM-1 Wildcat fighters took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for an anti-submarine practice flight.  Just after the flight became airborne, the pilot of Bu. No. 15268 noticed that the oil pressure to his aircraft was dropping.  After notifying the flight leader he began his return to Quonset.  As he was making his approach to the runway the engine suddenly stopped, and the plane went down in the water of Narragansett Bay about three hundred yards short of the runway.  The pilot was rescued, and not injured.  The aircraft sank and was stricken after it was recovered.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-55.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-8637 or 44-8687.       

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 16, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 16, 1944

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

      At 7:50 p.m. on the night of February 16, 1944, two FM-2 Wildcat aircraft were returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a night tactics training flight.

     The first aircraft, (Bu. No. 16343), landed first and taxied down the runway.  The second aircraft, (Bu. No. 16161), landed just afterwards and collided into the back of the first aircraft.  The first aircraft was damaged beyond repair, but the second aircraft was repaired and put back in service. Neither pilot was injured.

     Both aircraft were assigned to VF-4.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11748     

 

Quonset Point, R.I. – April 21, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 21, 1944

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 10:30 a.m. on the morning of April 21, 1944, an FM-2 Wildcat, (Bu. No. 16583), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station on Runway 5 for a routine training flight.  Just after becoming airborne, at an altitude of 30 feet, the engine suddenly stopped.  The aircraft fell back onto the runway but there wasn’t enough time or room to stop.  The aircraft went off the end of the runway, over a sea wall, and into Narragansett Bay.  The pilot was rescued, but the aircraft was a total loss.  Inspection revealed fouled sparkplugs to be the cause.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-13366    

South Weymouth NAS – August 13, 1943

South Weymouth Naval Air Station – August 13, 1943   

     On the morning of August 13, 1943, the navy airship K-69, (Bu. No. 30191), was being removed from its hangar at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station when a gust of wind pushed the tail section against the side of the hanger causing a rip in the fabric.  The ship began rapidly deflating as it began to then swing away from the building.  The pilot quickly shut off all switches and abandoned the airship, along with nine other crewmen aboard.  After all hands had left the ship, the ground-handling officer ordered the forward rip paned to be pulled so the rest of the envelope would deflate.  There were 57 men in the ground handling party.   

     The K-69 was repaired and put back in service.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 13, 1943

Off Martha’s Vineyard – December 22, 1943

Off Martha’s Vineyard – December 22, 1943

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of December 22, 1943, a flight of seven airplanes from the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, (CV-4), were taking part in a  gunnery practice flight over the ocean in the vicinity of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  As one aircraft served as a “target tug”, towing a canvas target behind, the other six aircraft would take turns making firing runs at the target.  All six of those planes were FM-2 Wildcats assigned to VF-4. 

     The tow plane leveled off at 6,000 feet and the Wildcats began their firing runs from 7,500 feet.  After all planes had made approximately eight runs, one Wildcat, (Bu. No. 46760), piloted by Lt. (Jg.) Lloyd Henry Launder, Jr., (22), was seen making another run when the left wing suddenly separated from the fuselage, and the aircraft went into a uncontrolled spin and crashed into the sea and disappeared.   A rescue boat and two OS2U water aircraft were dispatched to the scene, but only a small patch of discolored water from a dye marker was found. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-40488 (or possibly 44-40438)

 

 

Atlantic Ocean – February 20, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – February 20, 1944 

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 1:00 a.m. on the morning of February 20, 1944, Lt.(jg.) Howard Francis Edwards was piloting an FM-2 Wildcat, (Bu. No. 16367), over Block Island Sound off the coast of Rhode Island.  The aircraft carrier USS Ranger, (CV-4), was also operating in this area.   

     At 1:05 a.m. Lt. (jg.) Edwards attempted to land aboard the Ranger.  After making a normal approach the aircraft touched down on its wheels and bounced.  The pilot applied full throttle in an attempt to take off again and in doing so struck a radio antenna and part of the bridge structure.  The aircraft then crashed onto the deck forward of the safety barrier and went over the side and disappeared into the ocean before Lt. (jg.) Edwards could escape.  Due to the depth of the water the aircraft was not recovered.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-11844 

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 8, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 18, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of August 18, 1944, a TBF-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 47884), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft lost all power just as it became airborne and went into the waters of Narragansett Bay.  The crew escaped without injury and the aircraft was recovered 13.5 hours later.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 8, 1944. 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – December 16, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – December 16, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of December 16, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47576) was making a landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft suddenly ground-looped and was damaged beyond repair.  The crew was not injured due to wearing their safety harnesses.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-97.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated December 16, 1944. 

Off Ipswich, MA. – May 9, 1944

Off Ipswich, Massachusetts – May 9, 1944 

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of May 9, 1944, a navy TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47692), from the Squantum Naval Air Station, was taking part in a glide-bombing training flight with other aircraft off the coast of Ipswich, Massachusetts.  The weather was clear with unlimited visibility.  During the exercise, the engine suddenly back-fired, and then began to emit dense black smoke followed by flames before all power was lost.  The pilot attempted to glide towards the mainland, but the aircraft went down in the water about 500 yards from shore.  The pilot and the radio operator were able to escape the aircraft before it sank in 35 feet of water, but the gunner, AMM3c F. Howe, was unable to do so and drowned. 

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-4

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 9, 1944.

 

 

 

North Kingstown, R. I. – August 21, 1944

North Kingstown, Rhode Island – August 21, 1944

Updated March 8, 2019

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 21, 1944, two TBF-1 Avengers, (Bu. No. 23967), and (Bu. No. 06104), left Quonset Point Naval Air Station as part of a flight of several planes that were to take part in a routine training mission.   The two Avengers were flying in a two-plane formation over Narragansett Bay along the western side of Jamestown Island while they waited for other aircraft in the flight to join up with them.  Bu. No. 23967, piloted by Ensign Walter L. Miller, Jr., 21, of Texas, was in the lead position.  The other aircraft, Bu. No. 06104 was piloted by another Ensign, and was flying in the number two position. 

    While both aircraft were about two miles southwest of the Jamestown Bridge, and at an altitude of 1,500 feet, they began to make a ten degree bank to the left.  The air was turbulent, and while the bank was being executed, the right wing of the number two aircraft collided with the elevator of the lead plane.  Immediately after the collision, Ensign Miller’s aircraft went down and crashed into a vacant house in the Saunderstown section of North Kingstown and came to rest in the side yard where it exploded killing all aboard.  The vacant cottage was destroyed by the fire.

     There was an 8-year-old boy playing in the front yard of his home 100 yards away who suffered non-life-threatening burns from the flaming gasoline sprayed by the explosion.   

     A second house in which an elderly invalid woman was residing was also set ablaze.  She was rescued by two Coast Guardsmen, Meredith E. Dobry, of Bensonville, Ill. and Daniel Caruso, of Meriden, Ct., who both happened to be in the area at the time of the crash.     

     The other Avenger was able to make it safely back to Quonset Point without injury to the crew.

     Both aircraft were assigned to CASU-22 at Quonset Point.

     The dead were identified as:

     Pilot: Ensign Walter Lee Miller, Jr., 21, of Morton, Texas.  To see a photograph of Ensign Miller, go to www.findagrave.com, see memorial #38854830.   

     ARM3c Jacob C. Beam, 20, of Pottstown, Pa. He’s buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in North Coventry, Pa.  See www.findagrave memorial #130440147.

    AMM3c Donald J. Finkler. 19, of East Cleveland, Ohio.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 21, 1944 

     Providence Journal, “Three Quonset Airmen Die As Plane Falls, Fires House”, August 22, 1944, Pg. 1

     New York Times, “Plane Hits House; 3 Die”, August 22, 1944

     Newport Mercury, “Navy Men Identified In Bomber Crash”, date either Aug. 22, or 23rd, 1944

     Town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records.

 

Atlantic Ocean – September 16, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – September 16, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of September 16, 1944, a Navy TBF-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 47759), was taking part in a glide-bombing training exercise seven miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  Several other aircraft were also participating.  Each aircraft would make a run at the target from 5,000 feet at an angle of 45 degrees, and pull out of the dive at 1,200 to 1,500 feet, with a 2,000 yard interval maintained between planes.  

     The pilot of Bu. No. 47759 made four successful runs at the target.  On the fifth run, the aircraft was observed to make a 50 degree dive at the target from which it did not recover.  The aircraft plunged into the water just short of the dye marker and disappeared immediately.  No wreckage was recovered thereby leaving the cause of the accident unknown.   

     All aboard Bu. No. 47759 were killed.  

     The pilot: Ensign Townsend Doyle

     Radioman: ARM3c Theodore H. Jaffe

     Gunner: AOM3c Anthony N. Kulsa   

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-43.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 16, 1944

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 20, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 20, 1942

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     At 1:15 p.m. on July 20, 1942, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 00524), was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the engine lost all power and crashed into a pile of rocks at the end of the runway while attempting an emergency landing.  Two men were aboard the aircraft at the time, and both suffered broken bones.

     The aircraft was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-4.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4516

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 22, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 22, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 22, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06152), was taking off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the engine suddenly lost power.  The aircraft came down at the end of the runway with it wheels retracted.  It went off the end of the runway skidding through soft dirt and then over a seawall.  The aircraft required a major overhaul but the three-man crew was not hurt.  The accident was blamed on mechanical failure.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-48. 

     As a point of fact, this same TBF Avenger, (Bu. No. 06152), had been involved in a previous accident.  On January 13, 1944, while landing at Martha’s Vineyard Naval Air Station during strong wind gusts, the aircraft went off the runway and was damaged, but the crew was not injured.  At that time the aircraft was assigned to VT-7. 

     Sources: 

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-15764 dated June 22, 1944

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-10853 dated January 13, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 6, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 6, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 6, 1944, a TBF-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 24508), was landing at Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the left brakes failed causing the aircraft to ground-loop at a high speed.  Damage consisted a buckled wing and buckled rear stabilizer as well as a blown tire.  The crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-19.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #41-14953

Charlestown, R. I. – October 15, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 15, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 15, 1943, a lone pilot flying a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47438), was practicing take offs and landings at Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when he crashed due to insufficient air speed. The aircraft was a total loss but the pilot was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-5161  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 27, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 27, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 27, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 00626), with a lone pilot aboard, was returning to Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field after a familiarization training flight.  Strong crosswinds were blowing at the time, and the aircraft went off the runway and suffered major damage.  The pilot was not hurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-8820  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 18, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 18, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 18, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 01768), with a lone pilot aboard, was making practice landings and takeoffs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft crashed and burned.  The pilot suffered serious burns to his face and hands and an injury to his right knee.  The aircraft was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-43.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-8671.

Charlestown, R. I. – September 21, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 21, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 21, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24126), crashed while making practice landings and takeoffs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  The lone pilot aboard was not injured, but the aircraft required a major overhaul. 

     The cause was determined to be a failure of the fuel selector valve.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-43.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-5724

Charlestown, R. I. – September 20, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 20, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 20, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 00652), with a lone pilot aboard, was taking off in strong crosswinds  at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft went into some trees at the end of the runway and nosed up violently.  The pilot wasn’t seriously hurt, but the aircraft was destroyed.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-5720 

Charlestown, R. I. – December 9, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – December 9, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On December 9, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 23961), with a lone pilot aboard, was making practice landings and takeoffs at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  As the pilot was approaching to land, flying at 90 knots, 100 feet over the water, the engine suddenly lost all power and a successful emergency water landing was made.  The pilot was rescued, but the aircraft sank, and was not immediately salvaged due to weather conditions.  The aircraft was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-13.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report # 44-10172 

 

Martha’s Vineyard, MA. – December 22, 1943

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – December 22, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of December 22, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06209), was attempting to make an emergency landing due to engine trouble at Martha’s Vineyard Naval Air Station when the aircraft lost power and went into a wooded area near the end of Runway 24 and flipped on its back.  The pilot and one crew member received non-life-threatening injuries, but the aircraft was a total loss. 

     The cause of the accident was determined to be due to a missing bolt to the throttle control rod of the carburetor.     

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-10433

Westerly, R. I. – November 17, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – November 17, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of November 17, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47472), with a lone pilot aboard, was approaching the runway at Westerly Auxiliary Air Field at a 500 ft. altitude when the engine suddenly lost all power.  The pilot attempted to reach the end of the runway in a normal emergency approach but was unable to do so.  The aircraft burst into flames on impact, but the pilot escaped without injury.  The aircraft was a total loss.   

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-13.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44 – 9745

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 15, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 15, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 15, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47520), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight.  Just after touchdown, the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded to a stop.  The three man crew was not injured, but the aircraft suffered significant damage.   

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-10885

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 22, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 22, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 22, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 48031) , was attempting to take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station on an icy runway, and couldn’t get up enough speed to become airborne.  The pilot then aborted the attempt, and applied the brakes, but due to the icy conditions the aircraft went off the end of the runway and struck some railroad tracks causing significant damage to the aircraft.  None of the aircraft crew was injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-11077

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – August 20, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – August 20, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 20, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24296), took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a low-level practice-bombing training flight over Narragansett Bay.  The weather at the time was clear and the water was reportedly smooth and glassy.  At about 10:15 a.m., as the pilot was making a low level pass at a target, the propeller struck the surface of the water causing damage to the aircraft and the engine.  Fortunately the aircraft made it back to Quonset Point safely and there were no injuries to the crew.  The engine required a major overhaul.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-19.

     Source: U.S. Navy accident report dated August 20, 1943

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – August 13, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – August 13, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 13, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24031) , was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the engine suddenly lost all power.  At the time this occurred, the aircraft was at an altitude of 900 feet over Narragansett Bay. The pilot turned into the wind and made an emergency water landing with wheels and flaps down.  None of the crew were injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-2.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report #44-8098

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – August 3, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – August 3, 1943

Updated February 9, 2022

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 3, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24028), with a crew of three aboard, left Quonset Point Naval Air Station on a navigational training flight.  When the aircraft was about fifty miles southeast of Quonset Point, and over the Atlantic Ocean, an oil line broke causing the pilot to turn back towards the air station. When the aircraft was about two miles from the base, and at an altitude of 1,000 feet, the engine suddenly stopped running.  The pilot made an emergency water landing, but the impact with the water tore away the bomb bay doors causing the plane to rapidly fill with water and sink within 45 seconds.  The pilot and turret gunner escaped, but the radioman, ARM3/c Paul Eugene McCarthy, 22, of Meriden, Connecticut, went down with the plane and was drowned.

     The aircraft and the radioman were recovered the following day.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-2.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy crash report #44-7931       

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Meriden Youth Dies In Crash”, August 4, 1943, page 15. 

Nashawena Island, MA. – August 27, 1943

Nashawena Island, Massachusetts – August 27, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of August 27, 1943, a flight of four TBF-1 Avengers was rendezvousing over Nashawena Island off Cape Cod, as part of a torpedo tactics training flight.  As the planes were getting into formation, two of them were involved in a mid-air collision. 

     One of the aircraft involved was Bu. No. 24125.  The pilot and one of the crewmen were able to parachute safely, but the third crewman, AMM3C Roger W. Krager, (26) of Binghamton, N.Y., went down with the aircraft and was killed.

     To see a photograph of AMM3c Krager, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/71934510/roger-w-krager

     The other aircraft involved in this accident was Bu. No. 24130.  The pilot was able to parachute safely, but the two crewmen, S2c Alexander E. Sabalianskas, and ARM3c Bernard G. Manning, (20), of New York City, were killed when the aircraft crashed.  

     Nashawena Island is part of the town of Gosnold, Mass.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy crash report #44-8210

     The Waterbury Democrat, (Waterbury, CT.), “Investigate Planes’ Crash”, August 28, 1943. 

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – December 22, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – December 22, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of December 22, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 05900), with three men aboard, was making practice carrier landings on a platform off the shore of Point Judith when the plane went off the platform and into the water and sank.  The crew escaped without injury.  The accident occurred due to faulty brakes.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report #44-10432  

Narragansett Bay, R.I. – May 23, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – May 23, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of May 23, 1943, a flight of six TBF-1 Avengers took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a formation-practice bombing flight.  One of those aircraft was Bu. No. 06123, piloted by Ensign Leon T. Gerhart, (22), of Pennsylvania. 

     Ensign Gerhart’s aircraft had a crew of three aboard:

     ARM3c Donald J. Cross, (20-21) of Wisconsin.

     AMM2c Morrison C. Dobson

     AMM3c William Richard Walker

     Once airborne, the TBF’s rendezvoused with Ensign Gerhart flying in the No. 2 position.  The bombing mission was carried out, with each aircraft making their run individually at an anchored target boat.   At about 9:25 a.m., with the exercise completed,  the signal was given to re-form.  As this was taking place, Ensign Gerhart’s aircraft was involved in a collision with another TBF, (Bu. No. 47528).  During the collision, the tail section of Gerhart’s aircraft was completely broken off, and his plane fell out of control and crashed in Narragansett Bay.   All aboard were killed.

     The other aircraft (Bu. No. 47528) suffered damage to its right wing, but was able to successfully make an emergency landing at Quonset Point.  Nobody aboard that aircraft was injured.

     To see a photograph of Ensign Gerhart, go to www.findagrave.com, see memorial #86945634

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Crash Report #43-6986 

 

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – July 16, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – July 16, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     At 12:20 p.m. on the afternoon of July 16, 1943, a U.S. Navy TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47517), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for what was termed a “special exercise” by the navy.   The weather was clear with unlimited visibility with surface winds of 15 knots. 

     There were three crewmen aboard the aircraft.

     The pilot: Lieutenant Robert Yarnell Bair, 29, of Iowa.

     AOM3C Wade Alexander Harris

     ARM3C Thomas Francis McConnon  

     At about 2:30 p.m., the aircraft was observed by crew members of the USS Thrush, a WWI era minesweeper operating in Rhode Island waters.  At the time, the Thrush was about four to five miles away from the aircraft, when the aircraft was seen diving towards the water and explode on impact. 

     All three crewmen aboard the Avenger were killed, and the aircraft was not recovered.  However, it is mentioned in the navy report of the incident that “confidential gear” was recovered by divers from the USS Thrush. 

     The aircraft was assigned to the Aircraft Anti-Sub Development Project Unit.

      Source:

     U.S. Navy  crash report #44-7664      

Brunswick, ME. – August 4, 1945

Brunswick, Maine – August 4, 1945 

 

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

    On August 4, 1945, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 94055), was taxiing into position in preparation for take off at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.  Unbeknownst to the pilot, some workers were in the process of digging a trench along the side of the taxi way, however no signalman had been stationed on the tarmac to give warning.  As the airplane approached, one of the workers suddenly ran into its path waving his arms for the pilot to stop.  The pilot was forced to hit the brakes hard enough to cause the aircraft to nose over causing damage to the propeller and the engine.  There were no injuries.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 4, 1945

Charlestown, R.I. – August 2, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 2, 1945

 

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

     At 7:55 a.m. on the morning of August 2, 1945, Ensign Walter G. Davies was taking off from Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78413), when the engine suddenly lost all power.  The plane dropped back onto the end of the runway where it continued off the tarmac and over an eight-foot embankment where it nosed over onto its back.  The pilot was freed by the base crash-rescue team and wasn’t injured.  The aircraft was a total loss.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 2, 1945   

Charlestown, R. I. – August 30, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 30, 1945

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On August 30, 1945, an F6F-5, (Bu. No. 78419), was taking off on Runway 7 at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field when the engine suddenly lost power and the plane came back down on the tarmac and flipped over.  The aircraft was wrecked, but the pilot was not seriously injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 30, 1945  

Charlestown, R. I. – August 10, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 10, 1945

 

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

     There were two aviation related accidents which occurred at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field on this date.  

     At 8:15 a.m. on the morning of August 10, 1945, an F6F Hellcat aircraft was parked on the taxiway at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field, with its engine running in preparation for takeoff.  Meanwhile, the LOS truck came up along side and parked next to it, waiting for the aircraft to begin its takeoff.  As this was taking place, a second F6F Hellcat, (Bu. No. 40737), taxied up from behind and struck the LSO truck causing significant damage to the truck and the aircraft, but nobody was injured.     

     The second accident occurred at 10:31 a.m., while Lieutenant R. A. Reese was making practice carrier landings at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41190), using a tail hook and arresting cable.  As he came in for a landing the tail hook snagged the arresting cable, and the cable snapped, causing the aircraft to make a 180 degree ground loop which resulted in major damage to the plane.  Lieutenant Reese was not hurt.  

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy crash reports dated August 10, 1945 

 

Cape Cod Bay – May 18, 1944

Cape Cod Bay – May 18, 1944

 

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

     At 1:07 a.m. in the early morning hours of May 18, 1944, a flight of two U. S. Navy F6F Hellcats took off from Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island for a night-training flight.  The mission was to make practice bombing runs on a designated target anchored in Cape Cod Bay.  According to the navy report of this incident, the training-flight was termed a “Masthead Bombing Flight”. 

     The weather was clear with visibility at six-plus miles, with a cloud cover at 8,500 feet. 

     One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 42520), was piloted by Lt. (jg.) James Francis Corroon, Jr., and the other, (Bu. No. 42221), was piloted by an Ensign De Masters.  Both aircraft were assigned to VF-74.      

     On the previous day, Lt. (jg.) Corroon had flown over the target during a daylight training flight, and was therefore familiar with its location.

     At 2:50 a.m., after both aircraft had finished making their mock attack runs on the target, Ensign De Masters radioed to Lt. (jg.) Corroon that he was returning to base.  Corroon answered, “This is thirty-three, Roger, out.”  This was the last radio transmission from  Lt. (jg.) Corroon.  Despite a careful search of the entire area, no trace of the missing pilot or his aircraft was ever found.

     Investigators were unable to come to an exact conclusion as to the cause of the disappearance. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Crash Investigation Report      

Sebago Lake, ME. – May 16, 1944

Sebago Lake, Maine – May 16, 1944

 

British Corsairs – WWII
U.S. Navy Photo

     Shortly before noon on May 16, 1944, a flight of British Navy D4V Corsairs, was on a low level formation training flight over Sebago Lake.  (Some sources state there were six panes in the flight, while others state there were only four.) The purpose of the flight was to give the pilots experience flying low over water.  

     Among those taking part in the exercise was Sub-Lieutenant Vaughn Reginald Gill, piloting aircraft number JT-132, and Sub-Lieutenant Raymond Laurence Knott, age 19, piloting JT-160.  Both men were assigned to 732 Squadron based at nearby Brunswick Naval Air Station.    

     As the formation was passing over the water, one aircraft suddenly dropped and struck the lake sending up a large plume of water that was struck by the second, causing it too to crash.  Both aircraft, one containing Sub-Lieutenant Gill, and the other, Sub-Lieutenant Knott, immediately sank in over 300 feet of water and disappeared.  Despite a search conducted immediately afterward, neither the airplanes or the pilots were found. 

     The aircraft were later discovered and photographed in the 1990s.  The courts have decided that these aircraft are not to be disturbed as they are considered war graves.

     Sources:

     Portland Evening Express, “Two British Planes Crash In Sebago Lake”, May 16, 1944, page 1.

     Maine Aviation Historical Society Newsletter, Dirigo Flyer, June, 1998. 

     Pacific Wrecks website:  https://www.pacficwrecks.com/aircraft/f4u/jt160.html

     Book: “Finding The Fallen: Outstanding Aircrew Mysteries From The First World War to Desert Storm, by Andy Saunders, Grub Street Publishing, London, 2011.   

Wilbraham, MA. – December 19, 1942

Wilbraham, Massachusetts – December 19, 1942

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On December 19, 1942, Lieutenant Russel D. Lynn, 24, was piloting a P-47B, (Ser. No. 41-5960), with a squadron of other P-47s over the area of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, when his aircraft suddenly developed engine trouble.  After directing the aircraft away from populated areas, he bailed out  at 2,500 feet.   The P-47 crashed and exploded just in from Stony Hill Road, about a quarter mile from the intersection of Old Boston Road, not far from the Ludlow town line. Lieutenant Lynn landed safely on Burbank Road and made his way to the scene of the crash where he was met by members of the North Wilbraham Fire Department and the state police.     

     Lt. Lynn was assigned to the 342nd Fighter Squadron based at Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

     Source:

     Springfield Daily News, “Westover Pilot Bails Out As Ship Crashes In No. Wilbraham”, December 19, 1942

Westover Field – October 25, 1945

Westover Field – October 25, 1945

Updated February 5, 2022

 

C-54 Skymaster
U. S. Air Force Photo.

     On October 25, 1945, a four-engine C-54 aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-72321), with a crew of five men aboard, was practicing IFR rules instrument approaches to Westover Airfield when the aircraft developed a serious hydraulic fluid leak, which led to trouble with the landing flaps.  Standard remedies were instituted but they failed, and the aircraft began to become hard to handle.  The order to bail out was given, and the now unmanned aircraft crashed in a remote area of the airfield and exploded. 

     One member of the crew, Corporal George K. Holloway, 24, reportedly struck a portion of the aircraft when he bailed out and was rendered unconscious, and thereby incapable of pulling the rip cord of his parachute.  He’s buried in Odd fellows Cemetery in Ponca City, Oklahoma. 

     Two other crew members, Sergeant Charles E. Walker of Long Beach, California, was seriously injured when he made a hard landing on a concrete strip, and Sergeant Bernard J. Lance of Flushing, New York, suffered minor injuries when he landed. 

     The pilot and co-pilot were not injured.

     Sources:

     Unknown newspaper, “Flier Killed At Westover”, October 26, 1945

     www.findagrave.com   

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

 

 

Westover Field – January 14, 1943

Westover Field, Chicopee, Massachusetts – January 14, 1943

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On January 14, 1943, two P-47B fighter aircraft were over Westover Filed when they were involved in a mid-air collision.  One aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-6005), piloted by 1st Lieutenant Joseph H. Freeman, Jr., of Weatherford, Texas, crashed and burned, killing Lt. Freeman.  The other aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-6002), suffered little damage and landed safely. 

     Both aircraft were part of the 340th Fighter Squadron, 348th Fighter Group, then stationed at Westover.   

     Lt. Freeman is buried in City Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford, Texas.  To see a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com.  One will note that he was born on January 14, 1920, and died on his 23rd birthday.  

     The aircraft involved in this accident which landed safely, (41-6002), crashed and burned in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, on March 24, 1943.  The pilot did not survive.  The details of that accident are posted here: West Greenwich – March 24, 1943

     Sources:

     Unknown Newspaper, “Plane Collision Kills One Pilot At Westover”, January 15, 1943

     www.findagrave.com

 

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.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/39261345/herman-b-leeth

     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.   

     Sources:

     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

     www.findagrave.com

 

Sunderland, MA. – August 7, 1941

Sunderland, Massachusetts – August 7, 1941

 

Stearman PT-17
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of August 7, 1941, a PT-17 Stearman biplane took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a routine training flight.  There were two men aboard, the pilot: Lieutenant Everett J. O’Connor; and a mechanic, Staff Sergeant Charles G. Nowark. 

     While over the Connecticut River Valley the aircraft suddenly lost all power and the pilot was forced to find a place to make an emergency landing.  He aimed for the Connecticut River, and made a perfect water landing near a point known as Whittemore’s Rock.  After the plane glided to a stop the weight of the engine caused the nose to sink in several feet of water, leaving the tail of the aircraft pointing upwards.  Neither man was injured.     

     Lieutenant O’Connor was praised for his skill in landing the airplane under such conditions.

     Both men were part of the 7th Squadron, 34th Bombardment Group.  The PT-17 was one of five stationed at Westover at the time.  Other than water damage to the engine, the plane was salvageable.   

      This was reported to be the “…first crash of an army plane stationed at Westover Field.” 

     Source:

     Springfield Republican, “Army Plane Makes Forced Landing After Motor Fails”, August 18, 1941. (With photo of aircraft in river.)

Ludlow, MA. – July 17, 1944

Ludlow, Massachusetts – July 17, 1944

 

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 17, 1944, a flight of three B-24 Liberator heavy bombers left Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a combat formation training flight.  With the bombers was a P-47 Thunderbolt that was to participate in the exercise by making mock attack runs on the bombers as they flew in a three-ship triangle formation.

     As the formation was passing over central Massachusetts, the P-47 crashed into the lead B-24.  The P-47 immediately broke apart and caught fire, but the pilot, a major, was able to bail out safely.  At the same time, pieces of both aircraft struck a second B-24 in the formation causing serious damage to that aircraft. 

     Immediately after the impact between the P-47 and the first B-24, two crewmen of the B-24 bailed out of the aircraft.  Meanwhile, the nose turret gunner of the second B-24 was pinned in place due to the impact of debris from the first two aircraft and was forced to remain there.      

P-47N Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     Debris from the stricken aircraft rained down on the town of Ludlow, Massachusetts.  The P-47 crashed and burned on a farm on Rood Street, narrowly missing the barn.  Wing portions of one of the B-24s landed in the back yard of a home on Center Street, and a propeller landed in the yard of a home on Munsing Street.  Pieces of an engine and other small parts fell elsewhere.  There were no reported injuries to anyone on the ground.

     The major landed safely and made his way back to the air field on his own.  One crewman from the B-24 came down in a tree and was rescued by some telephone workers.  The other was found up by a state police officer. Neither was seriously injured.

     The damaged B-24s managed to limp back to Westover on three engines and land safely.  The trapped turret gunner was freed by the pilot and flight engineer immediately afterwards. 

     The third B-24 was undamaged in the accident, and was put in a holding pattern until the other two Liberators could land. 

     Source:

     Springfield Daily Republican, Fliers Are Safe In Mid-Air Crash Of Three Planes”, July 18, 1944 

Northampton, MA. – June 15, 1942

Northampton, Massachusetts – June 15, 1942

 

C-47 Aircraft – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 15, 1942, a C-47, (Ser. No. 41-18377), with three crewmen aboard from Westover Field, was flying low along the Connecticut River on a navigation training flight when it struck a power cable that was strung across the river from MT. Tom to a power substation belonging to the Turner’s Falls Power Company.   The impact snapped the power cable, which was reported to be carrying 13,000 volts of electricity, and also caused damage to the aircraft.  The pilot managed to maintain control and brought the plane in for a crash landing at an open field about two miles away.  None of the crew was injured.

     Source:

     Unknown Newspaper, “High Voltage Wire Knocks Westover Bomber Out Of Air”, June 15, 1942.     

 

Westover Field – February 21, 1942

Westover Army Air Field, Chicopee, Massachusetts 

 

U.S. Army A-29 Attack Bomber – U.S. Air Force Photo

      At about 8:30 a.m. on the morning of February 21, 1942, a Lockheed A-29 aircraft with a crew of five aboard crashed on takeoff from runway 33 at the Westover Army Air Feld in Chicopee, Mass. 

     As the aircraft was leaving the ground the pilot raised the landing gear.  A strong crosswind was blowing at the time, and when the aircraft was at an altitude of about 20 feet it suddenly dropped back to the ground in a flat attitude.  During the impact, the co-pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Gordon C. McAthur, 24, of Paris, Texas, was hurled against the control panel and fatally injured. 

     None of the other crew members were injured. 

     Lt. McArthur is buried in Evergreen cemetery in Paris, Texas.  To see a photo of him, click on the link below.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/55039852/gordon-cross-mcarthur

     Sources:

     Springfield Republican, “Dies After Crash Of Warplane At Westover”, February 22, 1942, page 1

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

 

 

Westover Field – January 29, 1942

Westover Army Air Field – January 29, 1942

     At about 3:00 p.m. on  January 29, 1942, Lieutenant Thomas Charles Bittner, 21, of Trenton, New Jersey, was attempting to take off from Westover Army Air Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, when his aircraft crashed just after becoming airborne and he was killed.  The specific type of aircraft wasn’t mentioned in the press, and was described only as a “pursuit plane”. 

     Lieutenant Bittner was an experienced pilot, and officials speculated that the cause of the accident might have been due to heavy cross winds or swirling dust fouling the engine, or both.  

     Lieutenant Bitner had a twin brother Robert, who was also serving in the Air Corps.  Both men obtained their pilot’s licenses at the age of 16. 

     It was also reported that Lt. Bittner was the first military fatality at Westover Field.  He’s buried in Our Lady Of Lourdes Cemetery in Trenton, N.J. 

      Sources:

     Springfield Union, “Westover Pilot Is Killed When fast Pursuit Plane Falls, Burns On Take-Off”, January 30, 1942     

     Springfield Union, “Lieutenant One Of “Flying Twins”, January 30, 1942 

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #102737238

Chicopee, MA. – June 11, 1943

Chicopee, MA. – June 11, 1943

 

P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of June 11, 1943, 2nd Lt. Bruce Cowan, 19, took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in a P-47-B Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 41-5956), for a routine training flight.   

     At about 10:45 a.m., his aircraft was observed high over the field by a security guard for the Chicopee Water Supply.   The guard later related how the aircraft appeared to “side-slip” and rapidly loose altitude, before it crashed in a wooded area about 200 feet off Burrett Road, about a quarter-of-a-mile from Westover Field.  Lt. Cowan was killed instantly.

     Lt. Cowan died four months shy of his 20th birthday.  He was assigned to the 321st Fighter Squadron of the 326th Fighter Group.  He’s buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama.

     Sources:

     Unknown Newspaper, “Westover Pilot Killed In Crash”, June 12, 1943

     Unknown Newspaper, “Pilot Killed As Westover Plane falls In Chicopee”, June 12, 1943  

     Springfield Union & Republican, “Pilot Crash Victim Came from Alabama”, June 13, 1943

 

 

 

Rentschler Field – May 3, 1944

Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Connecticut – May 3, 1944

Updated February 2, 2022.

 

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the night of May 3, 1944, a B-24 Liberator with a crew of eleven men aboard, took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a night cross-country navigation training flight. 

      While over New York, the number three engine lost power so the pilot turned the plane back towards Westover.  Before long another engine lost power and the plane was rapidly loosing altitude, so the pilot decided to make an emergency landing at Rentschler Field.  Then it was discovered that there was a problem with the landing gear.  The nose wheel had to be cranked down manually, but it couldn’t be locked in place.      

     The plane landed on the main wheels with the nose kept high, but when the nose wheel touched down it collapsed and the front of the aircraft hit the ground and was crushed as the nose dug in, killing the pilot, 2nd Lt. John W. Garrett, age 19, and injuring four members of the crew.  The other six escaped without injury.    

     Lt. Garrett is buried in Green Mountain Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. To see a photograph of Lt. Garrett click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/114672261/john-work-garrett

     Sources:

     Springfield Union, “Westover Pilot Is Killed In East Hartford Crash”, May 4, 1944   

     www.findagrave.com

     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1954”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006.  

Ludlow, MA. – May 4, 1944

Ludlow, Massachusetts – May 4, 1944

 

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 4, 1944, a B-24 Liberator with three crewmen aboard took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a training flight.  Shortly after take off, the aircraft experienced complete engine failure in all four engines.  According to two civilian witnesses living on Burnett Road in the neighboring town of Ludlow, all four engines were silent as the aircraft passed over their home, and someone aboard fired a red distress flair from the aircraft.   Moments later the B-24 crashed and exploded in a thickly wooded area, about 3/4 of a mile from Westover Field. The plane came down on land owned by the Chicopee Water Department in Ludlow just before the Chicopee town line.    

     All three crewmen perished in the accident. They were identified by the press as:

     Pilot: Captain Harold H. Melken, 26, of Watertown, Massachusetts.

     Co-pilot: 2nd Lieutenant William F. Davis, 21, of Baxter, West Virginia.

     Tec-Sgt. Harry Schultz, of Kansas City, Mo.

     Source: Springfield Union, “Three Westover Men Die In Ludlow Plane Crash”, May 5, 1944