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.      


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

    The Day, (Conn.) “Army Flyer Killed In Plane Crash At North Stonington; Third Recent Air Fatality”, May 14, 1943     

    Hartford Courant, “Windsor Locks Crash Victim Is identified”, May 15, 1943. 

North Stonington, Ct. – June 28, 1944

North Stonington, Ct., (Pawcatuck) June 28, 1944

     Shortly before 6 p.m. on June 28, 1944, a single-seat navy plane from Quonset Naval Air Station was flying over the Westerly – Stonington area at 18,000 feet when the tail developed a “flutter”.  The pilot dropped down to 10,000 feet and the “flutter” got worse.  Since the pilot was near Westerly Air Field, he radioed a distress call, and said he would attempt to land there.  As he attempted to reach the field the “flutter” got even worse, forcing the pilot to bail out.

     The plane began falling from the sky, but as it neared the ground it leveled off of its own accord, and swept across North Stonington Road tearing away power lines and smashing into the home of Earl and Grace Norman.  Both received burns from exploding aviation fuel.     

     Meanwhile the pilot landed safely in a field about three miles away.

Source: Providence Journal, “Plane Hits House; Man, Wife Burned”, June 29, 1944, page 1


Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲