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. – December 5, 1945

North Stonington, Connecticut – December 5, 1945


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     Shortly after 9:30 a.m. on the morning of December 5, 1945, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94867), left the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island for a familiarization training flight.

     About fifteen to twenty minutes later, while at 2,000 feet over the area of North Stonington, the engine suddenly lost all power.   The pilot tried to restart the engine but was unsuccessful, and his only option was to make an emergency landing.  Seeing an open field, he aimed for it and made a wheels-up landing in an area of North Stonington known as Pendleton Hill.  Unfortunately the field was littered with rocks and boulders of various sizes, and upon landing, the aircraft struck some of them causing serious damage to the fuselage and for the aircraft to catch fire. The pilot was able to extricate himself as the plane began to burn, and made his way to a nearby house where he asked to use the telephone. 


     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 5, 1945

     Westerly Sun, “Pilot Escapes Pendleton Hill Plane Crash”, December 6, 1945,  courtesy Westerly Public Library


North Stonington, CT. – May 20, 1983

North Stonington, Connecticut – May 20, 1983

     On May 20, 1983, a Cessna 172 with three persons aboard left Nantucket, Massachusetts, bound for Groton, Connecticut.  While passing over the town of North Stonington the aircraft lost power and crashed into a large maple tree next to a house located at the corner of Main’s Crossing Road and Route 2.  The severely damaged aircraft was left hanging forty feet in the air lodged in a fork in the trunk in the upper portion of the tree.  There was no fire after the accident, and all three persons remained trapped in the aircraft until freed by local firemen utilizing a bucket truck.   There were transported to a medical facility for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.


     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Groton-Bound Craft Lodges In tree Fork; 3 Extricated”, May 21, 1983, page 1, with photo.   

     The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Pilot: ‘I Wasn’t Thinking Whether I Was Going To Die'”, May 22, 1983, page 1, with 2 photos

     The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Air Crash Study Nearly Complete”, August 22, 1983, page 3.  

     The Sun, (Westerly, R.I.), “Two Years After crash, The cause remans Unclear”, May 26, 1985, page 3.


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 ▲