Atlantic Ocean – June 19, 1975

Atlantic Ocean – June 19, 1975


     On June 19, 1975, a navy helicopter with four men aboard took off from the destroyer-escort USS Aylwin, (DD-1081), while six miles off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island.   Moments after becoming airborne, the helicopter was observed to suddenly drop into the water and sink.   Two of the men aboard, Lt. (Jg.) Timothy Stone, 27, and Lt. (Jg.) Philip Hennaford, 33, were rescued a short time later, but two men remained missing.

     The missing men were identified as Lt. Cmdr. Harold W. Guinn, Jr., 35, of Virginia Beach, Va., and Petty Officer 2/c Lawrence J. Kamas, 38, of Moyock, New York.   

     The helicopter, identified only as a “light airborne multi-purpose craft” went down in 100 feet of water about two miles east of the Brenton Reef Light Tower.   The helicopter, and the bodies of the two missing men, were recovered.

     To see a photograph of Lt. Cmdr. Guinn, go to, Memorial #178020310.

     Investigators determined that the cause of the accident was due to one of the helicopter’s rotors striking an antenna aboard the ship during take off.


     Unknown newspaper, “2 Navy Men Saved, 2 Missing, In Crash”, June 20, 1975

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Body Of Helicopter Crash Victim Is Recovered Off Newport”, June 21, 1974, page 5.

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Second Body Is Found By Divers”, June 22, 1975, page 1 

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Crash Victim’s Body Found Off Newport”, June 22, 1975, page C-9 

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Search For 2 Crewmen Missing IN Crash Of Helicopter Continues”, June 30, 1975, page 2

     Unknown Newspaper, “Resume Search For Missing Navy Men”, unknown date.

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.) “Determine Cause Of Copter Crash”, July 1, 1975, page 2

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Copter Hit Antenna, Navy Says”, July 1, 1975

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Copter Victims Drowned”, July 2, 1975, page A-27  Note: Petty Officer 2/c Kamas was identified in the press as having the middle initial “W”, however, on his grave the middle initial is “J”. 


Off North Kingstown, R.I. – June 28, 1942

Off North Kingstown, Rhode Island – June 28, 1942


P-40 Warhawk  U.S. Air Force Photo

P-40 Warhawk
U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 10:30 a.m. on June 28, 1942, army aviator (rank unknown) Robert M. Flanders, 24, was killed when the airplane he was piloting crashed at the water at the east end of Hope Island, which is located in Narragansett Bay, just off shore from the former Quonset Naval Air Station in North Kingstown.   The type of aircraft and details of the accident are unknown.

     Source: North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #42-23  

    Update September 15, 2015:  Robert Flanders was a 2nd Lieutenant, and was from Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The aircraft he was piloting was a P-40E (#40-440)


     New York Times, “4 Army Fliers Die In Ohio”, June 29, 1942.  (The article covered more than one plane crash.)

     Larry Webster, Aviation Historian and Archaeologist.

     Update March 2, 2016:   This accident occurred while Lt. Flanders, and 2nd Lt. David H. Brown were engaged in a mock aerial dogfight at 15,000 feet in their P-40 airplanes.  At one point, Lt. Flanders’ P-40 began to dive at high speed, reaching the speed of 400 mph.  At 8,000 feet he began to pull out of the dive at which point his plane exploded in mid-air. 

     A statement filed by Lt. Brown to Army investigators reads as follows:

     “Lt. Flanders and I were on a combat mission when his plane exploded and he met his death.

     We were on oxygen and fighting at 15,000 feet at this time.  Lt. Flanders rolled over on his back and started down in a split-S.  I immediately rolled over and followed him down.  As he started to pull out at about 8,000 feet, and traveling at approximately 400 mph, there was a terrific explosion and his plane went to pieces.”    

      The accident was also witnessed by at least three observers on Hope Island, all of whom basically stated that after the explosion the plane fell nose first into the water.

     It was the opinion of the accident investigation committee that the explosion originated in the reserve fuel tank, possibly caused by a portion of engine cowling being ripped loose from the force of the dive and cutting into the tank.  

     Both pilots were attached to the 66th Fighter Squadron then based at Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island. 

     Lt. Flanders had obtained his pilots rating on May 29, 1942.

     Lt. Flanders was born June 23, 1917, and died just five days after his 24th birthday. He’s buried in Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence, Massachusetts.


     United States Army Crash Investigation Report#42-6-28-8

     Updated March 9, 2016

     On June 12, 1942, sixteen days before his fatal accident, Lt. Flanders had a close call while flying another P-40 aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-36514).  On that date, he was returning to Hillsgrove Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island, after a routine training flight.  Just as he was landing, a strong gust of wind lifted the left wing, causing the right wing to touch the ground and send the plane into a 270 degree “ground loop”.  The aircraft suffered some damage, but Lt. Flanders was unhurt.

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-6-12-32, dated June 26, 1942.



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