Fort Mountain, ME. – June 20, 1944

Fort Mountain, Maine – June 20, 1944

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

     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.


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

     Waterbury Democrat, (CT.), “Lost Plane Is Located”, June 24, 1944

     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. 


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