Groton, CT. – July 20, 1928

Groton, Connecticut – July 20, 1928

     On July 20, 1928, Connecticut’s Governor, John H. Trumbull, was piloting a National Guard O-17 bi-plane over Southern Connecticut.  As he was landing the plane at the Groton Airfield it was involved in a collision with another plane.  The collision occurred on the ground, and the Governor’s plane flipped over onto its back, slightly injuring the Governor, and seriously injuring his passenger, Lieutenant Colonel James W. Gilson, assistant adjutant general of the Connecticut National Guard.  A third man, Private Stephen J. Sabotka was injured while rescuing the the Governor and colonel. 

     Lt. Col. Gilson was released from the hospital on August 1st. 


     The New Britain Herald, “To Make Formal Complaint”, July 21, 1928, page 11.   

     The New Britain Herald, “Col. Gilson Is Better”, July 23, 1928 

     The New Britain Herald, “Col. Gilson Released From The Hospital”, August 1, 1928 

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:


     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.



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:


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

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