Bristol, VT. – October 24, 1945

Bristol, Vermont – October 24, 1945


SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 12:30 p.m., on October 24, 1945, a U. S. Navy Helldiver aircraft with two men aboard, took off from Burlington, Vermont, bound for the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  The pilot was Lieutenant (Jg.) Walter G. Smith, 22, of Kansas City, Missouri, and his passenger was Lieutenant Commander Maurice M. Stone, 28, of Savannah, Georgia.     

     The men were in Vermont with a squadron of Quonset Point airplanes to take part in Navy Week exercises, but Lt. Cmdr. Stone had developed an infection in his left arm and Lt. Smith had volunteered to fly him back to Quonset Point for medical treatment. 

     When the plane failed to arrive at Quonset Point it was declared missing and a large scale search was undertaken.  The search was hampered by bad weather.   

     Two days later the wreckage of the missing plane was spotted from the air near the summit of South Mountain in the town of Bristol, about 82 miles southeast of Burlington.   When ground crews reached the scene, they reported that the plane had broken apart on impact and debris was scattered for quite a distance. The bodies of both men were found amidst the wreckage.   

     Lt. Cmdr. Stone had taken part in the first aircraft carrier aerial strike on Tokyo, Japan, while aboard the U.S.S. Bunker Hill.  For his actions he’d earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with three clusters.  He was a native of Maine, and left behind a wife and three children.  He was the executive officer of VB-81 Squadron. 


     The Burlington Free Press, “2 Navy Fliers, Plane Leaving Burlington, Lost”, October 25, 1945, page 1.  

     The Waterbury Democrat, (Ct.), “Navy Flyers Unreported”, October 25, 1945, page 2. 

     Plattsburgh Press – Republican, (N.Y.), “Seek Two Navy Fliers And Lost Plane In Vermont”, October 26, 1945, page 3. 

     The Burlington Free Press, “To Depart Today For Quonset Point”, October 26, 1945, page 11. 

     The Burlington Free Press, “Private Planes Were Prepared To Search For Missing Fliers”, October 26, 1945, page 11. 

     The Burlington Free Press, “Bodies Of Two Navy Fliers Removed From Mountain, Flown To R. I.”, October 29, 1945, page 9.

Burlington, VT. – November 26, 1943

Burlington, Vermont – November 26, 1943


U.S. Army A-29 Attack Bomber – U.S. Air Force Photo

     This accident involved a military airplane manned by a civilian crew.  The reason for a civilian crew is unclear. 

     On November 26, 1943, a twin-engine Lockheed RA-29 Army Air Force aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-23335), with three men aboard, took off from Boston for what was to be a test flight of the aircraft’s service ceiling.  The aircraft climbed to 24,000 feet and maintained that altitude until the pilot reported that the port engine had lost all power and requested an emergency landing at Burlington Airport in Burlington, Vermont.  The plane crashed and burned one mile from the runway at Burlington, and all aboard perished.    

     The crew were:

     Pilot: Harry Babcock Brown, (31).  He’s buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

     Co-pilot: Harry T. Nordbeck.  (Info unknown.)

    Engineer: James Vaught Dotson, (29).  He’s buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Tenn. 


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

     The Boston Globe, “Army Air Force Plane Crash”, November 26, 1943, pg. 19 

South Mountain, Vermont – October 24, 1945

South Mountain, Vermont – October 24, 1945


SB2C Helldiver U.S. Navy Photo

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 24, 1945, a U.S. Navy Helldiver left Burlington, Vt., headed for Quonset Naval Air Station in Rhode Island, when it crashed into South Mountain at the 2,300 foot level, cutting a wide path and scattering wreckage over a large area.  Both men aboard were killed.  

     150  searchers found the wreck site after two days.     

     The pilot was Ensign Walter G. Smith, Jr., 22, of Kansas City, Mo.   

     The passenger was 28-year-old Lt. Cmdr. Maurice M. Stone of Raleigh, North Carolina.  Stone was the executive officer of a squadron based at Quonset Point, and had arrived in Burlington with his squadron for Navy Day exercises.   At some point his hand became infected, and he was being flown to R.I. for treatment when the accident occurred.  

     Stone was a veteran of the first aircraft carrier based attack on Tokyo, Japan.  He was survived by his wife Maureen (Smith) Stone. He’s buried in Savannah, Georgia.


Providence Journal, “Bodies of Two Quonset Aviators, Wrecked Plane Found In Vermont”,  October 27, 1945, Pg. 1    

North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #45-100 & 45-101

Camel’s Hump Mt. – October 16, 1944

Camel’s Hump Mountain, Vermont- October 16, 1944

B-24 Liberator  U.S. Air Force Photo

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On October 16, 1944, a U. S. Army B-24J Liberator (#42-51067) crashed into Camel’s Hump Mountain killing all but one crewman aboard.  The sole survivor was Aerial Gunner James W. Wilson who was found by members of the Civil Air Patrol a short distance from the wreck.  Investigators found the wreckage near the top of the 4,083 mountain, covering more than an acre of land.   

     Other members of the crew included:

     Pilot: 1st Lt. David E. Potter, age 30.  To see a photo of Lt. Potter, click here:

     Co-pilot: Flight Officer John J. Ramasocky, age 23. 

     F.O. Ramasocky’s brother was killed in a military plane crash on August 12, 1947. Click here for info. 

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. Robert W. Geoffrey, age 22.To see a photo of Lt. Geoffrey, click here:

     Bombardier: 1st Lt. David C. McNary, age 25.  To see a photo of Lt. McNary click here:  

     Engineer: Corporal Luther N. Hagler, age 21. To see a photo of Cpl. Hagler, click here:

     Radio Operator: Corporal James Perry, age 19.  To see a photo of Cpl. Perry’s grave, click here:

     Ball Turret Gunner: Corporal Robert E. Denton, age 22 or 23.  To see a photo of his grave click here: 

     Tail Gunner: PFC Richard C. Wynne, age 18.  To see a photo of PFC Wynne’s grave, click here:

     Nose Gunner: PFC Casper Zacher, age 19.  To see a photo of PFC Zacher’s grave, click here:

     A memorial plaque and a wing section of the aircraft can be found at the crash site.


     Woonsocket Call, “Single Member Of Crashed Bomber’s Crew Found Alive Near Vermont Mountain Debris”, October 18, 1944, pg. 1

     Aircraft Info supplied by Lawrence Webster – Aviation Historian

     New York Times, “Bomber Wreck Found On Vermont Mountain”, October 18, 1944

     Unknown Newspaper, “Wreckage Of Missing Westover Plane Found”, October 18, 1944


Lake Memphremagog, VT – June 28, 1942

Lake Memphremagog, Vermont – June 28, 1942

     Very little information seems to exist relating to this accident.  The information was released in a small Associated Press article that also included two other military plane crashes; one in Boston, and the other in Rhode Island. 

     On June 28, 1942, an aircraft piloted by C. N. Pate, of the Royal Canadian Air Force, crashed and sank in Lake Memphremagog, off shore from Newport, Vermont.  The pilot did not survive. 

     The type of aircraft, the pilot’s full name, and rank, were not specified.  Only that he had flown out of Hubert Field in Quebec.

     Lake Memphremagog covers about 40 square miles, and straddles the Canadian and United States border, most of it being in Canada.  


     Nashua Telegraph, “Three Army Plane Crashes Add To Weekend Death Toll”, June 29, 1942

Update February 24, 2017

     The following information was supplied to New England Aviation History by Mr. David Archer.  Thank you Mr. Archer.

     The full name of the pilot was Roy Nelson Pate, age 22, of Toronto, Canada.  He was born June 12, 1920, and was only 16 days shy of his 23rd birthday.  He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on August 22, 1941, and is buried in Toronto (Resthaven) Memorial Garden; Ontario Canada. 

Source: Canadian Virtual War Memorial

     Mr. Archer also included the following (AP) newspaper article:

     R.C.A.F. Flier Killed In Vermont Crash

     Newport, Vt., June 28 (AP) – An airplane plunged into Lake Memphremagog within sight of this town today, and the body of a Royal Canadian Air Force flier was recovered later by a diver.  The plane went into the lake about four miles from here and a half-mile from shore, close to the Canadian border.  Oliver Packer, a Newport fire department diver, operating from a special diving raft towed by a United States customs boat, said he found the flier’s body jammed in the cockpit of the plane, which was submerged in thirty feet of water.  There was no indication that more than one man was in the plane.  


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