Westhampton, MA. – April 10, 1943

Westhampton, Massachusetts – April 10, 1943


P-47C Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 10, 1943, 2nd Lt. John Franklin Reed, 26, was piloting a P-47C Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 41-6095), over the Westhampton area when the engine stopped.  A 12-year-old boy who witnessed the event later told a reporter that he saw the plane, with its motor not running, gliding overhead at a low altitude.  Then he saw the pilot jump, but his parachute didn’t fully open before he hit the ground.  The plane crashed and exploded in a thickly wooded area off Route 66 in the southern portion of town.  The pilots body was found a short distance from the crash site.

     Lieutenant Reed was from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he attended Pine Bluff High School and graduated with honors.  He was a 1941 graduate of Ouachita Baptist College, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where he earned academic honors, was active in athletics, and enrolled in the Army Reserve Officers Training Program, (ROTC).  After graduation he transferred to the Army Air Corps, and after completion of his training received his pilot wings and officer’s commission at Luke Field, Arizona.

     At the time of the accident he was assigned to the 320th Fighter Squadron based at Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts. 

     He was survived by his mother and his wife whom he married in June of 1942.  Lt. Reed is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  


     Springfield Republican, (Mass.), “Westover Field Pilot Is killed At Westhampton”, April 11, 1943, page 1.  

     Arkansas Gazette, “Lt. Frank Reed Of Pine Bluff Crash Victim”, April 11, 1943, page 32


Westhampton, MA. – December 1, 1942

Westhampton, Massachusetts – December 1, 1942


P-47B Thunderbolt
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On December 1, 1942, a flight of three P-47 aircraft left Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a formation training flight.  While passing over the Westhampton area, the flight encountered thick cloud conditions and became separated.  The cloud cover extended low to the ground, and one of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-5924), piloted by 2nd Lt. Charles C. May, crashed and exploded into the side of Tob Hill behind the Congregational Church.  Lt. May was killed instantly. 

     Lt. May, of Lauder, Michigan, was 21-years-old, assigned to the 340th Fighter Squadron.  

     Another aircraft assigned to this flight, a P-47B, (Ser. No. 41-6011), crashed in the town of Cummington, Massachusetts, after the pilot was forced to bail out.  The pilot, 2nd Lt. Jack Lastor, landed safely.  Cummington, Ma. – December 1, 1942


     Springfield Republican, “Planes Crash In Westhampton, Cummington”, December 2, 1942  

     The Waterbury Evening Democrat, “Plane Crashes Blamed On Snow”, December 2, 1942


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