Westover Field – October 25, 1945

Westover Field – October 25, 1945

Updated February 5, 2022


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

     On October 25, 1945, a four-engine C-54 aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-72321), with a crew of five men aboard, was practicing IFR rules instrument approaches to Westover Airfield when the aircraft developed a serious hydraulic fluid leak, which led to trouble with the landing flaps.  Standard remedies were instituted but they failed, and the aircraft began to become hard to handle.  The order to bail out was given, and the now unmanned aircraft crashed in a remote area of the airfield and exploded. 

     One member of the crew, Corporal George K. Holloway, 24, reportedly struck a portion of the aircraft when he bailed out and was rendered unconscious, and thereby incapable of pulling the rip cord of his parachute.  He’s buried in Odd fellows Cemetery in Ponca City, Oklahoma. 

     Two other crew members, Sergeant Charles E. Walker of Long Beach, California, was seriously injured when he made a hard landing on a concrete strip, and Sergeant Bernard J. Lance of Flushing, New York, suffered minor injuries when he landed. 

     The pilot and co-pilot were not injured.


     Unknown newspaper, “Flier Killed At Westover”, October 26, 1945


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



Westover Field – January 29, 1942

Westover Army Air Field – January 29, 1942

     At about 3:00 p.m. on  January 29, 1942, Lieutenant Thomas Charles Bittner, 21, of Trenton, New Jersey, was attempting to take off from Westover Army Air Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, when his aircraft crashed just after becoming airborne and he was killed.  The specific type of aircraft wasn’t mentioned in the press, and was described only as a “pursuit plane”. 

     Lieutenant Bittner was an experienced pilot, and officials speculated that the cause of the accident might have been due to heavy cross winds or swirling dust fouling the engine, or both.  

     Lieutenant Bitner had a twin brother Robert, who was also serving in the Air Corps.  Both men obtained their pilot’s licenses at the age of 16. 

     It was also reported that Lt. Bittner was the first military fatality at Westover Field.  He’s buried in Our Lady Of Lourdes Cemetery in Trenton, N.J. 


     Springfield Union, “Westover Pilot Is Killed When fast Pursuit Plane Falls, Burns On Take-Off”, January 30, 1942     

     Springfield Union, “Lieutenant One Of “Flying Twins”, January 30, 1942 

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #102737238

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