Hamden, CT. – December 29, 1918

Hamden, Connecticut – December 29, 1918


     On December 29, 1918, U.S. Army Sergeant C. T. Cato of Waco, Texas, was flying a Curtis aircraft from Norwich, Connecticut, to Mineola, Long Island, New York.  This was a training flight, and the Sergeant was heading back to Long Island where he was stationed.

     As he was passing over the area of Hamden, Connecticut, the airplane developed engine trouble.  Looking for a place to set down, he spotted the grounds of the New Haven Country Club which, despite the name, is actually located in the town of Hamden, just to the north of New Haven.  As he brought the plane in for a landing the aircraft lost power and crashed into a tree.  Although the plane was wrecked, Sergeant Cato was not hurt.


     Hartford Courant, “Curtis Airplane Is Wrecked In New Haven”, December 30, 1918     


Rockville, CT. – November 11, 1920

Rockville, Connecticut – November 11, 1920

Rockville is a village in the town of Vernon, Connecticut.

     On November 11, 1920, the Village of Rockville was celebrating Armistice Day.  (Today known as Veteran’s Day, marking the end of World War I.)  Part of the ceremonies were to include a flight made by and army airplane that had been brought in for the day.  The plane had been parked at the fair grounds for most of the morning to give the public ample time to view it. 

     When it came time for the flight, the propeller was spun to start the aircraft, and when the engine roared to life, the pilotless airplane suddenly pulled away and drove itself into a nearby parked automobile.   A U.S. Army Lieutenant was slightly injured when he was nicked by the spinning propeller.   The aircraft and automobile suffered significant damage.

     The cause was said to be an open throttle. 


     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Rockville Airplane Has Accident”, November 12, 1920 


Rockville, CT. – August 8, 1920

Rockville, Connecticut – August 8, 1920

     Rockville is a village within the town of Vernon, Connecticut.  

     On August 8, 1920, U.S. Army Lieutenant Mark C. Hogue was giving an exhibition flight over Rockville with Councilman Fred C. Neff aboard as a passenger.  As the plane was coming in to land it lost airspeed due to hitting a pocket of thin air and fell into a tree.  Neither was injured.

     Lieutenant Hogue was later killed on July 23, 1925, when the aircraft he was piloting crashed just after take off from Boston Airport.  He’s buried in Forest View Cemetery, in Forest Grove, Oregon.  See www.findagrave.com, memorial # 90760504.   


     Hartford Courant, “Mark Hogue Has Narrow Escape”, August 9, 1920

     New York Times, “Two Die In Boston Plane”, July 24, 1925 

New Haven, CT. – June 9, 1918

New Haven, Connecticut – June 9, 1918

     On June 9, 1918, a flight of six U.S. Army two-passenger airplanes left Mineola, Long Island, New York, on a practice flight over Long Island Sound and Connecticut.  The planes flew to New Haven, where the first five landed safely on a field near the Yale Bowl.  As the sixth aircraft was coming in to land it crashed into a tree causing moderate damage to the plane.  The occupants, both lieutenants, (one identified as R. W. Williams), were not injured.

     After a short stay, the other five planes left to return to Long Island. The two lieutenants had to return by train.  Arrangements were made to dismantle the airplane and bring it back to new York.


     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Airplane Strikes Tree In New Haven”, June 10, 1918 

Middletown, CT. – May 9, 1920

Middletown, Connecticut – May 9, 1920

     On May 8, 1920, U.S. Army Lieutenant Kenneth M. Murray had flown from Long Island, New York, to Middletown, Connecticut, where landed at Brock’s Field in an area known as Farm Hill.  The aircraft he flew was a 90 horse power Curtis bi-plane. 

     The following day he was accelerating for take off with an unidentified passenger aboard when the plane’s undercarriage ran into a muddy portion of the field and sank into the soft earth causing the lower left wing to dip and hit the ground.  The wing caught the ground and caused the plane to ground loop, crumpling the wings, and breaking the propeller.  The plane was described as a “complete wreck”, but fortunately there were no injuries.   

     The wreckage was taken back to New York where it was felt the engine might be salvaged.


     Hartford Courant, “Airplane Wrecked; Pilot Uninjured”, May 10, 1920




Newington, CT. – April 23, 1919

Newington, Connecticut – April 23, 1919

     On the afternoon of April 23, 1919, U.S. Army Lieutenant Darrell Monteith was in the process of taking off in a Curtis-H military aircraft at Newington, Connecticut, when a group of excited youngsters suddenly ran out onto the field in the direct path of the aircraft just as it was leaving the ground.  In an effort to avoid the children, Lt. Monteith made a hard left turn thus avoiding the children, but he failed to clear the top of a 30 foot tree.  The airplane crashed into the top of the tree and then went over an embankment where hit two parked automobiles.  

     Lt. Monteith and his mechanic, Sergeant Glen D. Schultz, received non-life-threatening injuries.  The aircraft was wrecked.     

     Lt. Monteith and Sgt. Schultz had been part of a flight of aircraft which had left from Mitchel Field on Long Island, New York, to take part in a Victory Loan air show scheduled to take place in Springfield, Massachusetts.   As the flight neared Newington, Lt. Monteith noticed he was low on fuel and landed.  The other pilots, after seeing that Monteith was alright, continued on to Springfield where they performed a series of stunts.       


     Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Airman Uproots Tree To Avoid Hitting Kids”, April 24, 1919

Plainville, CT. – June 23, 1919

Plainville, Connecticut – June 23, 1919

     On the morning of June 23, 1919, U.S. Army Air Service pilot, Lieutenant French Kirby, and his mechanic, identified only as Sergeant Wharf, flew from Mineola, Long Island, New York, to Plainville, and landed safely.  The purpose of the flight was to take part in a town-wide celebration during which they were to give exhibition flights.  After making approximately 18 flights between the morning and afternoon, the two men took off again to fly over the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation Plant just as the parade would be coming to an end.  As they were doing so the aircraft lost power and fell from an altitude of about 200 feet and crashed near the plant, coming to rest upside down.  Remarkably, neither man was seriously hurt, and both were able to extricate themselves from the wreck.  

     A repair/salvage crew was sent the following day to bring the plane back to Mineola.

     The cause of the accident was blamed on a poor quality gasoline used to refuel the aircraft while it was at Plainville.

     Unfortunately Lieutenant Kirby was killed in another plane crash  about four months later. 

     On October 15, 1919, Lieutenant Kirby and an observer, Lieutenant Stanley C. Miller, were flying in a trans-continental air derby in Army Observation Aircraft #44, when the plane lost power over the Rigby Ranch in castle Rock, Utah, and crashed.  Kirby was killed instantly, and Miller succumbed a few hours later. 

     Lt. Kirby is buried in Arlington National Cemetery and Lt. Miller is buried in Woodlawn cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.    To see photos of their graves and to read a newspaper account about their accident, see www.findagrave.com, memorials 57195448, and 82156891. 


     The Hartford Courant, “Plainville Gas Poor, U. S. Airplane Plunges 200 Feet”, June 26, 1919 

     The Ogden Standard Examiner, “Lieut. Kirby Meets Instant Death In Utah”, October 16, 1919



Missing Aircraft – February 10, 1943

Missing Aircraft – February 10, 1943


     On the afternoon of February 10, 1943, a U.S. Army O-47B observation plane, (ser. #39-72) with two men aboard left Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, bound for Mitchel Field on Long Island, New York, and disappeared en-route.  Searchers flying the intended route of the plane failed to locate anything.  It’s possible that the plane went down in Long Island Sound.

     The pilot was Flight Officer Talmadge J. Simpson, 23, of Atlanta, Georgia, and his observer was Corporal Louis T. Vogt Jr., 25, of Brooklyn, New York.     


      New York Times, (No headline – press release from Westover Field, Massachusetts, from the Eastern Defense Command.), February, 14, 1943  

Killingly, CT – December 20, 1954

Killingly, Connecticut – December 20, 1954


Grumman AF-2 Guardian, Bu. No. 124785 Killingly, Ct., Dec. 20. 1954  U.S. Navy Photo

Grumman AF-2 Guardian, Bu. No. 124785
Killingly, Ct., Dec. 20. 1954
U.S. Navy Photo

      On the morning of December 20, 1954, navy Lt. (Jg.) George Delafield took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island in a Grumman AF-2W Guardian, (Bu. No. 124785), for what was to be an instrument training flight.  Shortly before 10 a.m., while over the town of Killingly, Connecticut, the aircraft’s generator stopped working resulting in an onboard fire.  Lt. Delafield managed to set the plane down in an open field and climbed out as soon as it came to rest.   He was uninjured, but the plane was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-39 at Quonset Point.  

     This accident is sometimes confused with another AF-2 Guardian that crashed in the neighboring town of Putnam, Connecticut, on May 7, 1953.  In that instance four men were killed.  The details of that accident can be found elsewhere on this website.  


Grumman AF-2 Guardian, Bu. No. 124785 Killingly, Ct., Dec. 20. 1954 U.S. Navy Photo

Grumman AF-2 Guardian, Bu. No. 124785
Killingly, Ct., Dec. 20. 1954
U.S. Navy Photo

     Only 398 AF Guardian aircraft were manufactured, making this a rare airplane when speaking in a historical context.  (Only a handful of examples are known to still exist, and not all are airworthy.)

     In 1996, members of the Confederate Air Force Museum, (Today known as the Commemorative Air Force Museum) visited the site in hopes of recovering pieces of Lt. Delafield’s AF-2W to be used in a restoration project of another AF-2W in the museum’s collection.   

     The Guardian aircraft in the museum’s collection was once flown by famous naval aviator Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale in the 1950s. During the Vietnam War, Stockdale flew 116 combat missions before being shot down and captured.  He spent the next seven-and-a-half years as a POW, four of them in solitary confinement for organizing a resistance movement among the prisoners.   For his efforts he was awarded the Medal of Honor.  He was also Ross Perot’s running mate in the United States 1992 presidential campaign.  

     Today the restored Guardian is in the Commemorative Air Force Museum’s collection as static display at their Arizona facility.

     The Norwich Bulletin, “Field May Yield Rare C…” (Rest of headline missing.) September 5, 1996  

     Wikipedia – Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale

     Wikipedia – Commemorative Air Force Museum 


Long Island Sound – December 24, 1942

Long Island Sound – December 24, 1942


U.S. Navy Grumman Avenger National Archives Photo

U.S. Navy Grumman Avenger
National Archives Photo

     On December 24, 1942, a flight of four navy TBF-1 Avengers left Norfolk, Virginia, bound for Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  After a stop in New Haven, Connecticut, the planes left for New London, flying over Long Island Sound along the coast of Connecticut.  Somewhere between New Haven and New London, Lt. (jg.) William Young Bailey and his aircraft disappeared from formation and was presumed to have crashed in the Sound.  The following day pieces of aircraft wreckage were found near New Haven.    

     Lt. Bailey was alone in the aircraft. 

     It is unclear whether or not Lt. Bailey’s body was recovered.  There is a memorial to him located in Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, Ohio.  To see a picture of the memorial, and a photograph of Lt. Bailey, see www.findagrave.com, Memorial #6290244.      


     The Sunday Morning Star, (Wilmington, Del.) “Navy Flyer Missing On Connecticut Trip”, December 27, 1942.  

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