Cheshire, MA. – March 9, 1943

Cheshire, Massachusetts – March 9, 1943

 

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

     At 4:15 p.m. on March 9, 1943, a P-47B aircraft piloted by 2nd Lt. Sommers D. Levermore, 22, crashed on the farm of Adolph Geoffron, located on Windsor Road, in Cheshire, Massachusetts. 

     Two children on their way home from school witnessed the accident and ran to a nearby home to alert the homeowner, who then called the state police barracks in Pittsfield. 

     Several nearby residents made their way through the snow to reach the plane, which had come to rest in two pieces at a tree line at the edge of a field.  The pilot was still alive, and first aid was given, but he died a short time later before an ambulance could arrive. 

     The cause of the crash was not stated.

     Lt. Levermore was assigned to the 321st Fighter Squadron at Westover Field in Chicopee, Mass.

     Lt. Levermore was from Rockville Center, New York.  To see a photograph of him, go to www.findagrave.com, memorial #156413374.  

     Sources:

     Unknown Newspaper, “Cheshire Plane Crash Fatal To Army Pilot”, March 10, 1943.  (Article found on www.findagrave.com)

 

 

Westover Field, MA. – August 17, 1943

Westover Army Air Field, Chicopee, Massachusetts – August 17, 1943    

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

     On the evening of August 17, 1943, 2nd Lt. William E. Neudorfer was killed when the P-47B, (Ser. No. 41-6019), that he was piloting, crashed and burned as he was attempting to land at Westover Field.

     Lt. Neuforder was assigned to the 320th Fighter Squadron.

     He’s buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California.  To see a photo of his grave see www.findagrave.com, memorial #3614500. 

     Sources:

     Larry Webster – Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

     www.findagrave.com 

Concord, MA. – July 19, 1945

Concord, Massachusetts – July 19, 1945

 

P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

     At about 9:30 a.m. on July 19, 1945, a U.S. Army P-38L, (Ser. No. 44-53016), crashed and exploded in a wooded area of the Concord Country Club.  No further information is known at this time.

     Source:

    Concord Journal, “Another Plane Crashes In Woods – This Time At Concord Country Club”, July 19, 1945, page 1

 

Northborough, MA. – April 15, 1943

Northborough, Massachusetts – April 15, 1943

 

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

     On the morning of April 15, 1943, 2nd Lt. James F. Lyons took off from Bedford Air Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, in a U.S. Army  P-47C aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-6459).  Lt. Lyons was assigned to the 342nd Fighter Squadron. 

     Shortly after 9:00 a.m., he was killed when his airplane crashed and exploded on the Tibbet’s Farm located on West Main Street in Northborough.  The crash was witnessed by a man and wife living across the street from the Tibbet’s Farm.  Their attention had been drawn skyward by the sound of a motor “screaming” overhead.  “It came out of the sky at a terrific speed,” the man later told a reporter, adding, “The thud and the explosion were awful.  It was all over in a few seconds.”  The couple ran to the site of the crash, but were driven back by exploding bullets.  

     The aircraft reportedly left a crater twenty feet across and ten feet deep, with stones and debris thrown up to 300 feet away. 

     Lt. Lyons was reported to be from Newport, Rhode Island.

     The cause of the accident was unknown. 

     Sources:

     The following two articles are from an unknown newspaper.  They were obtained from a scrapbook in the local history collection at the Shrewsbury Public Library, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.  Shrewsbury borders Northborough.    

     “Pilot Believed Killed In Fire Or Explosion”, April 16, 1943. 

     “Northboro Plane Victim Identified As Newport Flier”, April, 16, 1943 

 

 

Glastonbury, CT. – May 28, 1944

Glastonbury, Connecticut – May 28, 1944

 

P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter Aircraft
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of May 28, 1944, a flight of four U.S. Army P-47s were flying in formation over Glastonbury when two of the aircraft collided with each other.  One aircraft, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-8285). was piloted by 2nd Lt. Richard H. Ullman, Age 19, of Atlanta, Georgia; the other, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-22269), by another 2nd lieutenant.  The flight had originated at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, Ct.

     Lt. Ullman was killed when his aircraft crashed and exploded in a wooded area.  The other pilot managed to successfully bail out of his stricken airplane and landed safely.  Meanwhile his airplane crashed and burned in a neighborhood known as Welles Village near the Glastonbury-East Hartford town line.  A wing of the aircraft struck the roof of one home, but there were no reported injuries. 

     Lt. Ullman is buried in Crest Lawn Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.  To see a photograph of his grave go to www.findagrave.com, memorial #126643026.     

     Source:

     The Hartford Courant, “Crashes Kill Two Airmen, Third Hurt”, May 29, 1944.  (The article also refers to two other army plane crashes.)         

Holyoke, MA. – May 22, 1943

Holyoke, Massachusetts – May 22, 1943

 

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

     On Saturday evening, May 22, 1943, two Army P-47 fighter planes collided in mid-air over the city of Holyoke.  One aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-6072), was piloted by 2nd Lt. Charnelle P. Larsen, 22, of Lakeland, Florida.  The other P-47, (Ser. No. 41-6050), was piloted by another 2nd lieutenant.  Both men were assigned to the 321st Fighter Squadron based at Westover Filed in Chicopee, Massachusetts.   

     The accident occurred at 6:20 pm, and numerous people saw the collision and watched the planes come down.  As both aircraft began to fall, the pilot of P-47 #41-6050 bailed out, and his parachute opened successfully.  His airplane crashed into a large tree before striking the side of a two-story brick house at the corner of Hampden and Linden Streets where it exploded into flame.  The pilot meanwhile landed safely in a nearby tall tree on Linden Street, but had to wait to be rescued.    

     A mother and her two older sons were in the house at the time, but were not seriously injured.  A mailman was wounded when the flames began setting off the machinegun bullets in the wrecked airplane.  One bullet struck him in the right hand, but the injury was not life threatening.       

     As to Lieutenant Larsen, one wing of his aircraft was severely damaged from the collision, but he fought to maintain control because he was over a heavily populated neighborhood.  Witnesses reported seeing him try to steer his plane away from the area, but it continued to fall despite his best efforts.  He was killed instantly when his plane crashed and exploded in an alleyway between the homes facing Pine and Beach Streets, to the south of Appleton Street.  While some buildings suffered damage, there were no reported injuries. 

     Lt. Larsen was praised by the Mayor for his heroic decision to remain with his aircraft in order to protect civilians on the ground.   

     Source:

     Holyoke Daily Transcript, “Lt. Larsen Dies Avoiding Local Homes In Saturday’s Double Crash”, May 34, 1943, page 1.   

Andover, MA. – March 7, 1943

Andover, Massachusetts – March 7, 1943 

 

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

     On the afternoon of March 7, 1943, two P-47 fighter planes from the 342nd Fighter Squadron based at Bedford Field, were conducting aerial maneuvers several thousand feet over the town of Andover.  The activity was closely monitored by members of the local civil defense who were manning a plane spotting tower. 

      One of the P-47s, (Ser. No. 41-6444), was piloted by 2nd Lt. John R. Prindle, 23, of Erie, Pennsylvania.  The other, (Ser. No. 41-6003), was piloted by another second lieutenant.  At 2:25 p.m., the two aircraft collided in mid-air, with Lt. Prindle’s plane loosing a significant portion of its wing.  As Prindle’s plane fell away, he bailed out and deployed his parachute, and northerly wind’s pulled him towards a large forested area. 

     Meanwhile his plane crashed and exploded on the estate of John B. Towle on Porter Road, barely missing the main house.  The resulting fire set off the live ammunition in the machine guns sending bullets flying in all directions and hindering firemen from extinguishing the blaze.  The house was unoccupied at the time and there were no injuries to those on the ground. 

     The other aircraft involved in the collision was able to safely make it back to Bedford Field. 

     The plane spotters immediately reported the crash, and the result was perhaps the largest search and rescue effort ever mobilized by the town.  Hundreds of military men, local and state officials, civil defense units, and volunteer civilians from Andover and nearby towns took part in the search to locate the missing pilot. The Red Cross supplied thousands of gallons of coffee and hundreds of pounds of food.   The search lasted throughout the night, with temperatures dropping to near zero.  One 15-year-old boy was reported to have frostbite. 

     Lt. Prindle was finally located the following morning, alive and in good spirits, in a wooded area near the Boxford town line.  His injuries received from the collision and bail out prevented him from walking out of the woods on his own.  He’d been able to keep warm due to the fact he’d been wearing his leather and fleece flying suit.   

     Sources:

     The Evening Tribune, (Lawrence, Ma.), “Pilot Found In Wooded Area”, March 8, 1943, page 1.       

     The Andover Townsman, “Army Flier Improves After Crash Sunday”, March 11, 1943, page 1.

 

Mendon, MA – August 2, 1931

Mendon, Massachusetts – August 2, 1931 

     On August 2, 1931, two men took off from an open field near the Pine Hill Cemetery in Mendon, Mass.  The aircraft was an older model American Eagle airplane.  The plane had barely left the ground when it struck a pole, and then a large pine tree, before it crashed onto Providence Street.  Both men escaped with minor injuries, although the aircraft had sustained serious damage.

     The pilot had landed in the field a short time earlier to make a quick repair.  

     Source:

     The Woonsocket Call, (R.I.), “2 Men Injured Slightly When Plane Crashes”, August 3, 1931, page 1.  

 

Quonset Point NAS – October 23, 1942

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – October 23, 1942

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 23, 1942, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 33946), with four men aboard, crashed on takeoff from Rhode Island’s Quonset Point NAS.  The takeoff run had been normal until the plane became airborne.  Once leaving the ground it began to swerve to the left, and then settled back onto the runway where it went into skid.  The plane left the end of the runway and crossed a portion of open ground before crossing two railroad tracks, after which it came to a stop with the landing gear torn off.  The plane was so badly damaged that it was recommended that it be scrapped.  Fortunately none of the men aboard were injured.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Crash Investigation Report #43-5128   

Quonset Point NAS – June 17, 1943

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – June 17, 1943

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 17, 1943, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 29860), with six men aboard, was making an approach to Rhode Island’s Quonset Point Naval Air Station after six hours of flying cross country.  Thirty other aircraft were all in the vicinity attempting to land after being advised by the tower that the airport would be closed shortly due to the bad weather that was closing in.  As the plane was about to touch down it hit an air pocket and slammed onto the tarmac, the wheels causing it to bounce back into the air. It fell again, and this time the landing gear collapsed, sending the aircraft skidding on its belly down the runway.  Fortunately there was no fire and no serious injuries to those aboard.

     Source:

     U. S. navy Crash Investigation Report #43-7297

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