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 

 

 

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.

 

Martha’s Vineyard, MA. – May 8, 1945

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – May 8, 1945

 

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     At 2:00 a.m. on the morning of May 8, 1945, an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70543), was approaching the runway of the Martha’s Vineyard Naval Air Station when one of the wings clipped an unlighted obstruction which caused the aircraft to crash.  The plane suffered considerable damage, but the pilot was not seriously injured.    

     Source: U. S. Navy crash report 4-45

 

Martha’s Vineyard, MA. – April 8, 1945

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – April 8, 1945

 

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On the night of April 8, 1945, an Ensign piloting an F6F Hellcat, (Bu. No. 71551), was approaching the runway at Martha’s Vineyard Air Field, but forgot to lower the landing gear.  The aircraft landed with the wheels up and began to skid along the tarmac during which time the belly fuel tank ruptured and burst into flame.  Fortunately the pilot was able to escape the burning plane unharmed.  The aircraft was destroyed by the fire.

     Source: U.S. Navy crash report

 

Nantucket, MA. – March 4, 1945

Nantucket, Massachusetts – March 4, 1945

 

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On March 4, 1945, an Ensign piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 77477),  taxied into position for takeoff at the Nantucket Naval Air Station.  After being granted clearance, he proceeded down the runway. When the aircraft had reached an altitude of about 20 feet, the engine suddenly cut out and lost all power.  The plane touched down approximately 100 feet beyond the end of the runway while still traveling at a considerable speed, where it struck a small mound and again left the ground.  It then stalled, and fell again, landing on the left wing and flipping over. 

     The pilot suffered a fractured vertebra, and the plane was wrecked, but did not burn.  The aircraft had been assigned to VF-92.

     Source:  U. S. Navy crash report, 10-45. 

Off Martha’s Vineyard – March 8, 1945

Off Martha’s Vineyard – March 8, 1945

 

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

    Shortly before noon on March 8, 1945, an Ensign was piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Ser. No. 42764), on a bombing practice flight off shore from Martha’s Vineyard.  After completing a run, the engine began to race and the prop began to spin at 3500 RPM.  Corrective measures were taken by the pilot but to no avail, and then the engine began to cut out and loose power.  The pilot made an emergency landing in the water and managed to escape from the aircraft before it sank.  He was rescued, but suffered from exposure from being in the cold water.

     According to the U.S. Navy crash investigation report, the aircraft was not salvaged.   The reason for the engine failure could not be determined.

     Source:  U. S. Navy crash investigation report

 

 

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