Bradley Field, CT. – April 19, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – April 19, 1944 

 

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

     On the evening of April 19, 1944, 2nd Lieutenant Horace W. Cotton was piloting a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-8021), from Bradly Army Air Field when he developed engine trouble and requested clearance for an emergency landing.  Clearance was granted, and as Lieutenant Cotton was attempting to make it to runway 33,  his aircraft crashed about 100 yards short of the tarmac, and he was killed.   

     Lieutenant Cotton is buried in Fairmont Cemetery, in Denver, Colorado.  

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident, #44-4-19-30

     www.findagrave.com

Bradley Field, CT. – May 28, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – May 28, 1944 

 

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

     On the afternoon of May 28, 1944, 2nd Lieutenant William A. Benson, was piloting a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-74853), as part of a four aircraft, high altitude, training flight.   Soon after take off from Bradly Field, Lieutenant Benson radioed the flight leader that he had gasoline coming into his cockpit, and he was cleared to return to base.  At this point the flight was about ten miles distant from Bradley Field.

     Lieutenant Benson called for an emergency landing and was given clearance by control tower personnel.  It appeared to those in the tower that Benson’s aircraft was making a normal approach to the runway, when flames suddenly erupted from the right side of the engine and then engulfed the cockpit.  The aircraft then nosed over and crashed and exploded 200 yards short of the end of the runway.  

     Lieutenant Benson had received his pilot rating on March 12, 1944.

     Lieutenant Benson is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Saginaw, Michigan.  To see a photo of Lieutenant Benson, go to www.findagrave.com,  Memorial #99788097. 

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident, #44-5-28-15

     www.findagrave.com

 

Bradley Field, CT. – July 16, 1943

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – July 16, 1943

 

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

     On July 16, 1943, 2nd Lieutenant George S. Palmer, 24, took off from Bradley Air Field for a scheduled high altitude training flight in a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-22356).  Shortly after takeoff he joined a formation of four aircraft.  When the formation reached an altitude of 15,000 feet, Palmer radioed the flight leader that the propeller on his P-47 wasn’t running right and that he was returning to Bradley Filed.  On the way back Lieutenant Palmer was killed when his P-47 went into an uncontrolled dive and crashed near Bradley Field.    

     Lt. Palmer was assigned to the 362nd Fighter Squadron, 379th Fighter group. He’s buried in Claquato Cemetery in Chehalis, Washington.

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident, #44-7-16-2

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #45179701

Bradley Field, CT. – August 4, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut – August 4, 1944

 

 

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

     On August 4, 1944, a flight of four P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft took off from Bradley Field for a formation training flight.  Just after take off, one aircraft, a P-47D, (Ser. No. 42-22514), piloted by Lt. Sylvester F. Currier, began experiencing engine trouble.  After informing the flight leader of his situation Lt. Currier was ordered to return to Bradley Field.  As Currier was about 1.5 miles from the field black smoke began coming from the airplane’s exhaust.  The flight leader advised the lieutenant to land on the nearest runway as there was very little wind.  Unfortunately Lt. Currier’s aircraft didn’t make it to the runway, and crashed in a wooded area about a quarter of a mile from the end of Runway 6.  The engine and landing gear were torn away, and although Lt. Currier was strapped to his seat, the seat broke loose and the lieutenant was slammed against the instrument panel.  A small fire erupted, but was extinguished quickly by rescue crews.  The aircraft was a total wreck.    

     Lt. Currier was not seriously injured.  He’d received his pilot’s rating on April 15, 1944.

     Source:

     U. S. Army Air Forces Aircraft Accident report #45-8-4-15    

Bradley Field, CT. – March 22, 1944

Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut

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

     At 1:30 p.m., on March 22, 1944, army 2nd Lt. Leeroy Halverson (Spelled with two e’s.) took off from Bradley Field for a routine training flight in a P-47D Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 42-8264).  About an hour later, as he was making his approach for landing, his aircraft crashed at the beginning of the runway and he was killed.

     Lt. Halverson was assigned to the 1st Fighter Squadron, First Air Force.  He’d received his pilot’s rating on February 8, 1944.   

     Lt. Halverson is buried in Union Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  To see a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com, memorial #126963224. 

     Source:

     U.S. Army Air Forces Report Of Aircraft Accident, #44-3-22-20 

Hartford, CT – October 2, 1920

Hartford, Connecticut – October 2, 1920

Updated January 27, 2016

     Hartford-Brainard Airport is a small airport south of downtown Hartford, and should not be confused with Bradley International Airport, which is in Windsor Locks.  

    Brainard Airport was established in 1921 because of a tragic accident which took the lives of two naval officers.  On October 2, 1920, the two officers, (Pilot) Lt. Arthur C. Wagner, and Lt. Commander William Merrill Corry, Jr., flew from Mineola, N.Y. and landed in an open area of the Hartford Club golf course because in 1920 airfields were few and far between.  They had come to Connecticut to meet with other military personnel.  

     Late in the afternoon they attempted to take off and return to New York, but as the plane began to rise the engine suddenly lost power and they crashed into a grove of trees.  Almost immediately the plane burst into flame.    Lt. Wagner was pinned in the wreckage, but  Lt. Cmdr. Corry had been thrown clear.  Yet despite his injuries, Corry returned to the flaming wreck and tried to rescue the pilot.  Two civilians who’d witnessed the crash, Walter E. Batterson, and Martin Keane, ran to his assistance, and together they pulled Wagner free and carried him a safe distance away.  

     Lt. Wagner was transported to an area hospital and died of his injuries later that night.  Lt. Cmdr. Corry was also badly burned in the rescue attempt, and died four days later on October 6th.  Both civilians also suffered burns, but they recovered.

     For his efforts, Corry was awarded the Medal of Honor (Posthumously).  Corry Airfield in Florida was later named in his honor in 1923.  Three U.S. Navy destroyers were also named in his honor, one in 1921, the next in 1941, and the third in 1945.

     Due to this horrific accident, Brainard Airport was established to provide aviators with a safe place to land and take off, without having to look for random open spaces to set down.  The airport was named for Mayor Newton C. Brainard.

     Lt. Cmdr. Corry is buried in Eastern Cemetery in Quincy, Florida.  He was born October 5, 1889, and died just one day after his 31st birthday. To see a photo of Lt. Cmdr. Corry and his grave, go to www.findagrave.com and see memorial #7134215. 

     Sources:

     Meriden Morning Record, “One Aviator Killed In Hartford When Airplane Crashed To Earth”, October 4, 1920

     Hartford Courant, “Naval Flier Burned To death, Companion Badly Injured As Plane Crashes At Golf Club”, October 4, 1920

     Hartford Courant, “Airshow To Honor Brainard Airport’s 75 Years”, July 19, 1996 

     Congressional Medal Of Honor Society

     Wikipedia – Lt. Cmdr. William Merrill Cory, Jr.  

     www.findagrave.com

  

 

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