Granby, MA. – September 17, 1944

Granby, Massachusetts – September 17, 1944

     In the early morning hours of September 17, 1944, what was described as a “heavy bomber”, possibly a B-24 Liberator, was on a night training flight when it crashed into a thickly wooded area in Granby, Massachusetts, about two miles north of Westover Air Field.  The aircraft broke apart on impact and wreckage was reportedly scattered for hundreds of feet.  The area where the crash occurred was on a farm off East Street.  

     All seven crewmen aboard the aircraft perished in the accident.

     Pilot: 2nd Lt. Gene Revere Asay, 28, of Lodi, Colorado.

     Co-pilot: 2nd Lt. John W. Woodrow, 22, of Huntington, Indiana.

    Flight Engineer: Sgt. Neal W. Johnson, 22, of Ashland, Kansas.

     Asst. Flt. Engineer: Pfc. Jack W. Hariston, 18, of Atlanta, Georgia.

     Radio Operator: Cpl. John A. Perry, 21, of Warwick, R.I.

     Asst. Radio Operator: Pfc. Clifford K. Nordby, 18, of Walhalla, North Dakota.

     Air Gunner: Sgt. William Donald Haynes, 26, of Parsons, Kansas.

     The men were assigned to the 112th AAF Base Unit at Westover Field. 

     Sources:

     Springfield Union, “Westover Bomber Crashes In Granby, Killing Seven”, September 18, 1944

     Berkshire Evening Eagle, “Westover Field Bomber Crash Kills Seven”, September 18, 1944

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

Bedford, MA – August 17, 1946

Bedford, Massachusetts – August 17, 1946

    

P-51 Mustang U.S. Air Force Photo

P-51 Mustang
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On August 17, 1946, a flight of two P-51 aircraft took off from Bedford Army Air Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, to participate in an air show.  They were scheduled to take part in a escort formation flight with a B-29 that was also participating in the show. 

     As the B-29 was flying at an altitude between 2,500 and 3,000 feet, the two P-51’s swooped down on it from above and broke away in a roll.   One of the P-51 pilots was 25-year-old 1st Lt. Severino B. Calderon, flying aircraft  #44-64315.   After rolling away from the B-29, Lt. Calderon climbed again and made another pass, this time coming within 50 to 100 yards of the bomber.  As he did so, the P-51 rolled over into a “split-S” and began diving towards the ground.   The plane crashed on the tracks of the Boston & Maine Railroad just ahead of a train bound from Boston to Chicago.  Fortunately the train engineer was alerted to the wreckage and stopped before hitting it.      

B-29 Super Fortress U.S. Air Force Photo

B-29 Super Fortress
U.S. Air Force Photo

     Lt. Calderon was a veteran of WWII.  He earned his pilot’s wings on December 5, 1943, and served with the 8th Air Force in England.  He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the American Campaign Medal, the European – African – Mideast Campaign Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal.     

     To see photographs of Lt. Calderon, Google, “Severino B. Calderon American Air Museum Britain”.  www.americanairmuseum/person/203944

     During his time in England, Lt. Calderon flew a P-47 Thunderbolt named “SNAFU”.  There is presently a P-47 that has been restored to the markings of Lt. Calderon’s aircraft in England.  Photos of this airplane can been seen elsewhere on the Internet.    

     Lieutenant Calderon’s accident wasn’t the only incident to occur relating to the air show.  

     On August 15th, a flight of three P-51’s and two P-47’s left Mitchell Filed on Long Island, New York, to take part in the airshow at Bedford.  The aircraft were supposed to arrive two days earlier, but poor weather had kept them grounded at Mitchell Filed. Therefore they didn’t have ample time to rehearse their maneuvers before their first scheduled demonstration. 

     Their first flight was an aerial parade over Boston to advertise the opening of the air show.  A B-29 carrying news reporters was part of the parade, and the reporters requested that the escorting aircraft fly close to the bomber  so they could obtain photographs of the planes flying in formation.  As the planes were maneuvering into different formations, one P-51, (#44-64305), was suddenly caught in the prop-wash of the plane ahead of him, (P-51, #44-64308), and the propeller of 44-64305 caught the right wing of 44-64308 causing damage to the aileron and trailing edge of the wing.  Fortunately both aircraft were able to land safely.   

     Sources:

     Army Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #47-8-17-3 

     Army Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #47-8-15-4

     New York Times, “Plane Misses Train”, August 18, 1946

     American Air Museum In Brittan 

     Daily Mail Article: “Aces High: Re-built P-47 Thunderbolt To Take To The Skies In Recreation Of World War II Dogfights 70 Years Ago”, by Ben Griffiths for the Daily Mail, June 26, 2102. 

Boston Harbor – August 18, 1941

Boston Harbor – August 18, 1941

     On August 18, 1941, a O-47A observation aircraft, (Ser. No. 38-306), was pulling anti-aircraft targets over the waters of Boston Harbor when the pilot needed to land for refueling.  After flying for two hours, the fuel in the two main tanks was exhausted, so the pilot switched to the reserve tank, which according to the fuel gauge in the cockpit held 50 gallons, and began to approach the field.   As he was making the approach the engine suddenly quit, forcing the pilot to ditch in the water.  The plane sank, but the three crewmen aboard were able to climb out and be rescued. 

     The crewmen were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. J. F. Barrett

     Pvt. Melvyn A. Cady

     Pvt. Harold E. Sutcliffe

     The men were assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron based at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.  

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Air Craft Accident dated August 27, 1941         

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