Atlantic Ocean – March 5, 1942

Atlantic Ocean – March 5, 1942

(Grenier Field)

 

Douglas A-20 Havoc
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 5, 1942, a U. S. Army Douglas DB-7B, (Ser. No. AL-301), (better known as the Douglas A-20 Havoc), took off from Grenier Field in Manchester, New Hampshire, bound for Langley Field in Hampton, Virginia.   The plane carried a crew of three. 

     There was the pilot, 2nd Lt. David Soutbard, (23), of Orlando, Florida; the bombardier, Private 1st Class Jack C. Maxey, Jr., (21), of Ada, Oklahoma; and Private George T. Oswerk, (21), of Walsenburg, Colorado.   

     The aircraft arrived safely and Langley and later took off for a trip back to Manchester.  While in route the aircraft crashed into the ocean off Barnegat Light, New Jersey.  (The reason for the accident was not stated in the press.)

     The pilot and bombardier were killed in the crash, but Private Oswerk was thrown clear and survived.  He was rescued by a passing ship, but unfortunately passed away of his injuries on March 7th. 

     The Nashua Telegraph newspaper reported that this was the “first fatal accident to (a) Grenier Field plane.         

     Lieutenant Southbard’s body was reportedly not recovered. 

     Pvt. 1c Maxey is buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Ada, Oklahoma. 

     Pvt. Oswerk is buried in St. Mary’s North Cemetery in Walsenburg, Colorado. 

     The men were assigned to the 79th Bombardment Squadron at Grenier Field. 

     Sources:

     The Nashua Telegraph, “Grenier Field Plane Crashes Off NJ Shore – Two Members of 3-Man Crew Are Killed”, March 6, 1942, page 1. 

     www.findagrave.com

Mt. Waternomee, NH – January 14, 1942

Mt. Waternomee, New Hampshire – January 14, 1942

Woodstock, New Hampshire

     

Douglas B-18 National Archives Photo

Douglas B-18
National Archives Photo

     At 1:04 p.m. on January 14, 1942, an Army Air Corps B-18A, (#37-619) took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for an anti-submarine patrol over the Atlantic.    

     There were seven crewmen aboard:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Anthony Benvenuto, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

     (Co-pilot) 2nd Lt. Woodrow A. Kantner, of Cranford, N.J.

     (Navigator) 2nd Lt. Fletcher Craig, of Gridler, California.

     (Engineer) Pfc. Richard G. Chubb, of Billerica, Mass.  

     (Radio Operator) Pfc. Noah W. Phillips, Jr., 20, from Fayetteville, Arkansas. He’s buried in Hester, Cemetery in Fayetteville.

     (Bombardier) Pfc. Raymond F. Lawrence, 21, of Worcester, Mass. He’s buried in Hope Cemetery in Worcester. 

     (Photographer) Robert P. Picard, of Springfield, Mass.   

     The press listed Pfc. Lawrence as the plane’s gunner, and Pfc. Phillips as the bombardier, however the Air Corps Accident Investigation Report, (#42-1-14-2), lists Pfc. Lawrence as bombardier, and Pfc. Phillips as the radio operator.  As a point of fact, Pfc. Phillips was the radio operator. (See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #41911453)

     When the plane left Westover, the weather over Massachusetts was clear with strong winds which caused some turbulence for the airplane.  After traveling 250 miles out to sea the pilot turned the aircraft around and began heading back towards land.  Then the plane got caught in a strong wind shift and drifted off course, and the oncoming darkness made visibility difficult.

     Once the plane reached land the crew tried to get their bearings by using the plane’s radio and radio compass, but couldn’t do so due to extreme static.  The sky was overcast and the night was very dark.  That, combined with wartime blackouts made it difficult for the crew to recognize any landmarks below. 

     The overcast grew thicker and after awhile the pilot was flying on instruments at 4,000 feet, while the co-pilot watched for any breaks in the clouds.  At 8:04 p.m. the co-pilot shouted a warning that there was a mountain ahead, and the pilot hade a sharp turn to the right just before the plane struck Mt. Waternomee at 160 miles per hour.  The aircraft broke apart on impact scattering wreckage over a wide area, and the subsequent fire set off the cargo of bombs.   

     Two crewmen, Pfc. Raymond F. Lawrence, and Pfc. Noah W. Phillips, were killed in the crash.  Miraculously, the other five crewmen survived.  

    Some sources, including the Air Corps crash investigation report, have put the location of this crash as being on Moosilauke Mountain, but this is incorrect.  The crash occurred on Mt. Waternomee.   

     The wreckage of the B-18 can still be seen today. (See www.hikenewengland.com, and www.logginginlincoln.com, to see photographs of the crash site and memorial.)   

     Sources:

     Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident, # 42-1-14-2

     Boston Herald, “U.S. Probes N. H. Crash – Two dead Five Hurt As Bomber Hits Peak”, January 16, 1942 

     The Union-Leader, (Manchester N.H.) “Crash Survivors Due To Recover”, January 16, 1942

     The Union Leader, (Manchester N.H.) “Bodies of Bomber Victims To Go Home On Week-End”, Unknown Date. (Copy of article was attached to investigation report.)

     www.findagrave.com

    

    

    

    

      

      

Hampstead, NH – August 19, 1943

Hampstead, New Hampshire – August 19, 1943

          

     There is not a lot of information about this accident.

     At 4:30 p.m. on the afternoon of August 19, 1943, a U.S. military C-49J, (#43-1971), was seen circling Island Pond in Hampstead, New Hampshire, at altitude of between 1,000 and 1,500 feet with its wheels extended, when it suddenly went into a spin and crashed into a wooded area. 

      All five men aboard were killed. 

      The weather at the time was “broken to scattered, 3-4000 feet, visibility unrestricted.”

     According to the Air Corps crash investigation report, the pilot is listed as one R. T. Whidden, “commercial pilot”.  Under “pilot’s mission” in the report it stated “Army ATTF Transition training.”  

     Servicemen aboard included:

     2nd Lt. Charles Appier. He’s buried in Star of Hope Cemetery in Huntington, Indiana.

     2nd Lt. Robert W. Barron. He’s buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Escanaba, Michigan.

     Pfc. Robert A. Bell.  He’s buried in Union Cemetery in Flandreau, South Dakota.

     Pfc. Conroy Newcomb.  He’s buried in Wayne Cemetery in Lewis, Kansas.  To see a photo of Pfc. Newcomb, go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #55021812.  

     Sources:

     Army Air Corps accident investigation report, #44-8-19-1

     www.findagrave.com     

 

Londonderry, N. H. – August 25, 1945

Londonderry, New Hampshire – August 25, 1945

Updated January 11, 2021

    

B-17G "Flying Fortress" U.S. Air Force Photo

B-17G “Flying Fortress”
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the night of August 25, 1945, a U. S. Army B-17G “Flying Fortress” (Ser. No. 44-83577) crashed on approach to Grenier Army Air Field in Manchester, New Hampshire.  The plane impacted a wooded area about three miles short of the runway. 

       Prior to the crash the aircraft had been circling the area unable to land due to very low cloud cover.  As the pilot attempted to make an instrument approach the aircraft clipped some trees in an area known as Crowell’s Corner.  It then plowed onto wooded area west of Mammoth Road where it broke apart as it cleared a swath for nearly a quarter of a mile.    

     Three men aboard were killed, and two others were seriously injured. 

     The Nashua Telegraph identified one of the dead as Sergeant Earl K. Allen.  Sgt. Allen is buried in Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire.  

      

     Sources:

     New York Times, “New Hampshire Air Crash Kills 3”, August 27, 1945

     The Nashua Telegraph, “Three Die In Londonderry Crash”, August 27, 1945

     Larry Webster, Aviation Historian and Archeologist

     www.findagrave.com

 

Manchester, N.H. – November 8, 1944

Manchester, New Hampshire – November 8, 1944

    

U.S. Navy Avengers National Archives Photo

U.S. Navy Avengers
National Archives Photo

     On November 8, 1944, a TBM-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 16890) crashed while flying a bombing practice mission over Manchester, New Hampshire.  The pilot and one crewman aboard were killed.

     (Pilot) Ensign William E. Ames.

     AEM2C Sherman Eugene Dietz Jr., age  24.  He’s buried at Assumption Cemetery in Syracuse, new York.    

 

Sources:

NAS Squantum: The First Naval Air Reserve Base, (pg. 218-219) by Marc Frattasio

Findagrave.com

Londonderry, N.H. – September 30, 1943

Londonderry, New Hampshire – September 30, 1943 

 

Beech At-10 U.S. Air Force Photo

Beech At-10
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On September 30, 1943, a Beech AT-10, (#42-43597) with two officers aboard crashed in a heavily wooded area of Londonderry near Scobie Pond.  The plane did not burn, but both were killed. It was discovered the following day.

     The dead were identified as 1st Lt. William C. Curtis, and 2nd Lt. Charles Wilson Jr.

     Source: Nashua Telegraph, “Grenier Field Airmen Dead In Plane Crash”, October 2, 1943.    

Pawtuckaway State Park – November 29, 1944

Pawtuckaway State Park – November 29, 1944 

    

B-24 Liberator  U.S. Air Force Photo

B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 29, 1944, a B-24 Liberator, (#44-49669) took off from Grenier Field in Manchester, New Hampshire, en-route overseas.  When the plane was about 16 miles north-east of Manchester it suffered a structural failure in the rear rudder system causing the pilot to loose control.  The B-24 crashed and burned at the base of Middle Mountain in Pawtuckaway State Park in the town of Nottingham, N.H.  There were no survivors.

     As part of the investigation into this crash, military authorities spoke with three witnesses who stated the plane was flying low and even, and not trailing smoke of flame.  Two reported seeing an object or objects fall away from the aircraft just before the crash. 

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 2nd Lt. Paul Lavern Hackstock, 24, of Fort Morgan, Colorado.  He’s buried in Riverside Cemetery in Fort Morgan.    (See www.Findagrave.com)

     (Co-pilot) 2nd Lt. Wilbur C. Stephenson, 23, of Cokesville, Penn. He’s buried in Blairsville Cemetery, Blairsville Penn.

     (Navigator) Warrant Officer Russell L. Jones, 20, of Grand Rapids, Mich.  He’s buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Mich.

     (Engineer/Gunner) Cpl. Calvin R. Rickenback, 19, of Ephrata, Penn. 

     (Radio Operator/Gunner) Thomas L. McDougall, 21, of Marydel, Maryland. He enlisted Jan. 22, 1943.

     (Gunner) Cpl. William L. Swarner Jr., 19, of Overland Park, KS. He’s buried n Highland Park Cemetery, Kansas City.

     (Gunner) Cpl. Preston K. Smith, 19, of Strawberry Plains, Tenn.  He’s buried in Thorngrove Cemetery, Thorngrove, Tenn.

     (Gunner) Cpl. Kenneth J. Young, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada

     (Gunner) Cpl. Robert H. Wells, 24, of Hanover, N.H. Survived by his wife Myra.

Sources:

Nottingham Community Newsletter, Nov./Dec. 2013, Vol 15, Issue 6.

U.S. Army Air Force crash investigation report #45-11-29-19

www.findagrave.com

 

 

       

    

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