Brunswick, ME. – July 19, 1946

Brunswick, Maine – July 19, 1946 

 

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

     On July 19, 1946, a flight of F6F-5 Hellcats left Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island for a training flight to Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine.  Upon reaching Brunswick, the aircraft began to land.  One Hellcat, (Bu. No. 72606), was making a normal landing when the aircraft was caught in a downdraft and forced into an unpaved area 30 feet short of the runway.  Upon touchdown, the left landing gear was torn away.   The aircraft then bounced up and became airborne as the pilot applied throttle.  He was notified by the tower at Brunswick that a portion of the landing gear was missing, and was advised to return to Quonset Point.  Upon his return to Quonset, he made a wheels up landing on the grassy strip alongside the runway.  The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-82.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 19, 1946

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 18, 1946

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 18, 1946

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On February 18, 1946, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94830), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  Just as the aircraft left the ground the pilot retracted the landing gear.  Just as he did so, the engine lost all power and the aircraft settled back onto the runway with its wheels up.  It skidded for 400 feet before stopping 60 feet from the shore of Narragansett Bay.   The aircraft suffered considerable damage, but the pilot was not hurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VBF-18 at Quonset Point.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 18, 1946 

Narragansett Bay – March 19, 1947

Narraganset Bay, Rhode Island – March 19, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On March 19, 1947, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Philippine Sea, (CV-47), was in Narragansett Bay conducting training exercises.  At one point, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95046), was set to launch.  However, when the catapult fired to launch the aircraft, there was a malfunction with the launch mechanism, and the aircraft went over the side and into the water.  The aircraft sank, but the pilot managed to escape and was rescued.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-104 at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 19, 1947         

Charlestown, R. I. – May 27, 1947

Charlestown, Rhode Island – May 27, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On May 27, 1947, an U. S. Navy F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95341), made a normal landing on Runway 30 at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Airfield.  Upon touching down, there was a problem with the brakes, and the aircraft nosed over and flipped on its back before sliding to a stop.  The aircraft sustained significant damage and the pilot received non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 27, 1947  

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 25, 1947

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 25, 1947 

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On April 25, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94797), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just after becoming airborne and while still over the runway, the engine suddenly lost all power.   The pilot made an emergency water landing in Narragansett Bay just off the end of the runway.  The aircraft sank, but the pilot was able to escape and was rescued by a crash-rescue boat from Quonset.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-17 at Quonset Point.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 25, 1947

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 12, 1947

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 12, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 12, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95166), was taking off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  As the aircraft became airborne, the pilot retracted the landing gear.  As the gear was being raised, the engine suddenly lost power and the aircraft settled back onto the runway where it skidded for approximately 500 feet before it came to rest.  The pilot was not hurt, but the aircraft was severely damaged.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-8A at Quonset Point.

    Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated June 12, 1947  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 4, 1947

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 4, 1947

     On the night of September 4, 1947, Lieutenant Alfred George Elpern, (26), took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95208), for a night tactical training mission.   About 36 minutes into the flight the cockpit lighting system of his aircraft failed, and he was given clearance to return to base.  His first two attempts to land were aborted.   While making his third attempt, his aircraft was observed to go into a spin while at an altitude of 300 feet.  The airplane crashed and exploded on the field instantly killing Lieutenant Elpern.

     At the time of the crash, the horizon was partially obscured by haze.

     The cause of the crash could not be determined.

     Lieutenant Elpern is buried in Paradise Cemetery in Shannondale, Penn.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 4, 1947 

     www.findagrave.com Memorial #31314556

Gould Island, R. I. – October 25, 1941

Gould Island, Rhode Island – October 25, 1941

     On the morning of October 25, 1941, a U. S. Navy, Grumman JF-1 Duck, (Bu. No. 9448), with two men aboard, was due to take off from the Gould Island Navy Torpedo Station for an observation flight.  Gould Island is  located in Narragansett Bay off the eastern side of Jamestown.  The aircraft was taking off from the water, and as it was making its take-off run the lower left wing struck a marker buoy of the Magnetic Survey Range.  The impact tore the wing in half and caused the upper wing to buckle.  The aircraft then nosed over, skidded to the right and capsized.  

     The pilot managed to free himself, but the passenger, Petty Officer Alexander C. MacClellan, could not, and drowned.    

     The aircraft was assigned to VX Squadron 2D1.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #3428, dated October 25, 1941

 

Exeter, R. I. – April 29, 1946

Exeter, Rhode Island – April 29, 1946

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On April 29, 1946, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 79462), took off rom Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a familiarization training flight.  While flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet over central Rhode Island, the engine began to make a clattering noise and the cockpit began to fill with a light smoke.  The pilot radioed the Quonset Tower and was given clearance for an emergency landing.  As the pilot steered towards Quonset, the oil pressure continued to drop and then the engine seized.  The pilot made an emergency crash-landing in an open field in the town of Exeter.  Although the aircraft was damaged beyond repair, the pilot was not hurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-18.   

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated April 29, 1946

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 16, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – September 16, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On September 16, 1945, a flight of three FM-1 Wildcat fighters took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for an anti-submarine practice flight.  Just after the flight became airborne, the pilot of Bu. No. 15268 noticed that the oil pressure to his aircraft was dropping.  After notifying the flight leader he began his return to Quonset.  As he was making his approach to the runway the engine suddenly stopped, and the plane went down in the water of Narragansett Bay about three hundred yards short of the runway.  The pilot was rescued, and not injured.  The aircraft sank and was stricken after it was recovered.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-55.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-8637 or 44-8687.       

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 8, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 18, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of August 18, 1944, a TBF-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 47884), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft lost all power just as it became airborne and went into the waters of Narragansett Bay.  The crew escaped without injury and the aircraft was recovered 13.5 hours later.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 8, 1944. 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – December 16, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – December 16, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of December 16, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47576) was making a landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft suddenly ground-looped and was damaged beyond repair.  The crew was not injured due to wearing their safety harnesses.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-97.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated December 16, 1944. 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 17, 1946

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 17, 1946

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of July 17, 1946, a navy TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06381), experienced a landing gear collapse after a hard landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The aircraft was irreparably damaged, but none of the crew aboard were injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-97.   

     Source: U.S. Navy accident report dated July 17, 1946.

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 20, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 20, 1942

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     At 1:15 p.m. on July 20, 1942, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 00524), was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the engine lost all power and crashed into a pile of rocks at the end of the runway while attempting an emergency landing.  Two men were aboard the aircraft at the time, and both suffered broken bones.

     The aircraft was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-4.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4516

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 22, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 22, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 22, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06152), was taking off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the engine suddenly lost power.  The aircraft came down at the end of the runway with it wheels retracted.  It went off the end of the runway skidding through soft dirt and then over a seawall.  The aircraft required a major overhaul but the three-man crew was not hurt.  The accident was blamed on mechanical failure.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-48. 

     As a point of fact, this same TBF Avenger, (Bu. No. 06152), had been involved in a previous accident.  On January 13, 1944, while landing at Martha’s Vineyard Naval Air Station during strong wind gusts, the aircraft went off the runway and was damaged, but the crew was not injured.  At that time the aircraft was assigned to VT-7. 

     Sources: 

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-15764 dated June 22, 1944

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-10853 dated January 13, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 6, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 6, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 6, 1944, a TBF-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 24508), was landing at Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the left brakes failed causing the aircraft to ground-loop at a high speed.  Damage consisted a buckled wing and buckled rear stabilizer as well as a blown tire.  The crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-19.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #41-14953

Charlestown, R. I. – October 15, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 15, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 15, 1943, a lone pilot flying a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47438), was practicing take offs and landings at Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when he crashed due to insufficient air speed. The aircraft was a total loss but the pilot was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-5161  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 27, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 27, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 27, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 00626), with a lone pilot aboard, was returning to Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field after a familiarization training flight.  Strong crosswinds were blowing at the time, and the aircraft went off the runway and suffered major damage.  The pilot was not hurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-8820  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 21, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 21, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 21, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24126), crashed while making practice landings and takeoffs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  The lone pilot aboard was not injured, but the aircraft required a major overhaul. 

     The cause was determined to be a failure of the fuel selector valve.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-43.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-5724

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 15, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 15, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 15, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47520), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight.  Just after touchdown, the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded to a stop.  The three man crew was not injured, but the aircraft suffered significant damage.   

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-10885

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – August 13, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – August 13, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 13, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24031) , was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the engine suddenly lost all power.  At the time this occurred, the aircraft was at an altitude of 900 feet over Narragansett Bay. The pilot turned into the wind and made an emergency water landing with wheels and flaps down.  None of the crew were injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-2.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report #44-8098

Charlestown, R. I. – August 30, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 30, 1945

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On August 30, 1945, an F6F-5, (Bu. No. 78419), was taking off on Runway 7 at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field when the engine suddenly lost power and the plane came back down on the tarmac and flipped over.  The aircraft was wrecked, but the pilot was not seriously injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 30, 1945  

Middletown, R.I. – May 26, 1943

Middletown, Rhode Island – May 26, 1943

 

     On the morning of May 26, 1943, an Ensign left Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an NE-1 trainer aircraft, (Bu. 26207), for a familiarization flight.  After about 45 minutes in the air the pilot noticed a decrease in engine RPMs which he though might be related to trouble with the plane’s magnetos.  He landed in an open hay field in Middletown, where he checked his engine and found everything in good order.  He then made preparations for takeoff.  The field had a slight downgrade to it, and the pilot taxied to the bottom of the grade.  He then proceeded to attempt an up-grade take off into the wind. Unfortunately the long hay slowed the speed of the aircraft, and the plane didn’t leave the ground until it was almost at a tree line bordering the field. The pilot, believing he wasn’t going to clear the trees, attempted a climbing left turn and stalled the aircraft at an altitude of about 30 feet.  The plane then crashed into an adjoining graveyard.  The plane was a total wreck, but the pilot wasn’t injured.  

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident Report #43-7026, dated May 26, 1943 

 

 

 

Off Block Island, R.I. – June 13, 1945

Off Block Island, Rhode Island, June 13, 1945

 

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

     On June 13, 1945, Ensign Herbert J. Audet took off from Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in Charlestown, R.I., for a gunnery training flight off Block Island.  He was piloting an F6F-5E Hellcat, (Bu. No. 72735).

     After making a run, he began to climb and noted that the oil pressure began to drop.  The propeller went into a low pitch, and as the oil pressure continued to drop the engine froze.  Ensign Audet was able to make a safe emergency landing in the water about a half-mile south of Block Island.  He scrambled out of the plane before it sank, and was rescued a short time later.

     Sources:

     National Archives, AAR 11-45; TD450613RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated June 13, 1945

Charlestown, R.I. – September 29. 1952

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 29, 1952

 

U.S. Navy
Grumman F9F Panther
U.S. Navy Photo – National Archives

     On September 29, 1952, a flight of Grumman F9F Panther fighter jets took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  The purpose of the flight was to practice carrier landings, or “bounce drills” at the Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station. 

     At one point during the exercise, one aircraft, (Bu. No. 125308), crashed on Quonochontaug Beach in Charlestown.  The aircraft was approaching the beach from the west before it suddenly dropped to the sand about one mile east of the ocean end of East Beach Road, and bounced “two or three times”, before cart-wheeling into the water on the Atlantic side. 

     The accident was witnessed by a man operating a bulldozer nearby who was in the process of pushing up sand dunes along the beach.  The man ran to the scene of the crash, but when he got there the unidentified navy pilot was wading ashore on his own in no need of rescue.  The aircraft was completely wrecked, but the pilot only received minor injuries.    

     Source:

     Providence Journal, “Quonset Pilot Escapes Crash In Surf With Minor Injuries”, September 30, 1952

 

Off Watch Hill, R.I. – October 26, 1944

Off Watch Hill, Rhode Island – October 26, 1944

    

Ensign Norman Francis Day U.S. Navy - WWII

Ensign Norman Francis Day
U.S. Navy – WWII

     At 6:52 p.m., on October 26, 1944, Ensign Norman Francis Day, 20, piloting an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70895), and Ensign W. D. Cochran, piloting another F6F Hellcat, took off from Charlestown Aux. Naval Air Station in Charlestown, Rhode Island, for a night training mission. 

     The pair flew to Fisher’s Island, New York, (Off the eastern end of Long Island) and engaged in simulated strafing maneuvers on searchlight positions.  After about 40 minutes, Ensign Cochran attempted to call Ensign Day by radio and got no response. 

     A fisherman on a boat reported a plane apparently experiencing engine trouble had crashed into the water about 2 miles due south of Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  Watch Hill is in the town of Westerly, Rhode Island.

    

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

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

     The crash was not witnessed by Ensign Cochran.

     At the time of his death, Ensign Day was assigned to Carrier Aircraft Service Unit 27, (CASU-27), assigned to the Naval Air Station at Charlestown, Rhode Island.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  

     Source:

     Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Rhode Island.  

     U.S. navy Aircraft trouble report 48-44

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – May 24, 1966

Quonset Point Naval Air Station  – May 24, 1966

     On the night of May 24, 1966, Lieut. Cmdr. Bruce R. Richmond, 31, and Lieut. Stephen Losey, 37, were practicing landings and take offs at Quonset Point Naval Air Station when their twin-engine aircraft crashed in Narragansett Bay.  Both men were killed. The type of aircraft was not stated.

     Lieut. Cmdr. Richmond is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.  To see a photo of his grave see www.findagrave.com memorial #3427105.

     Lieut. Losey is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  To see a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com memorial #49249517.   He was from New Jersey.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Two Navy Fliers Die In Crash”, May 25, 1966

     www.findagrave.com

Off Point Judith, R.I. – July 16, 1943

15 Miles Off Point Judith, Rhode Island – July 16, 1943

    Updated March 9, 2018         

    

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

     On July 16, 1943, a division of navy F6F-3 Hellcats were engaged in a “Fighter Director Practice” off southern Rhode Island when an army P-47 Thunderbolt made two passes at the group.  Both passes were made from out of the sun, and each time the P-47 came within 50 to 200 yards of the division of Hellcats. 

     According to the U.S. Navy accident report, (#44-7667), “Immediately following the second pass, Ensign Staab entered a high speed stall from an abrupt climbing turn, resulting in a vertical dive and progressive stall.”  Ensign Staab, age 23, was killed when his Hellcat, (Bu. No. 25848), then dove into the Atlantic Ocean 15 miles off Point Judith, R.I.

     Ensign Staab was assigned to Fighting Squadron 31, (VF0-31).

     His hometown is listed as Burlington, Vermont.  He’s buried in Kingston, New York.

     The army P-47 was from the 326th Fighter Group at Westover Field.  There is a notation in the report that the pilot was disciplined however, he is not identified.  

     Sources:

     Rhode Island Department Of Health, death certificate.

     U.S. Navy Accident Report, #44-7667, dated July 16, 1943

Quonset Point, R.I. – November 16, 1956

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – November 16, 1956

     On November 16, 1956, a U.S. Navy, S2F-1 Sentinel, twin-engine aircraft crashed just after take off from Quonset Point NAS.  The plane went down 200 yards off the seawall at the end of Runway 5, and sank in 30 feet of water in Narragansett Bay.  All three crewmen aboard were killed.  Their names were not published pending notification of kin.

     The aircraft was assigned to Antisubmarine Squadron 39 at Quonset Point.  

     Source: Lewiston Evening Journal, “Three Killed In Crash Of Navy Plane”, November 16, 1956

 

Off Jamestown, R.I. – September 4, 1942

Off Jamestown, Rhode Island – September 4, 1942

     On September 4, 1942, a Navy plane with two men aboard crashed in the water about 1,000 yards off Beavertail Light in Jamestown.  At the time, the area known as Beavertail was occupied by a coastal artillery unit to protect Narragansett Bay, and Beavertail Light was occupied by the U.S. Coast Guard.  Today the area is a state park, and the light is automated, and now serves as a museum.

     The crash was witnessed by shore personnel, four of whom entered the water and swam out to rescue the airmen.  They were identified at Privates First Class V.S. Sousa, and F. A. Hamilton, Corporal D. A. Corey, and Seaman Second Class R. F. Kirscher. The men reached the wreck at the same time as a passing Coast Guard boat.

     The plane’s crew consisted of (Pilot) Lieutenant Harry Stubbs, 29, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3C Fred Schumm, 20, of New York.  Lt. Stubbs was unconscious from a head  injury, while Schumm was cut and bleeding in several places.  Both were taken to the Fort Getty hospital located at Jamestown.

     The type of aircraft was not stated.

     Source:

     New York Times, “Plane Dives Into Sea; Crew Of Two Saved”, September 5, 1942

            

Quonset Point, R.I. – May 1, 1962

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – May 1, 1962

     On May 1, 1962, an U.S. Navy, AD5W Skyraider, crashed on take off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The plane went down in the waters of Narragansett Bay about 500 years northeast of Pier 2. 

     Both crewmen aboard were killed.  They were identified as:

     (Pilot) Lieutenant Harold E. Richlie, 27, of Missoula, Montana.  he was survived by his wife Janet.

     Parachute Rigger 2C Kenneth M. Robinson, 33, of Randolph, Massachusetts.  He was survived by his wife Ann.

     The aircraft was assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 33.

     Source:

     Lewiston Evening Journal, “Fear Two Dead In Navy Crash”, May 2, 1962 

    

Newport, R.I. – November 4, 1951

Newport, Rhode Island – November 4, 1951 

    

U.S. Navy  Grumman F9F Panther U.S. Navy Photo - National Archives

U.S. Navy
Grumman F9F Panther
U.S. Navy Photo – National Archives

     On Sunday, November 4, 1951, a flight of several U.S. Navy, Grumman F9F-5 Panther jets took off from Quonset Point for a routine training mission.  While over the Newport metropolitan area, one of the aircraft (Bu. No. 125269) suddenly began trailing “yellowish smoke” and loosing altitude.   

     The pilot, Ensign Ralph Anthony Lennon, 23, of Flushing, New York, elected to stay with the aircraft to maneuver it away from a populated area and aimed the plane towards the water near Easton’s Beach. 

     Witnesses on the ground reported that after trailing smoke, the plane suddenly burst into flame and began to break apart.  The tail section came down on top of a home at 77 Cottage Street while the main body of the plane came down on property at 396 and 428 Gibbs Avenue.  Cottage Street intersects with Gibbs Avenue, and the three locations are close to each other, and close to Easton Pond behind Easton’s Beach.

     Ensign Lennon was killed in the crash.  Had he not stayed with his aircraft it would have crashed in downtown Newport where the streets were crowded with people and traffic.  As it was, pieces of his jet rained down over an area a 1/2 mile from the crash site, with one piece reportedly narrowly missed a baby sleeping in its carriage.

     There were no reports of anyone on the ground being injured, and the debris that landed on homes didn’t start any fires. 

     Thousands of onlookers descended on the area, sifting through debris, trampling the scene, and hampering fire and rescue efforts. 

     The cause of the accident wasn’t immediately apparent.        

     Ensign Lennon was born October 9, 1928.  He graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in The Bronx, N.Y., and the University of Iowa, before joining the navy in 1946.  He was a veteran of the Korean War, and at the time of his death was attached to VF-71, then stationed at Quonset Point.  He’s buried in Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. 

     Sources:

     Newport Daily News, “Navy To Probe Crash Of Quonset Jet Plane In City” November 5, 1951, Page 1

     Newport Daily News, “Navy Jet Plane Crash Spectators Give harrowing Stories Of Incident”, November 5, 1951, page 1.

     Newport Daily News, “Navy Salvage Crew Clears Scene Of Jet Crash”, November 6, 1951, page 3.

     www.Findagrave.com – Ralph Anthony Lennon

     

    

Off Block Island – July 28, 1944

Off Block Island – July 28, 1944

    

U.S. Navy Avengers National Archives Photo

U.S. Navy Avengers
National Archives Photo

     On the night of July 28, 1944, a U.S. Navy TBM-1D Avenger (Bu. No. 47455) was on a routine flight over the Atlantic Ocean -possibly on anti-submarine patrol – when it crashed about five miles south of Block Island.  Exactly what happened to the aircraft was never determined. 

      The aircraft was assigned to Escort Scouting Squadron 13, (VC-13). 

      All three crewmen aboard were lost.

     (The Pilot) Lieutenant William Van Arsdale Wilson, of Marysville, Calif.  Lt. Wilson was born July 4, 1919, and enlisted in the Naval Air Corps in August of 1941.  He was promoted to Lt. (jg.) in June, 1943, and to full Lieutenant on July 1, 1944.  He’d been with VC-13 for 19 months.  He’s buried in New Castle Cemetery in Newcastle, California.  (See Findagrave.com  #9376360 for a photo of his grave.)

     Aviation Radioman 2C Lloyd Elmer Hay, of Apopka, Fla.  AV2C Hay was born April 15, 1921, and is buried at Ft. Donelson National Cemetery in Dover, Tenn.  (See Findagrave.com  #132967419 for a photo of his grave.)

     Aviation Meatelsmith 2C James Wilburn Glover.  

     Sources:

     Newport Mercury, Navy Gives Names Of Missing Flyers” August 4, 1944

     Larry Webster, Aviation Historian and Archeologist.

     Findagrave.com

East Greenwich, R. I. – May 16, 1944

East Greenwich, Rhode Island – May 16, 1944 

Near the Exeter town line, off Shippey Road

Updated December 8, 2018

    

F6F Hellcat U.S. Navy Photo

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 10:50 a.m. on the morning of May 16, 1944, Lt. Cmdr. David Wooster Taylor, Jr., 32, took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a F6F-3 Hellcat (Bu. No. 41944) for a routine training mission.  Fifteen minutes later his aircraft was observed by witnesses on the ground to be at about 3,000 feet and flying level when it suddenly went onto a spinning dive from which it did not recover.  Lt. Cmdr. Taylor was killed when his aircraft crashed and burned at the Sunset Valley Reservation in East Greenwich.  The cause of the crash was not stated in newspapers.

     Due to the complete destruction of the aircraft investigators were not able to determine an exact cause for the accident.   

     Lt. Cmdr. Taylor was reportedly survived by his wife Virginia, and two young children, Jean, 4, and David, 3.

     A housing development now stands on the site where this accident took place.

     Lt. Cmdr. Taylor was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross while assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) for his part in an attack against enemy shipping off Bodo, Norway, on October 4, 1943.   

     To learn more about Lt. Cmdr. Taylor, and to see a photo of him, go to https://usnamemorialhall.org/index.php/DAVID_W._TAYLOR,_JR.,_LCDR,_USN

Sources:

Woonsocket Call, “Lt. Cmdr. D. W. Taylor Killed In Plane Crash”, May 17, 1944, Pg. 1

North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records

The Standard, “Quonset Pilot Falls To Death”, May 18, 1944

U. S. Navy Crash report, #44-14197

      

Exeter, R. I. – September 8, 1943

Exeter, Rhode Island – September 8, 1943

Updated March 9, 2018

    

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     Navy pilot Ensign Robert R. Hirshkind was killed instantly when his F4U-1 Corsair, (Bu. No. 02368), crashed on the farm of Wallace Foster in the town of Exeter, R. I.  Ensign Hirshkind had been on a formation training flight out of Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the accident occurred.  Approximately 12 miles south-west of Wickford the flight encountered thick overcast that dropped nearly to the ground.  The accident occurred as the flight was descending through the overcast on instruments.  

     Ensign Hirshkind was assigned to Night Fighter Squadron 75, (VF(n)-75).

Sources:

     The Standard, “Exeter Plane Crash Kills Navy Pilot”, September 9, 1943, Pg. 8 

     U.S. Navy Accident report, #44-8367, dated September 8, 1943

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