Woods Hole Harbor – March 3, 1944

Woods Hole Harbor – March 3, 1944  

Woods Hole, Falmouth, Massachusetts  

U.S. Army - Douglas RA-24B, U.S. Air Force Photo

U.S. Army – Douglas RA-24B, U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 10:13 a.m. on March 3, 1944, it was reported that an aircraft had crashed into the water at the entrance to Woods Hole Harbor, about halfway between Nonamessett Island and Juniper Point.  The plane had been seen circling low in the sky when it suddenly “pancaked” into the water.

      Observers on shore stated it appeared to be a navy plane with two men inside.  However, the first boats on the scene recovered an army fliers hat and some paperwork from Otis Field in Falmouth. 

     It was later announced by the Navy public relations office in Newport, R.I.  that the aircraft did not belong to the navy, and the Camp Edwards office on Cape Cod stated none of their coastal patrol aircraft were unaccounted for. Boston naval officials also reported that none of their aircraft were missing.  

     The plane was determined to be a U.S. Army RA-24B Banshee, (42-54555) piloted by 2nd Lt. Joseph H. Gardner, 29, of Sierra Blanc, Texas.   Gardner had been on a training flight from Otis Filed to practice stalls and spins. 

     Confusion over the plane’s branch of service was cleared up when it was explained that the RA-24B was the army’s version of the U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless dive bomber.       

Sources:

Falmouth Enterprise, “Plane crashes At Woods Hole” March 3, 1944  

Lawrence Webster, Aviation Historian and Archeologist.    

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