On 9th July 1946 at approx 22.30 hrs a large explosion rocked the foundations of
Mount Tom, above the town of Holyoke, Massachusetts, all 25 US Servicemen on
board the aircraft were killed in an instant.
The aircraft, a B-17G flying fortress had taken off from Labrador and was carrying
25 crew & passengers to Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York, via a stop at the
USAF base Westover Field.
It would appear that although the pilot had been given clearence to land at Westover,
with low mist hanging over the mountain, the aircraft descended to 800ft though was
a little off track and struck the hill some 200ft from the summit imediately bursting
into flames and scattering debris over a wide area.
First to reach the scene of devastation were James Mahoney a former Army Lieutenant
and John Cook, both men from Holyoke, they told a newspaper reporter that the heat
was so intense that they were only able to get within 100 yards of the crash. Local Police
from Holyoke were also quickly on the scene and an Officer stated that had the plane
hit the amusement park lower down the hill, then the scene would have been all the
more tragic as an estimated 4,000 people were in the park at that time.
Patrolman Frank O`Connell said that a beacon was lit up on the hill just prior to
the crash, but too late for the crew to act, and two 15 year old boys Robert Murray
and William Quirk were praised by rescue workers for recovery of many of the
bodies from the stricken plane.
At the scene today stands a huge memorial in the form of a granite tablet, that bears
the names of all those who were lost returning to their homes after WW2.
Crew & Passengers:
Capt. HENRY LEBRECHT. USAAC.
1/Lt. WAYNE AUSTIN. USAAC.
F.O. SAMUEL TURRENTINE. USAAC.
F.O. HERMAN VALDRINI. USAAC.
Sgt. DANIEL R.ROE. USAAC.
Pfc. HOWARD E.CARSON. USAAC.
Pfc. EULOGIO SANCHEZ. USAAC.
Pfc. REX A.TANSEY. USAAC.
Lt. FRANK MERIAM. USCG.
Lt. WILFRED U.JOHNSON. USCG.
Lt. PASQUALE P.COVIELLO. USCG.
Lt (jg) GEORGE E.ORFORD. USCG.
RM3c ALFRED L.WARM. USCG.
RM3c ARNOLD J.SIMONS. USCG.
RM3c ERNEST R.GILLIS. USCG.
RM2c LEE WINNARD. USCG.
BM2c RUSSELL SCOTT. USCG.
ETM3c GEORGE R.BENFIELD. USCG.
ETM3c GEORGE E.FLEMING. USCG.
YNC HUGH WORTH. USCG.
S2c DAVID.F.ARCHILLES. USCG.
SIC ARTHUR C.MILLER. USCG.
SIC STANLEY P.WARSHAW. USCG.
SIC GREGORY DAVENPORT. USCG.
CIV ARTHUR BAILEY. ARC.