It was just a little before midnight on 27th May 1944,When a B-24
Liberator four engined bomber lifted into the darkened skies on
another training mission from Westover AFB, Only minutes later
the aircraft was a mass of burning debris on a dense wooded area
on Mount Holyoke, all ten men aboard had been killed outright.
As Army, Police, & Fire Services rushed to the scene of devastation
which lay about 75 feet from the summit, they were hindered by the
thick wooded terrain and had engineers cutting a path from the old
mountain road to the site.
Parts of the aircraft were scattered over a wide area, and a wing was
found 100 feet from the main crash site, on arrival at the scene it was
obvious that nothing could be done for the poor unfortunate souls.
From a copy of the accident report it was found that the B-24 was from
Sec.E of 112th Army Air Force Base Unit and was a `J` model. The B-24
had left Westover with maximum load and had been cleared for a local
flight. The pilot was quite experienced on the type having flown a total
of 128 hrs 55 mins.
It would appear from all accounts that an error of judgement caused
this crash in that pilot held down too long to build up speed, but was
not familiar with the mountainous terrain close by and did not have
sufficient lift to clear Mt Holyoke, the aircraft struck a path through
trees before exploding on the hill at approx 23.53 hrs.
Crew of the B-24.
Pilot: 2/Lt Talbot M.Malcolm Jr. Westfield, New Jersey.
2/Pilot: 2/Lt John D. Logan. Topeka, Kansas.
Bombardier: 2/Lt Donald D. Dowden. Minneapolis, Minnisota.
Navigator: 2/Lt William Ashley Jr. Perrysburg, Ohio.
Engineer: Sgt Wilburn H.Dechert. Fredericksburg, Texas.
A/ Eng: Cpl Kearney D. Padget. Gulfport, Mississippi.
Radio: Sgt Ambrose D.Griffith. Arlington, Massachusetts.
A/ Radio: Cpl Robert J. Ohr. Chicago, Illinois.
Gunner: Cpl Ronald C. Lloyd. Sieford, Delaware.
A/Gunner: Sgt Arnold H.Anderson. Chicago, Illinois.
Many thanks to Craig Fuller of AAIR for a copy of the report.
Photo: From a painting by Alan E.Jones.