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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 100150
Last updated: 29 April 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Consolidated B-24D Liberator
Owner/operator:44th BGp USAAF
Registration: 41-23703
Fatalities:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Watton /AAF Sta.376 Norfolk, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF ???
Destination airport:
On 20 February 1943 Lt. Bill McCoy and his crew of 66th BS, 44th BG, 8th Air Force USAAF, were performing practice flying when their aircraft, the B-24D 41-23703 "SCRAPPIE’S PAPPY", suddenly crashed in the vicinity of Watton, burning all of the men beyond recognition. As the crew was flying alone and because there were no survivors, very little was learned as to what caused the crash and the resulting disaster. A local English farmer said he heard the aircraft and saw it crash. The entire tail section had broken off.

Crew (all killed):
Capt Bill McCoy (pilot) Los Angeles,California
1st Lt Robert D Hook (navigator) Staten Island, New York
2nd Lt John C Brown (bombardier) Atlanta, Georgia
M/Sgt Allen D Smith (crew chief) McKeesport, Pennsylvania
S/Sgt David W Johnston, Jr. (assistant radio) Gordon, Texas
Sgt Kenneth C Sivertsen (passenger) Clinton, Iowa
Cpl Albert H Berg (passenger) Seattle, Washington
Cpl Walter Binienda (passenger) Auburn, Massachusetts

Lt. McCoy was one of the most popular pilots in the Group, and an excellent pilot as well, so this tragedy was a heavy blow to both the Squadron and the Group.

Howard Adams, who died only days later during the 26 February mission, wrote the following words in his diary about the loss of Bill McCoy:
“Last Saturday (February 20th) marked the tragic end of a very tragic week. On that afternoon Capt. Bill McCoy of the 66th took up Lt. Col. Snavely to shoot some landings in Bill’s B-24 SCRAPPIE’S PAPPY as he called it. After several landings they taxied back to the parking area to let the Col. out but Bill said he wanted to shoot some more landings with Jon C. Brown , a bombardier, acting as co-pilot. Twenty minutes after they had taken off the report came in that they had crashed. Hoping against hope that it wasn’t serious, Bill Brandon and I rushed down to operations only to be crushed by the news that all of the crew, some eight men, had been killed including Bill McCoy, Brown, and Hook, a navigator for a long time in the 66th. Despite the fact that all of the fellows on the ship were swell fellows the lost Bill McCoy was perhaps the hardest blow yet suffered by the squadron or even the group. A big six foot two, 200 pounds with curly black hair and a smile a mile wide, ‘Big Bill’ or ‘Wild Bill’ as he was affectionately known, was liked and looked up to by everyone from the colonel to the lowliest private. As a flyer he took second seat to nobody for he was noted for his ability to put a B-24 through its paces. On many of our raids Bill led the whole group and was by far the best of them all at it. On investigation of the accident it was found that the whole tail assembly had fallen off from Bill’s plane while it was three or four thousand feet up and so it was impossible for even Bill to land her safely. Immediately on losing its tail the plane went into a flat spin and dove into the ground at a very high speed killing everyone on impact. After hitting the ground it burst into flames and so was completely demolished. This accident brought our total losses for the week up to six.”


Revision history:

25-Feb-2016 15:59 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]
27-Jan-2021 16:25 Anon. Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Operator]

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