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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 100687
Last updated: 6 December 2020
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Date:13-JAN-1944
Time:14:20
Type:Silhouette image of generic B24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Consolidated B-24H Liberator
Owner/operator:68th BSqn /44th BGp USAAF
Registration: 42-7551
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Letton Hall, Cranworth, Norfolk, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Training
Departure airport:RAF Shipdham / AAF Sta.115
Destination airport:RAF Shipdham, Norfolk
Narrative:
2nd Lt Glenn C. Hovey and his crew joined the 68th BS, 44th BG at Shipdham, England on 24 December 1943. Three weeks later they had not yet participated in a combat mission nor made a training flight, except the pilot. On 13 January 1944 Hovey asked for a plane and they took off for a training flight aboard the B-24H 42-7551 "THE JINX", that had been repaired after being badly damaged on 13 November 1943.

This aircraft approached the field at Shipdham for a landing with wheels and flaps down and #1 propeller feathered. The pilot evidently “over shot” the landing, so he passed over the field and banked to the left (into that dead engine). While in this left bank, the aircraft lost altitude and dropped below the level of the trees, regained some altitude and then settled back down and struck a tree with the left wing. The airplane crashed at 1420 hrs into a fir spinney at Letton Hall, Cranworth, Norfolk, 2 miles east of the main runway of Shipdham airfield, and exploded, killing nine of the ten men aboard. Lt. Sowers, bombardier was thrown clear of the ship and was still alive when he taken to the hospital alive but died at 0200 hours the same night.

Crew (all killed):
2nd Lt Gleen C Hovey (pilot, of Fairfield, Iowa)
2nd Lt Clifford C Peterson (co-pilot, of Atlanta, Georgia)
2nd Lt Stanley Weiner (navigator, of Santa Monica, California)
2nd Lt Richard J Sowers (bombardier, of Toledo, Ohio)
S/Sgt Arthur L Nelson (engineer, of Chicago, Illinois)
S/Sgt Walter G Hoffman, Jr. (radio operator, of Los Angeles, California)
Sgt Clarence W Snow (assistant engineer, of Wathena, Kansas)
Sgt Robert E Robbins (assistant radio, of Peru, Indiana)
Sgt Edward C Pollman (air gunner, of Cincinnati, Ohio)
Sgt Arthur F Testa (air gunner, of Cleveland Hts., Ohio)

Capt. Charles Kuch, 68th Squadron lead pilot, added these observations:
“I was flying co-pilot with Major George Jansen on a slow-time test check with just three of us, including an engineer. We turned into our final approach and were following another plane which seemed to have a dead engine with the propeller turning. He was pretty low when he started to go around again. Major Jansen notified the tower that they had a ship in trouble.
“The plane started a left turn at a rather low altitude. it didn’t appear that the pilots were carrying enough power. The plane started down, still turning. Jansen told them, ‘It’s too late, Pathway’ as the plane struck the ground at a slight angle. We went around, flying over the crash site and helping direct crash and emergency vehicles.
“When we landed, I went with Jansen in his Jeep to the crash site. It was the first one I’d seen up close, and it was a real mess. It was the crew’s first flight from Shipdham and Hovey had asked for a plane. I think he flew co-pilot to me on a [training] mission just a couple of days earlier, but no one else [on that crew] had made even one flight here. I can still smell it!”

Various archaeological groups have visited this site since 1972 and a selection of small personal effect are understood to have been found, including coins, keys and an identity bracelet marked “Stanley Weiner 0-674819”. The Norfolk And Suffolk Aviation Museum’s members visit to the site (1984) in the now replanted pine grove, revealed various burnt patches and some small items of wreckage, including harness and parachute buckles, many exploded .50 cal. rounds date ‘42 and ‘43.

Sources:

http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg/lundyroh.pdf
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/AARmonthly/Jan1944O.htm
http://b-24.weebly.com/before--after3.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Shipdham
http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-220796-letton-hall-cranworth-norfolk#.WHlQFrlkxhU
http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-220796-letton-hall-cranworth-norfolk/map#.WHlQUblkxhU


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
14-Jan-2017 20:23 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2020 08:58 DG333 Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Operator]

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