Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ARMY C-47 CRASHES NEAR TAMAQUA..NOVEMBER 22, 1943

This is a story about C-47 that crashed on the Mt. Between Tuscarora and Tamaqua. Someday I will try and find the location of this crash and get a few photos.

ARMY C-47 AIRCRAFT CRASHES ON SIDE OF HILL
ARMY PLANE FALLS; 7 DEAD, 2 HURT
NOVEMBER 22, 1943
TAMAQUA, PENNSYLVANIA
A TRANSPORT PLANE APPARENTLY TRYING TO LAND IN A STORM, CRASHES LOCUST MOUNTAIN AT TAMAQUA; 2 SOLDIERS ESCAPE ALIVE.


C-47

Hundreds of people watch plane circling the town, they see the flames flare up on the mountain side.

Seven Army fliers were killed and two others were seriously injured at 9:10 o’clock Sunday night when an army C-47 transport crashed into the mountain side west of the northward of Tamaqua, three quarters of a mile beyond the borough limit.
The names of the dead fliers were withheld by Army authorities pending notification of the next of kin and an investigation by a board of Army officers of the Middletown air base.
The two injured men were identified as Corporal Joseph W. Enloe, Emsley , Ala. And Pvt. Charles H. Davis, Greenville SC. Both were said to be in serious condition in the Coaldale State Hospital.
The plane circled over Tamaqua and the Barnesville air field before the accident lending strength to the theory that it was off course. Army officials said it was a “routine” flight. They would not reveal where it came from and where it was going. The two injured men were found a half hour after the crash wandering in a daze near the wreck. They could not explain how they got out of the plane, but believed to have been thrown out when the aircraft. When the lost ship its pilot circling for a landing at the Barnesville airport struck the tops of trees and then plummeted into the rocky ridge that shirts the top of the mountain.
After circling Tamaqua once the big plane moved towards the Barnesville airport, circled it and then came back towards Tamaqua from the west. It again circled Tamaqua and then moved back in the direction of Barnesville when it crashed into the mountainside.


The plane struck a huge boulder weighing several hundred tons, clipped branches from trees and came to rest on the side of the mountain although it apparently missed high tension lines in the neighborhood.
The nose of the plane was consumed by fire and five of the seven bodies were badly burned, probably beyond recognition. The bodies of the other two victims were also badly scorched.
Tamaqua resident who first arrived on the scene said the bodies were burning fiercely. The remains were taken in charge by a Tamaqua undertaker at 6:45 o’clock the morning after the battered plane had been guarded overnight by state police
Hundreds of persons saw the plane circling low over Tamaqua just before the crash and heard shouts from the men aboard. Later they saw the plane drop on the mountain side and flames shoot up after several explosions.
The force of the crash was perhaps best illustrated by the fact that a fragment of the planes tail was hurled 1500 feet away from the ship when it nosed into the mountainside.
The scene is reached only by a narrow muddy roads normally used by coal trucks. Rescue parties proceeded as far possible by automobile and then carried fire fighting equipment by hand. It was necessary to carry the bodies three quarters of a mile to awaiting hearses.
News of the crash attracted wide attention in the county and brought out reports that the plane had circled other communities before it hit the mountainside. It was reported the plane followed Reading Company tracks from Ashland to Girardville, circled back to Ashland and then returned to Shenandoah. Disappearing in the direction of Lake Side.
The plane said to have been on a route from Fort Benning, Ga. To Willow Grove, and about 100 miles off course circled over the town from the east at a low altitude, during the rain storm and its pilot appeared to be heading toward the Barnesville airport for an emergency landing.
Two PP&L linemen Edward Williams and John Malinsky were on a pole making repairs when they saw the plane over town traveling east and then northeast and then northwest towards the airport. A few seconds later the ship crashed and there was an explosion.
Rescue parties from Tamaqua started immediately for the scene. The first man to reach the scene was Oliver Lockwood of Tuscarora, who also saw the plane circle and heard the explosion after the crash. It was he who met the two dazed survivors as he hurried toward the wreckage. He took them to the hospital in his car.
Another man on the scene was Willis Parnell of Tamaqua. When the rescuers reached the plane it had just begun to burn fiercely and Williams braved the flames and possible other explosions to crawl through the wreckage searching for survivors. He located the bodies of three but all appeared to be dead. He was forced from the wreckage by the intense heat before he could locate the others.
The big ship clipped of trees for a distance before it crashed and from the position of the tail it appears the pilot tried to gain altitude when the plane first topped the trees, but was not able to do so.
Oliver C. Gorshall, caretaker of the Barnesville Airport said the plane just managed to clear the crest of the mountain on it flight and then circled back toward Tamaqua.. It crashed on its attempted return.
The location of the crash site is left of the Pottsville-Tamaqua highway into Tamaqua, about a half mile behind the I.O.O.F. Cemetery on the mountain between Tuscarora and Tamaqua.
At the time of the crash there was alight fog which surrounded the top of the mountain.

November 24, 1943
Fliers Killed In Tamaqua Crash.
Four officers and three enlistedmen were killed
Capt. Bernard Cederholm. Indianapolis, Ind.
First Lieut. Paul Anthony Gregory Jr. Marietta Ga.
1st Lt. George Arthur Blanchard Jr. Sand Lake Mich.
2nd Lt. George Jospeh Fritsche , Snyder N.Y.
Tech Sgt. Emmet Woodrow Johnson, Henderson W.Va.
Sgt. Manuel Lorber, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Pvt. Andrew F. Gaydos, Jr. Swissdale Pa.
Two other enlisred men, Corparoal Charles H. Davis, Greenville S.C. and Cpl. Jospeh W. Enloc, Ala. Survived and all were members of the Army Air Force except Gaydos who was an infantryman and a passenger on the plane.

2 comments:

Bud said...

I was living in Tomaqua, going to 1st grade, when this happened. My father took me up to the accident area,the next day, I believe. I don't think he took any pic's, but did pick up a burnt piece of their map. Was looking through some stuff a few yr's back & ran across it. Now if I could remember what it was I was looking at, I might remember where it was. Will keep looking. Do you remember it or live near there? What is your interest?

Butch said...

Last year my wife and I walked the area of the old airport. Now it is a state game land. Interesting story you have here.