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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mt. Holyoke World War II Memorial

Just a few minutes out of Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, a B-24 Liberator on a training mission slammed into the tree tops and rock cliff face of nearby Mt. Holyoke. It was May, 1944. The crew of ten on Army Air Corps flight training were killed instantly in the explosion.

In 1989 this granite monument was dedicated to their memory. Unlike many World War II memorials in the US, this monument does not merely commemorate these fallen men, it marks their place of death.

Most of the flight crew were not New Englanders. The radio operator was from Massachusetts. The wives of a couple of the crew members took apartments in South Hadley, and could have heard the crash that night, and the wail of sirens that followed. South Hadley fire fighters, as well as the fire departments of surrounding towns arrived to help put out the fireball on top of the mountain, and many civilians tried to claw their way up the mountain to reach the men, but it was too late for any rescue attempt. World War II was over for those men, and nothing would be the same for their families. It was a terrible accident that brought the war home to an otherwise quiet part of the world.

Been there? Tell us, or share your experiences at other New England war memorials.


Anonymous said...

Arnold Anderson was my cousin. All we knew athe time of the crash was that the plane was supposedly overloade and on a night flight.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your comment. How sad that your cousin and the other young men in this crew were lost on this training accident. I'm not sure the exact cause was ever fully determined, but I imagine many factors contributed. As the names of the crew were not mentioned in the article, I'll just state here for our readers that your cousin, Arnold Anderson, was 23 years old at the time, a gunner, and was reportedly from Chicago.

Anonymous said...

Arnold Anderson
Have recently talked to another cousin who was in the Air Force at that time the plane was fueled with the wrong fuel and could nt get up the speed to lift over the mountain

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Thanks for that update. It certainly is a mysterious, and very sad incident.

Anonymous said...

Arnold Anderson is buried in
Concordia Cemetary Along with his Parents Forest park,Illinois

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