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SGT George W. Wilson
Cenotaph

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SGT George W. Wilson

Birth
Death
8 Apr 1944 (aged 34)
At Sea
Cenotaph
New Hartford, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA Add to Map
Memorial ID
View Source
On April 7, 1944, an Army Air Force B-24, on a training mission, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean near Montauk Point. Eleven soldiers including Sgt. George W. Wilson were lost in a military mystery that has never been solved.

================

Aircraft Accident Report No. 5296.

The report detailed that the B-24 departed Westover Field in Massachusetts on a clear day, headed for the training area in the open ocean 20 miles south of Montauk Point, with a second plane. Their mission: "high-altitude camera and gunnery."

At an altitude of 20,000 feet, on the first run over the training range, Jachim's plane radioed the other plane to report engine trouble. The B-24 broke formation.

The report indicates that the last known position of the plane was 25 miles south of Montauk Point, heading north, presumably back to Westover.

At some point after that, the plane radioed Westover, but the call was garbled. That was the final transmission.

Search turns up nothing

The search involved dozens of planes and vessels and extended over a wide area, as far as 100 miles south of Long Island and north to Nova Scotia. A life raft was spotted from the air on April 9 - where, the records don't say. The search was abandoned on April 16. Not a body, not a scrap of the plane was ever found.

As for what might have happened, the report concluded, simply: "Cause: unknown." It offered a guess: "The only reasonable explanation seems to be fire and explosion on board."

==============

Information below is from the official Army investigation conducted after the disappearance.

The B-24 Liberator

Service life: December 1939-1944

Length: 67 feet, 2 inches

Wingspan: 110 feet

Height: 18 feet

Cruising speed: 290 mph

Ceiling: 28,000 feet

Range: 2,000 miles

Weaponry: Six 0.50-caliber guns; bomb load of 8,000 pounds

Notes: More B-24s were produced during World War II than the more famous B-17 Flying Fortress. B-24s were believed to have dropped 630,000 tons of bombs over targets in four years of service.

How it happened

2:40 p.m.: The B-24, piloted by 2nd Lt. Kenneth Wigness and code-numbered 42-7525, takes off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Mass. Plane is headed to waters south of Montauk Point for a high-altitude gunnery mission.

3 p.m.: Position report from aircraft indicates it is over gunnery area at 20,000 feet. Another such report is relayed at 4:07 p.m.

4:45 p.m.: 42-7525 radioes another B-24, saying it may lose an engine. Wigness' plane requests permission to break formation, which is granted, and he is cleared to return to Westover. Because planes often return from missions with mechanical difficulties, 42-7525 is not followed back to the coastline.

5:06 p.m.: 42-7525 calls ground station at Westover, which replies, but makes no further contact. It is last contact with Wigness' plane.

Midnight, April 8 1944: Navy and Coast Guard begin rescue efforts.

The crew lost:
2Lt. Kenneth E. Wigness, Pilot
2Lt. Gene W Sloan, Co-pilot
2Lt. Martin J Kew, Instructor/Navigator
2Lt. Rufus Ronald Nelson, Navigator
2Lt. Frederick G Rhodes, Bombardier
Staff Sgt. Edward J Clancy, Radio operator
Staff Sgt. Joseph Albert Jachim, Gunner
Staff Sgt. Robert G McLaughlin, Engineer
Sgt. Joseph L Hartzel, Radio operator
Sgt. Chester Webb, Radio operator
Sgt. George W Wilson, Jr, Gunner

SOURCES: U.S. Army Air Forces Report of Accident, Issued April 24, 1944.
RESEARCHED BY J. STEPHEN SMITH AND GRAHAM RAYMAN
On April 7, 1944, an Army Air Force B-24, on a training mission, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean near Montauk Point. Eleven soldiers including Sgt. George W. Wilson were lost in a military mystery that has never been solved.

================

Aircraft Accident Report No. 5296.

The report detailed that the B-24 departed Westover Field in Massachusetts on a clear day, headed for the training area in the open ocean 20 miles south of Montauk Point, with a second plane. Their mission: "high-altitude camera and gunnery."

At an altitude of 20,000 feet, on the first run over the training range, Jachim's plane radioed the other plane to report engine trouble. The B-24 broke formation.

The report indicates that the last known position of the plane was 25 miles south of Montauk Point, heading north, presumably back to Westover.

At some point after that, the plane radioed Westover, but the call was garbled. That was the final transmission.

Search turns up nothing

The search involved dozens of planes and vessels and extended over a wide area, as far as 100 miles south of Long Island and north to Nova Scotia. A life raft was spotted from the air on April 9 - where, the records don't say. The search was abandoned on April 16. Not a body, not a scrap of the plane was ever found.

As for what might have happened, the report concluded, simply: "Cause: unknown." It offered a guess: "The only reasonable explanation seems to be fire and explosion on board."

==============

Information below is from the official Army investigation conducted after the disappearance.

The B-24 Liberator

Service life: December 1939-1944

Length: 67 feet, 2 inches

Wingspan: 110 feet

Height: 18 feet

Cruising speed: 290 mph

Ceiling: 28,000 feet

Range: 2,000 miles

Weaponry: Six 0.50-caliber guns; bomb load of 8,000 pounds

Notes: More B-24s were produced during World War II than the more famous B-17 Flying Fortress. B-24s were believed to have dropped 630,000 tons of bombs over targets in four years of service.

How it happened

2:40 p.m.: The B-24, piloted by 2nd Lt. Kenneth Wigness and code-numbered 42-7525, takes off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Mass. Plane is headed to waters south of Montauk Point for a high-altitude gunnery mission.

3 p.m.: Position report from aircraft indicates it is over gunnery area at 20,000 feet. Another such report is relayed at 4:07 p.m.

4:45 p.m.: 42-7525 radioes another B-24, saying it may lose an engine. Wigness' plane requests permission to break formation, which is granted, and he is cleared to return to Westover. Because planes often return from missions with mechanical difficulties, 42-7525 is not followed back to the coastline.

5:06 p.m.: 42-7525 calls ground station at Westover, which replies, but makes no further contact. It is last contact with Wigness' plane.

Midnight, April 8 1944: Navy and Coast Guard begin rescue efforts.

The crew lost:
2Lt. Kenneth E. Wigness, Pilot
2Lt. Gene W Sloan, Co-pilot
2Lt. Martin J Kew, Instructor/Navigator
2Lt. Rufus Ronald Nelson, Navigator
2Lt. Frederick G Rhodes, Bombardier
Staff Sgt. Edward J Clancy, Radio operator
Staff Sgt. Joseph Albert Jachim, Gunner
Staff Sgt. Robert G McLaughlin, Engineer
Sgt. Joseph L Hartzel, Radio operator
Sgt. Chester Webb, Radio operator
Sgt. George W Wilson, Jr, Gunner

SOURCES: U.S. Army Air Forces Report of Accident, Issued April 24, 1944.
RESEARCHED BY J. STEPHEN SMITH AND GRAHAM RAYMAN

Inscription


In Memory of
George W. Wilson
Sgt US Army Air Corps
World War II

Gravesite Details

Missing, body never recovered.


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  • Created by: Kelly in CT
  • Added: Apr 26, 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36408207/george_w-wilson: accessed ), memorial page for SGT George W. Wilson (13 Nov 1909–8 Apr 1944), Find a Grave Memorial ID 36408207, citing Pine Grove Cemetery, New Hartford, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA; Maintained by Kelly in CT (contributor 47077034).