Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: 4 RAF POs killed in California.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default 4 RAF POs killed in California.

    In the SACRAMENTO (EAST LAWN) CEMETERY in California there are Commonwealth War Graves for
    four Pilot Officers killed on 5 February 1943
    HODGE, FRED Pilot Officer 135701; LATOUR-EPPY, JOHN RICHARD Pilot Officer 135693; MORIARTY, JOHN HICKSON GORDON Pilot Officer 135694; and PATERSON, JAMES ALEXANDER Pilot Officer 135695
    I've been told that they were killed as the result of a mid-air collision when they were test flying two American aircraft.
    Is this the case? Is the sequence of service numbers significant? Any info. please.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    6,560
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 47 Times in 45 Posts

    Default

    Hello,

    5-2-1943 J. Sacramento, California.

    At 2130 two North American AT-6A type airplanes collided in mid-air and crashed two miles north-east of Mather Field, Sacramento, California, killing four RAF fliers aboard both airplanes. RAF Pilot Officer John G. Moriarty and Pilot Officer James A. Paterson were killed in the crash of AT-6A #41-439. RAF Pilot Officer Fred Hodges[sic] and Pilot Officer John R. Latour-Eppy were killed in the crash of AT-6A #41-583. Investigation revealed that both airplanes were practicing take-offs and landings at Mather Field and were in the traffic pattern at an altitude of approximately 800 feet agl. AT-6A #41-583 was turning onto the base leg when the propeller of AT-6A 41-439 struck its fuselage from behind and just aft of the rear cockpit, cutting through the fuselage and severing the tail section. Both airplanes fell out of control. With its propeller damaged and the port horizontal stabilizer and elevator severed, AT-6A #41-439 rolled over to an inverted position and dove into the ground where it exploded into flames. AT-6A #41-583 immediately dove straight into the ground where it erupted into flames upon impact. All of the occupants were killed instantly upon impact.

    See:
    Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945. Vol.1: Introduction, January 1941-June 1943.
    Mireles,Anthony.J.
    Jefferson:McFarland & Co.,2006.
    p.262.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 30th August 2012 at 18:04.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,660
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

    Default

    Ken/Col,
    Interesting. A couple of my Commissioned Met Men's Officer Numbers bracket (quite closely) your 4 guys. My 2 guys were both Commissioned 2 Jan 43. Now I know that Officer's Numbering in WW2 is an absolute minefield. But it does seem a bit odd that (if they were Commissioned early Jan 43) they should be flying into one another on the other side of the planet only a month later! Very strange!
    HTH
    Resmoroh
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Bewdley, UK
    Posts
    2,703
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    The main group were gazetted on 16th Dec 1942

    http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/35940/pages/1249/page.pdf

    I think that you will find they were already flying together in America and had all been commissioned on gaining wings.

    This was an advanced stage of training in the last period of the Arnold Scheme..

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,871
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 38 Times in 37 Posts

    Default

    GRO has Moriarty as being at the Instructors School so they were probably being trained as instructors

    Malcolm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Many thanks to you all. It's really nice when a "story" turns out to be true.
    I understand that the aircraft concerned were known as Harvards by the RAF.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    near Grimsby, Lincs.., UK
    Posts
    102
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default 4 RAF POs killed in California.

    Ken,
    I think these must have been ex-Arnold Scheme trainees held over in the USA for Flying Instructor training. The Arnold Scheme schools were all in the South-Eastern States.

    RAF training was undertaken at Nos.2 and 7 British Flying Training Schools in California but these had closed by the end of the 1942.

    Most likely they will have been commissioned as Pilot Offficers on completion of their training at a USAAF/Arnols Scheme advanced school. There were five of these, one each at Selma, Dothan, and Montgomery in Alabama and Albany and Valdosta, in Georgia.

    According to "The Arnold Scheme" by Gilbert S. Guinn, the total intake of RAF trainees was 7,885, of which 3,392 were eliminated before completing their training. Of those that successfully graduated from their advanced training 1,070 were commissioned as Pilot Officers and of these 577 were assigned to Duty as Flying Instructors.

    Thank you for bringing these four casualites in California to light. I was not previously aware of them.
    Tony Broadhurst

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Cheers Tony - a pal is researching the men named on the City of Glasgow Police Memorial.
    (see: http://warmemscot.s4.bizhat.com/warmemscot-ftopic3434.html )
    One of these, James Alexander Paterson, was one of the men killed on 5 Feb. 1943 and it just struck us as "odd" that he should be buried in California.
    He was born in 1918 in Aberdeenshire and joined the Glasgow Poice in 1938. He enlisted in 1941.
    Interestingly of the 31 former policemen who were serving in the military, 23 were in the RAF.
    It might be significant that 9 of their colleagues, also named on the memorial, were killed in air-raids in March 1941.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Just like you know that these gentlemen are well taken care of. I live in Sacramento CA down the street from East Lawn Cemetery. I walk there every morning for an hour or so and am priviledged to pass by the final resting place of these four pilots who died near Mather Field (about 10 miles east). East Lawn is a very beautiful and historic city cemetery. They rest in the oldest and most beautiful part of the grounds. Published materials addressing our most notable "residents" (goldrush miners, Wyatt Earp's brother, 19th century millionaires, etc.) always include these fine gentlemen. Be assured, they are resting in formation, under British soil brought here for their burial.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •