Richard W. Nellis
DEATH 15 Jan 1943 (aged 22–23)
BURIAL North Watertown Cemetery
Watertown, Jefferson County, New York, USA
PLOT N.W. SEC. M
"Lt. Dick Nellis and his infectious smile, which all who knew him will well remember, drowned off Jones Beach NY, January 15, 1943. Nellis is an unrecognized hero. While testing a Republic P-47 over Long Island, his P-47, maybe the one in this picture, caught fire on a training mission. He stuck with it, piloting his flaming P-47 out to sea, until he was sure it would not crash on land to avoid crashing in a populated area. When he bailed out the wind blew him out to sea. He lost his life!" P. R. Adair
Watch the video of Lt. Phil Adair remembering Lt. Nellis's crash, death and funeral. Rest in Peace Sir! Slow Salute!
Thanks to Robin Adair and the Adair family.
Photos by Lt. Phil Adair
23 March, 1943 A Republic P-47C-2-RE Thunderbolt, 41-6292, of the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352d Fighter Group, crashed into Barnard Hall at Hofstra College shortly after take-off from Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York, hitting the west side near the roof and setting the building afire. Pilot Earl D. Hayward died. The blaze was brought under control within 45 minutes by firemen from MF, Hempstead, East Hempstead and Uniondale. No students were in the vicinity at the time. The Eastern Defense Command in New York City announced that the pilot was killed. He had taken off from Mitchel Field on a training mission shortly before the crash. This crash led to the abandonment of the use of Runway 18/36 at Mitchel Field.
430415 P-47C 41-6426 328FS 352FG Mitchel Field, NY KEX
Shofner, Don G USA NY
Into Atlantic Ocean off Long Island, NY
(actually Long Island Sound)
6426 (MSN 532) Bedford Field, MA; "Imp"; 328th FS, 352nd FG, 1st AF, Mitchel Field, Hempstead, Long Island, NY; Exploded 15 Apr 43 and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean (Long Island Sound) off Long Island near Coast Guard Station 94, NY; Pilot killed;
Newsday: April 16, 1943
Possibly the last photo of Gaston ever taken, at Mitchel Field winter 43, shortly before the crash.
"On 15 April 1943, Lt. Shofner took off from Mitchel Field in a P-47 and achieved an altitude of about 4,000 ft. About 0730 his plane exploded over Northport Bay and fell into Long Island Sound, soon sinking to the bottom.
The plane sank before the body could be immediately recovered. (More about the fate of the plane is below.) In June 1943 the family traveled all the way from Arkansas to New York, and actually went out with the Army on Long Island Sound to look for it. Their determination paid off: the body was found on 22 June, and brought back to Morrilton."
"The “ship” was not recovered, and so the cause of the explosion was not determined. Theories such as sabotage and mechanical failure were floated at the time. The most probable cause of the explosion is that, because of a leak between the fuel pump and the carburetor, petrol had gathered in the accessory section behind the engine. The petrol was ignited by the hot exhaust manifold and blew the engine off of the front of the plane. Gaston was doubtless either killed instantly or upon impact into Long Island Sound."
"At 1500 27 June 1943 Don Gaston Shofner’s funeral took place at Bethel Baptist Church in Morrilton, Arkansas, and he was laid to rest in Elmwood Cemetery on the other side of town. His family never recovered from his death. Unlike him, they were not ready for his passing, and the effects of his loss transcended generations."
The text above is a condensed version of Don Warrington's wonderful narrative from his family's history page. Lt. Shofner was Don's uncle (Don's mother's brother). Thanks to Don for permission to use his text and photos. For more info and details visit Don's excellent website at his home page.......
On Long Island Sound, Gaston’s father Pem Shofner, his sister Vernell and Gaston’s mother Ina.
Video: Lt. Don Gaston Shofner's P-47 Plane Wreckage
On 15 April 1943, while on a training flight the P-47 of Lt. Don G. Shofner exploded over the Long Island Sound. The body was recovered in June 22, 1943 but the plane was undiscovered until the 1980's. This video was taken in January 2014 by Bob Contreras, whose main mission is the discovery of the wreckage of Owen Allred (depicted as #9 in the opening photo.) My thanks to Bob for the video and all of his efforts, your support of his to find Major Allred is appreciated.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Monday, 10 May 1943
CLEVELAND FIGHTER PILOT
DIES IN EASTERN CRASH
Second Lieut. Robert O. Jamison, 22,
Cleveland Army flier, was killed shortly
after noon yesterday when his fighter
plane crashed and burned in the Village
of Hempstead, N.Y.
Details of the crash from an Associated
Press dispatch were verified to his
parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gernard G. Jamison,
11410 Hazeldell Road, N.E. by the flier's
commanding officer at the Mitchel Field
Air Base, who called the parents by phone.
The Eastern Defense Command, through which
the announcement of the crash was made,
said the airplane struck a grapevine trellis,
but avoided a house and barn, which the
trellis connected. The plane crashed
on the lawn of a private home at Fairview
and Rose Streets, Hempstead. Cause of
the accident, which occurred as the flier
was coming in for a landing on Mitchell
Field, had not been determined.
BIRTH 1920 DEATH 9 May 1943 (aged 22–23)
BURIAL United Brethren Cemetery
Harrison County, Ohio, USA
COL Phillip R Love
BIRTH 6 Nov 1903
DEATH 31 May 1943 (aged 39)
Lander County, Nevada, USA
BURIAL Valhalla Cemetery
Bel-Nor, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
PLOT Psalms Row A #31
Love, center with white scarf. Photo from the National Guard Magazine, March 2014, Vol. 68, No. 3, page 34. courtesy of Greg Raike.
Col. Philip Love was a close friend of and flew with fellow pilot, Charles A. Lindbergh, in pioneer air mail service, Saint Louis-Chicago Route, 1926-27. Lindbergh asked Love to fly the escort plane during Lindbergh's three-month tour of the United States in the Spirit of St. Louis on behalf of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics.
430614 P-47D 42-8242 359FS 356FG Mitchel Field, NY BOEF
Ogden, Harold A USA NY Into Atlantic Ocean, 1 Mi S Rockaway Beach, NY
8242 (MSN 390) 359th FS, 356th FG, 1st AF, Mitchel Field, Hempstead, Long Island, NY; Destroyed 14 June, 43 after engine failure and crashing into the Atlantic Ocean, one mile S of Rockaway Beach, NY; Pilot bailed out
Newsday June 16, 1943