416th Bombardment Group (L)
Aircraft Accident Report 44-10-1-3
October 1, 1943, Friday
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Aircraft Serial Number (Type): 42-54040 (Douglas A-20G-10-DO Havoc)
3rd AF; 416th Bomb Gp; 669th Bomb Sq
Reason: Killed In Crash Ground Collision (KCRGC)
Damage: Completely destroyed (5)
Point Of Departure: Lake Charles AAFld, Louisiana
Location: The Gulf of Mexico four miles off shore and three miles west of Calcasieu Pass, Louisiana
Nature of Accident: Pilot failed to recover from peel-off and struck the water.
Cause of Accident: Pilot apparently banked too steeply in peel-off, and in attempting to recover, hit right wing tip on surface of the water, and then hit the water, airplane disintegrating and causing fatal injuries to himself and two gunners.
On October 1, 2nd Lt Walter C. Morris, with his gunners, Sgt Everette L. Bass and Sgt Hughes M. Braun, crashed and sank into the Gulf while on a minimum altitude missions. Their bodies were never recovered.
(416th BG History 1943)
10-1-43D. Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana. At 1116, a Douglas A-20G crashed into the Gulf of Mexico four miles off shore and three miles west of Calcasieu Pass, Louisiana, killing pilot 2Lt. Walter C. Morris, gunner Sgt. Everette L. Bass and gunner Sgt. Hughes M. Braud. Investigators stated, "Three airplane flight [of A-20s] went over the Gulf of Mexico on a gunnery mission. Not being able to find their targets, they fired their ammunition at various objects, and the would form an echelon formation, peel off, and then re-form in echelon. After two or three such maneuvers, the leader peeled off to the left from an echelon to the right, being at an altitude of approximately 550 to 650 feet, and the second airplane in the echelon, piloted by Lt. Morris, was seen to stay in a steep bank and slip toward the surface of the water. Just before striking the water he was seen to bank sharply to the right, his right wingtip striking the water and the outer three or four feet of the wingtip bent upward. He then pulled up 15 to 20 feet in the air, as though recovering, then hit the water, the airplane disintegrating and disappearing below the surface of the water."
(Mireles, Vol. 2, Pg. 536)