668th BS Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

1Lt. Scott Brewer Ritchie Jr.

Pilot,  O-026239

Killed In Training - Jun 30, 1944

668th Bombardment Squadron (L)


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Pilot Wings        Missing Man

      Born: 03-Dec-1919, Elizabeth City, , Virginia

Entered Military Service: Date: 1-Jul-1940 At: USMA From: Middlesex County, Massachusetts

Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, Plot: Sec: 12, Site: 760

On-line Memorials:
National World War II Registry

First Lt. Scott B. Ritchie, Jr., 24, son of Col. Scott B. Ritchie and Mrs. Ritchie of 6811 Eighth street N.W., was killed in action in England the War Department has announced.

Lt. Ritchie was graduated from West Point in 1943 and went overseas last January. He won the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster while serving with the 9th Air Force.

Born in Fort Monroe, Va., Lt. Ritchie was graduated from Western High School. Besides his parents he is survived by a sister, Alice Lee, a student at William and Mary College. Col. Ritchie in in the War Department with the ordnance division.

Extracted from Newspapers.com

On 30 June 1944, Lt. Scott B. Ritchie, with gunners Ssgt Anderson and Ssgt Smith was assigned to a smoke mission in support of the RAF. Their aircraft crashed suddenly and unexpectedly without explanation. The 668th history reads: "One minute the ship was flying in the air -- the next, a twisted crumpled heap on the ground. Lt. Ritchie, renown for bringing ships in under pressure, was great pilot. He proved his ability in bringing in a flamer at Lake Charles. Next, bringing a sieve of a plane in here [Wethersfield] after a mission." Lt. Ritchie was a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, class of 1942.

Pilot's mission: Returning to home base after participating in practice chemical mission.

Nature of accident: Plane went into a very steep left turn and crashed, bursting into flames.

Cause of accident: Engine failure immediately after take-off.

Narrative: At 1323, 30 June 1944, Lt. Ritchie took off in A-20G035 ACSN 43-10194 to return to his home station after having participated in a practice smoke mission. He took off on runway to the southwest and had completed a left turn approximately half way around the field when the airplane was observerd to go into a very steep left turn and crash. It burst into flames upon impact with the ground.

The aircraft was scattered over a distance of approximately 350 yards. The wreckage was examined to determine the cause of the accident. All control surfaces that were not destroyed were examined and found to be properly attached and safetied. The engine and propellors were examined but it was impossible to determine whether an engine had failed. There was no indication of either propellor having been feathered.

All evidence indicates that the left engine failed while the airplane was in a turn at an altitude of approximately 500 feet. From the statements of the witnesses, and attitude of aircraft upon contact with the ground, the pilot had enough control to keep the airplane from rolling over when the engine failed but was unable to regain a level position. As the airplane slowed down the bank increased due to the fact that as speed decreased aileron control decreased. The left wing and engine struck the ground first with sufficient forward speed to scatter parts of the aircraft over a wide area.

Also on that last day of the month, in an unfortunate training accident, 1st Lt. Scott B. Ritchie, Jr., was killed. Killed with him were his two gunners, S/Sgt. Edwin A. Anderson and Sgt. Howard W. Smith. He was taking off at a nearby field, with chemical tanks on the wings, when one engine cut out. The plane pancaked in and cracked up. Their remains have been placed interred in the American Military Cemetery in Cambridge, England.
(416th BG History 1944)

On 30 June, First Lieutenant Scott B. Ritchie Jr., 0 26 239, Staff Sergeant Edwin A. Anderson, 31 324 736, and Staff Sergeant Harold W. Smith, 33 568 884, were killed when their ship unaccountably crashed shortly after take-off on a training smoke-mission. Lieutenant Ritchie was a graduate of the West Point class of 1943, and had been with the Squadron since September of that year. He was an excellent and courageous flyer who on more than one occasion distinguished himself by successfully landing badly damaged aircraft. Lieutenant Ritchie had flown 36 combat missions. Staff Sergeant Anderson, who came overseas with the unit, was a veteran of 42 missions. Staff Sergeant Smith had flown 20 combat sorties.

See also Missing Air Crew Report MACR 15923 - Request for information regarding death of Staff Sergeant Harold W. Smith.

("668th Bombardment Squadron (L) History")

See also AAR 44-6-30-524 / MACR 15923

Photos and Documents
1920 US Census
1930 US Census
1940 US Census
USMA Portrait
US Army Register 1944
Sunday, November 19, 1944, Evening Star (Washington (DC), District of Columbia) Page 2
The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 2 Jul 1948, Fri Main Edition ,Page 8
Interment Control Form
Interment Control Form
Rosters Of WW II Dead
WW II Army and Army Air Force Casualty List
National World War II Memorial Registry

Source information can be viewed at WWII Military Service Fatalities Sources

"Goin' Home" courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Band