668th BS Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

S/Sgt. Harold W. Smith

Gunner,  33568884

Killed In Training - Jun 30, 1944

668th Bombardment Squadron (L)


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Gunner Wings        Missing Man

  Born: 01-Jan-1923, Potters Mills, Centre County, Pennsylvania

Entered Military Service: Date: 4-Jan-1943 At: Altoona, PA From: Centre County, Pennsylvania
NARA Enlistment Record: Enlisted Serial # 33568884

Buried: Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Plot A Row 2 Grave 3

On-line Memorials:
National World War II Registry     Overseas American Cemeteries
American Battle Monuments Commission

Up-State Soldier Killed in England

Bellefonte, July 17. - S/Sgt. Harold W. Smith, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Frank Smith, of Centre Hall, and husband of the former Anne McGovern, of Bellefonte, was killed in a plane crash "somewhere in England," according to a telegram received from the War Department by his wife this week.

Sergeant Smith, a top gunner aboard an A-20 low-level bomber, is believed to have been killed while returning to his base in England from a mission lending support to the invasion forces in France.

The county soldier entered service in January, 1943, and after training in the Air Forces at several airfields, arrived in England in May of this year. He was employed for a time ty the Electric Supply Company, Bellefonte, and at the time of entering service was employed as an electrician by the Harrisburg Steel Corporation.

Extracted from Newspapers.com

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
The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 19 Sep 1944, Tue, Main Edition, Page 2
Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) 17 July 1944
Headstone Inscription and Interment Record
WW II Service Compensation Application
WW II Service Compensation Application
Rosters Of WW II Dead
WW II Army and Army Air Force Casualty List
National World War II Memorial Registry
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