Uniontown, AL Army Bomber Crash, Dec 1938
ARMY BOMBER'S EXPLOSION DEAD MAY REACH NINE.
Uniontown, Ala., Dec. 24. -- Broken bits of bodies recovered over a 60-acre indicated Saturday seven, or possibly nine, men died Friday night in the explosion and crash of a two-motored army bomber two miles southeast of here.
Major Warren A. Maxwell, operations officer at Maxwell field, Montgomery, Ala., said a tramp over the area Saturday "convinced" him at least seven persons were killed.
Effects recovered indicated nine persons might have been killed, but reports from Hamilton Field, Calif., said only seven soldiers left there Thursday aboard the plane en route to Mitchell Field, N.Y.
An eighth member, army sources said, apparently boarded the plane at March Field, Calif., but alighted at some point before the big B-18 type plane plummeted down thru a rainstorm.
The terrific explosion shook many houses in the vicinity.
Hamilton Field, San Rafael, Calif., released the names of the following as those who left there with the ship en route to New York via Maxwell Field:
First Lieut. JAMES D. UNDERHILL, 28, pilot, Morgantown, N.C., whose pocketbook was found in the wreckage.
Second Lieut. JOHN W. POLLARD, Weaco, Calif., air corps reserves, co-pilot. Both he and UNDERHILL were unmarried.
Second Lieut. JOHN H. HYDLE, Thirtieth infantry, Presidio, Calif., whose checkbook was located in the debris. He was a passenger and his parents live in Willston, N.D.
Capt. FRED RUEBE, JR., Medical corps, Letterman hospital, San Francisco, unmarried, a passenger.
Private HUMBERT NARRO, 27, radio operator, Los Angeles.
Private BEN L. JONES, 34, Los Angeles.
SHELDON S. JOHNSON, 26, Northville, N.Y.
Mud Hinders Inquiry.
WARREN WUNDERLISH, service connection listed as "unknown" at Hamilton, was reported to have boarded the plane at March Field, and effects found in the scattered wreckage indicated a Captain REFBER also had died, altho some were of the opinion tis might have become entangled with Captain RUEBE'S name.
Knee deep mud hindered investigation and reclamation, and most of those who came because of curiosity went away horror struck. Even veteran newsmen and photographers turned away.
The plane took off Thursday on a navigation flight. It cleared Henley Field, Texas, and passed Barksdale Field, Shreveport, La., without landing only a short time before tragedy overtook it.
Frank Glese, Uniontown businessman, said clothes were blown from parts of bodies recovered and expressed the opinion "the plane exploded before it hit the ground, altho there is some uncertainty."
Blazes from the burning wreckage attracted crowds from miles around. A rainstorm drenched the flames.
Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1938-12-24