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Hinsdale, IL Plane Crash, Sept 1961

D. O'MALIA, New York.
MRS. J. SCHMIDT, boarded in Chicago.
BOB SEIGEL, traveling on government transportation receipt issued in Santa Monica.
MRS. MARIE-THERESE SCHILINQUER, Boston, French translator for Christian Science Publishing, Co., en route for visit in San Francisco, formerly her home.
ALBERT SKURCENSKI, Inglewood, en route home after visit with SKURCENSKI'S mother in Pittsburgh.
MISS SUN, New York.
MRS. CAROL W. WALLS, Streator, Ill.
WALLS Infant.
MRS. ESTELLA WOODS, 67, 5865 Agra St., Bell Gardens, where lived with daughter, MRS. GERTRUDE PRITCHARD; been visiting at Binghamton, N. Y., with families of her son, MALVERN, and two daughters, MRS. HERBERT LOBBELL and MRS. LORETTA PERRY.
MRS. S. WOOD, boarded at Pittsburgh.
WALDREN, New York.
NANCY WALKER, 17, Oakland, Calif., daughter of MR. AND MRS. RAYMOND A. WALKER, Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical, Co.
Capt. R. SANDERS, boarded at Chicago, apparently not related to Capt. JAMES H. SANDERS, plant's pilot.
The Crew:
Capt. JAMES H. SANDERS, Manhattan Beach.
First Officer DALE TARRANT, Redondo Beach.
Flight Engineer JAMES C. NEWLIN, Balboa Beach.
Hostess NANETTE FIDGER, Hermosa Beach.
Hostess BARBARA J. PEARSON, Santa Monica.

San Mateo Times California 1961-09-01



Disaster Ninth Worst in Aviation's History; Wreckage Combed for Clues.

Radio Ham Monitored Pilot's Last Words: 'Got an Electrical Fire - What Should I Do?'

Corn Field Littered with Bodies of Victims; Rain Shields Ghoulish Looters Robbing Dead.

HINSDALE, Ill. (UPI) - A Trans World Airlines Constellation with 78 persons aboard plunged to earth today and exploded with such a roar that householders feared an atomic bomb had fallen. There were no survivors.
TWA officials in Chicago raised the death count from 77 to 78 seven hours after the crash with the discovery that an infant, JAMES CHAMBERLAIN, had been on board the ill-fated Boston-to-San Francisco flight with his family.
The all-coach plane, carrying some families of vacationers on their way to Labor Day weekend holidays, was enveloped in a ball of orange flame at 2:06 a. m. CDT, three minutes after it had roared off the runway at Chicago's Midway field bound for Las Vegas, Nev.
The plane plummeted like an arrow into a corn and soybean field on the outskirts of the community of Clarendon Hills, close by this western Chicago suburb.

Continued on page 6


Roger Berrif

I was born in Jan 62 after Roger died, and he was not aware he had a son. Would like to know more about him. Are you able to help?

You are correct Mr. Lincoln.

You are correct Mr. Lincoln. Thank you for clarifying the matter.

Chamberlain family

Ted Chamberlain and his wife Nancy were my parents' best friends. Ted and my father were both very successful architects working at my father's firm, Stedman & Williams, AIA, in Palo Alto, CA. I remember my parents' horror when they heard about this tragedy.
I remember they were a wonderful family. This crash was the first time I remember people talking about the need for families to split up when they travel by plane (notice how many others victims are families).

Marilyn Waldron

Robert Hemken Jr., I am Marilyn's cousin. Her mother & my father were siblings. I was 22 when she was killed. I remember the day the Waldron's all left New York State for their cross country trek to live in California. You are Elaine's son correct?

Nancy Grant Chamberlain was

Nancy Grant Chamberlain was the daughter or Eugene L Grant who was professor at Stanford University. Her father was a pioneer in the area of Industrial Engineering and Quality Control.

not the only enlish person

are you sure silvia remnant born birkenhead merseyside son john aged 12 born birkenhead daughter beverly aged4 born birkenhead elmer remnant nationality not known trying to find out do you no

I've been reading the

I've been reading the comments from family members who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Clearly this disaster affected many. My father was a TWA Captain/Pilot. He was supposed to have been at the helm of this doomed plane as it took off out of Midway Airport, but due to a series of events he was not on that plane. My father had fallen a few weeks earlier and received a gash on his head, leaving him with a large bandage around his head. When he was cleared by the flight physician to return to active duty, the head of the flight deck decided my father's appearance might not instill confidence in passengers, so assigned him to a cargo flight instead. My father was flying a cargo flight when he heard about the disaster. It would have been his death if not for his stupid action which caused him to fall - he felt such guilt, always.

Facebook Group

I have created a group on Facebook for relatives and friends of the passengers on this flight: It is a place to share your memories and honor those we lost. Please come join us.


Chamberlain Family

I learned of this disaster after noticing the graves of six members of the Chamberlain family, all marked with 1961 as the year of death, at Fairview Cemetery in New Britain CT. Curious about the tragedy that claimed the family, I looked online (no luck) and then made some inquiries at the New Britain Public Library. There was nothing in the library's local history files (the crash was not a local event), but a research librarian found an Associated Press story that was published in the Hartford Courant.

The article is stored in a non-public database. I was not able to get or share a copy, but most of the information it contains is already available here. The only details I can add are that Mr. Chamberlain, known as "Teddy," was born and raised in New Britain, and worked as an architect in Palo Alto, CA, where he resided with his family. The Chamberlains had been visiting relatives in New Britain, and were returning home to California at the time of the crash.

The full names of family members, from their grave markers, are:

Edward North Chamberlain, born 1920
Nancy Grant Chamberlain, born 1924
Edward North Chamberlain Jr., born 1947
Richard Streeter Chamberlain, born 1952
Grant Davis Chamberlain, born 1958
James Livingston Chamberlain, born 1959

The Edward North Chamberlain family is buried in a family plot centered on the large tomb of Valentine Burt Chamberlain (1833-93), a prominent New Britain judge, former Connecticut state treasurer, and elder brother of Abiram Chamberlain (1837–1911), who served as Connecticut governor from 1903-05.

Presumably the elder Edward N. Chamberlain was Valentine B. Chamberlain's grandson.

My Uncle, Bob Aiken


My uncle, who was also 21, was a passenger on this flight, too. I never had the chance to know him. I am sorry for your loss of your friend, Roger.


article | by Dr. Radut