Bull Mountain, VA Bomber Crash, Mar 1944

Bull Mountain VA Bomber crash 1.jpg Bull Mountain VA bomber crash 2.jpg Memorial of Crash.jpg

"I watched the plane for several minutes and then suddenly there was a loud explosion and half way up the side of Bull Mountain there was a bright flash of light and we knew that the plane had been crashed. I at once telephoned a warning to Stuart and people in the neighborhood began gathering and set off to try and reach the scene." Williams, however did not go along. Williams said that the moment of the crash was 10:40 p.m.
Other men who returned from the scene of the crash said that the plane hit about half a mile from the firewatcher's tower on the summit of the mountain where lives a fire warden to spot forest fires.
No living person came out of the wreck of the bomber.
Early this morning Army officers began arriving here from Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C. and secured guides to lead them and details of soldiers up the side of the mountain to get the bodies out. It was said that efforts would be made at the spot to identify them and that the remains would be sent from here to Winston-Salem.
Bull Mountain is a well known landmark in Patrick County. Its broad back and its lofty reaches stand out on the horizon as one approaches Stuart from Horsepasture in Henry county. The big mountain so named because it suggests the shape of a bull separates Patrick county from Floyd county and it is not only one of the most inaccessible sections in this part of the country but one of the highest points in this part of the state. It has been said that bears are still to be found their and it abounds in wildcats and other faunae. Few people live there though on the fertile slopes some land has been cleared. Much of the timber has never been touched since primeval days and there are impenetrable sections probably never yet trodden by human feet.
Many years ago it was partly surveyes when the discovery was made that valuable manganese deposits are to be found there, but the difficulty of getting the material out of it led to the abandonment of the project launched by New York interests.
Early this afternoon the forest fire started by the explosion had been controlled but a cloud of smoke still hung over that section of the mountain which could be well seen from the lowlands.
All day long big planes hovered over the spot coming in low evidently examining the scene of the wreck from the air, the pilots talking back to their bases to give a picture of the scene. One plane circled over the section long before daylight today.
Before noon today an Army major was at the scene of the crash and it was said that steps were being taken to get the bodies back to Stuart where waiting hearses will convey them to a poing to be determined by the Army authorities.
It is believed that the military officers are conducting the usual investigation required by the Army of all airplane crashes involving the loss of human life.
Although the plane has been spoken of only as an Army bomber, some of the hundred or more people at the scene said that it was a Liberator. These planes are represented as having a value of $300,000 and statisticians have held that the government's investment in any flying officer represents an outlay of $40,000.
The expectation is that at some later date air corps engineers will visit the scene to see if the metal debris of the plane is worth salvage -- a difficult task in view of difficulties of the terrain.

The Bee Danville Virginia 1944-03-16

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NAMES OF CRASH VICTIMS LISTED.

Charleston, S.C., March 17. -- (AP) -- The Charleston army air base today made public the names and next of kin of 11 officers and men killed Wednesday night when a bomber crashed into Bull Mountain in Southwest Virginia, near Stuart.
Victims are:
2nd Lt. AUBREY E. BROWN, 24, Dallas, Tex., instructor-navigator.
2nd Lt. GILBERT R. FELTS, 26, Elkin, N.C., pilot,
Rufus C. Felts, father.
2nd Lt. JOHN R. GIPSON, 22, Logansport, Ind., co-pilot.
2nd Lt. WAYNE ALBER, 22, Manchester, Mich, bombardier.
Flight Officer HOWARD A. JENNETT, 21, Philadelphia, navigator.
Corp. CHARLIE B. HERRING, 23, Oxford, N.C., engineer, Mrs. Annie B. Herring, mother.
Sgt. NEALE M. NARRAMORE, 21, Elmdale, Kans., assistant radio operator.
Corp. JOSEPH L. FOUNTAIN, 23, Warren, Mass., assistant engineer.
Corp. CHARLES D. LIBBEY, 19, Waukesha, Wis., gunner.
Corp. CARL E. PIERCE, 23, Knoxville, Tenn., radio operator.
Pfc. JAMES J. TIFFNER, 20, Alkol, W. Va., gunner.

Gastonia Daily Gazette North Carolina 1944-03-17

Transcribers Note: Please see www.freestateofpatrick.com for an excellent account and photos of this accident.