Denver, CO Bomber Crash, Sep 1943


(Associated Press)
Denver, Sept. 26 -- A four-engined Liberator bomber crashed in a south Denver residential section today killing at least seven army airmen, but no civilians were hurt.
The B-24, based at nearby Lowry Field, struck a wooden garage adjoining a wide vacant lot and exploded. Two houses a short distance away were partially burned when a great sheet of flame shot out of the wreckage.
Occupants of the houses raced to safety and within a short time the Denver fire department had the fires under control.
Thousands of persons gathered at the scene within minutes after the explosion rocked the block.
An eye witness, Homer A. LaPee, who resides in the same block, 2508 South Downing, gave this account of the crash to Deputy Coroner Gus Economy:
"I was working in my back yard about 9:20 a.m. when I saw the plane coming in low from the direction of Denver University. Its left engine was dead and it apparently was having trouble trying to gain altitude."
"When it was directly overhead, the pilot must have noticed the vacant lot because it looked to me like he was trying to pancake a landing. It all happened within a split second. The plane crashed and exploded. A sheet of flame shot up about 60 feet and seemed to fall over the houses."
"The heat was so intense that you couldn't get close. I noticed wreckage flying thru the air over the front of the plane within a split second after the crash."
Power and telephone lines running in back of the houses in the vicinity were sheared away.
The public relations office at Lowry Field said it could not be at once determined whether more than seven died in the crash.
A board of officers from Lowry Field convened to investigate the crash -- the first in the city proper in recent years. Identities of the victims were withheld pending notification of next of kin.

(Associated Press)
Denver, Sept. 26 -- Those killed in the crash of a Liberator bomber at Denver today listed by the Lowry Field public relations office were:
Sgt. LAWRENCE GADDIE, Seattle, Wash.
Flight Officer RAYMOND WARREN HANSEN, Stony Hill District, Bethel, Conn.
Sgt. GEORGE J. GRABOWSKI, Westfield, Ill.
Sgt. ALBERT J. LEYLAND, Woodbury Road, R. I.
2nd Lt. JOHN K. DESMOND, Everett, Mass.
Sgt. HAROLD L. STEWART, Elkhart, Ind.
Flight Officer KENNETH CHARLES KERKELESS, Nashville, Tenn.

Greeley Daily Tribune Colorado 1943-09-27


B-24 Crash 9/26/1943

Bob, I am wondering if your brother had anything to add to his observations of the crash? My uncle, Lt. John Desmond was the bombardier on the plane and would have perhaps been visible as he sat in the glass bubble under the cockpit. i'd appreciate hearing from him, if he is still alive. Thanks, Len Hickman

WWII military aircrash in Denver

I was 5 months old and the son of Homer LaPee, at the time of this unfortunate aircrash. My brother, Chuck LaPee, also witnessed this accident. Chuck was with his dad working in their garden when this aircrash occured. Later, as a 5 year-old, I wondered what had caused that big hole in the ground beside our house.