Copeland, KS Bomber Crashes Into Home, Sep 1944



Copeland, Kans. -- A Liberator bomber from the Liberal army air base crashed in flames, striking a farmhouse half a mile south of this Gray County town, at 9:20 p.m. (MWT) Sunday, killing two occupants of the farmhouse, and all crewmen aboard the plane, probably 11 men, or 13 in all. Two other occupants of the house are in critical condition from burns.
O. H. HATFIELD, prominent Gray County farmer, and his one-year-old grandson, JAY SETTLE, were killed.
MRS. HATFIELD and MRS. DEAN SETTLE, the baby's mother, were seriously burned and were removed to a Dodge City hospital.
The bomber was seen flying over Copeland in distress at a low level. It burst into flames, barely missing striking the town of Copeland, and hit the HATFIELD home.

House Burned.
The house immediately burst into flames and within 15 minutes was destroyed.
None of the crew in the bomber had a chance to bail out here and unless some managed to leave the plane before it reached the low level here, all must have perished.
MRS. SETTLE is the wife of Capt. Dean Settle, with the army air corps in England, pilot of a B-17 bomber. Capt. Settle had recently been home on a 30 day leave, having completed 35 missions as a bomber pilot over Germany.

Former State Legislator.
MRS. SETTLE accompanied him to the Atlantic seaboard on his return to overseas duty, and she arrived home just a week ago. She and the baby were staying with her parents.
HATFIELD was prominent in Gray County affairs, served as member of the state legislature, and for years was chairman of the Republican county central committee.

Partial List Of Crew Victims:
Second Lieutenant LAWRENCE H. ESLINGER, 26, 1642 Fairchild, Manhattan, Kan., co-pilot.
Staff Sgt. CLARENCE A. BOSTON, 26, son of Mrs. Sadie Boston, Council Grove, Kan.
Lieutenant KENNETH O. WEST, 22, husband of Mrs. Barbara Jean West of Washburn, Wis.
Corporal JOHN F. KELLEY, 19, son of Mrs. Angela H. Kelley, Springville, Iowa.

Hutchinson News Herald Kansas 1944-09-18