Norfolk, VA Bomber And Fighter Collide, Dec 1947


Norfolk, Virginia -- Ens. JOSEPH WILLIAM AKINS, 21, of 910 Watauga Street, was the lone survivor when a patrol bomber and fighter plane collided 100 feet in the air Tuesday as they came in for landings at the Norfolk Naval Air Station, killing six of the bomber's crew and the pilot of the fighter plane.
Ensign AKINS, husband of the former Nancy Lee Pierce, third pilot on the bomber, was in the after gun blister at the time of the collision. He said he saw the starboard engine of the plane fall out and braced himself for the crash. He crawled from the wreckage of the bomber and was treated at the field dispensary for shock, lacerations and bruises.
According to an Associated Press report from Norfolk the fighter struck the right wing of the bomber and fighter burst into flames.
The bomber crashed on its back and partly buried itself in swampy ground.
Mrs. Belle L. Pierce, mother of Mrs. Akins said last night she had received a wire from her daughter stating the facts of her husband's miraculous escape and confirmed early reports that the ensign suffered only minor injuries.
Ensign and Mrs. Akins and their 16-month-old son, Larry, are now living in Norfolk, but are planning to leave there Saturday to spend the holidays in Kingsport, according to Mrs. Pierce.
Ensign AKINS is the son of Mrs. Bertie Akins of 229 Ponce de Leon, Atlanta, Ga. He and his wife were married in 1944 when he was taking naval training at Milligan College where she was a student.
The Associated Press listed the dead, announced by the Navy as:
Lt. (j.g.) J. H. DAWLEY, JR., 25, son of J. H. Dawley, Syracuse, N.Y.
Ens. J. F. MATHEWS, 22, husband of Mrs. Veronica Ann Mathews, 7618 Bondale Ave., Norfolk.
HENRY WAGNER, 25, husband of Mrs. Marge Marie Wagner, 1616 LaSalle Ave., Norfolk.
L. P. STAFFORD, 29, husband of Mrs. Opalmarie Stafford, 241-B Allen St., Benmoreell, Norfolk.
J. D. FOWLER, 24, husband of Mrs. Anita Jane Fowler, 244-B Helmick Street, Benmoreell, Norfolk.
G. F. CALLENDER, 35, husband of Mrs. Dorothy Elizabeth Callender, 411 Chesapeake Street, Norfolk.
A. J. F. CRANFORD, husband of Mrs. Shirley Jean Cranford, 2868 Welcome Road, Norfolk.
MATHEWS was the pilot of the Corsair; the others were all members of the crew of the PBY.

Kingsport Times Tennessee 1947-12-17