Monthly Archives: November 2010

Canfield Plane Crash, 1948 (Part 1 of 4)

The diaries of Della McKnight Cochran contain a very intriguing entry for April 23, 1948:  “… Barksdale plane crash E. of Canfield.  Killed 4.”  My brother-in-law, George Morgan, obtained a copy of the U. S. Air Force official investigation report on this tragedy.  That report forms the basis of this narrative and I have also quoted liberally from it.

The airplane that crashed near Canfield was a U. S. Air Force TB-25J.  The B-25 bomber is perhaps most often associated with the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942, which was depicted in the movie Pearl Harbor.  The TB-25J that crashed near Canfield was a later model of that plane which had been modified for training purposes.

The report says that the crash occurred three miles east of Canfield, although there is reason to believe that a more accurate description of the crash site would be three miles northeast of Canfield.  There were four people on board, three officers and one enlisted man, all of whom were killed.  The plane apparently began to disintegrate even prior to impacting the ground.

The reproductions from microfilm of the photos included in the official report are of very poor quality.  Two of the better, though still poor, photos of parts of the wreckage appear below.

Img014 A

Img014 B

The official report contains statements by four local witnesses.  C. L. Warren stated, “I was plowing at the time the plane crashed and was about 1/2 mile from the plane.  The first noise I heard was a loud explosion.  I looked up at the plane and saw pieces flying off.  The plane was coming straight down and making a loud, whistling noise.  I saw the plane go down behind the trees.”

Alvin Lynn stated, “Heard the explosion and looked up.  The plane apparently exploded in the air.  Then I heard the plane hit the ground.”

Harold Thompson stated, “I was about 1/4 mile from the crash.  The crash happened about 0950.  I heard a sound like the engines cutting out.  The airplane spun about twice and pieces began flying off.  Then the plane went into a steep dive.  At that time the engines were making a lot of noise.  Then I heard the plane hit the ground.  I did not see any pieces falling after the plane hit.  The weather at the time was cloudy, the clouds were dark to the west.  The wind was not very strong.”

Mrs. Mattie King stated, “I was outside my house at the time of the crash.  The weather was cloudy, the sun wasn’t shining, and the wind was blowing hard.  The airplane had been circling for about 20 minutes.  The plane crashed about 1/4 mile from where I was.  The first noise I heard was evidently the sound of the airplane hitting the ground.  For quite some time after the plane crashed I saw pieces of the plane falling down from fairly high up.  The clouds were dark and very low.  I heard the engines very loud just before the crash.  I did not actually see the airplane fall and hit the ground.”

(To be continued.)

First Grade Class, 1937 (Updated)

Below is a photo of Miss Raye Crabtree’s first grade class in 1937, standing in front of what was then the relatively new gymnasium.  The photo is courtesy of Gayle Garner, who is the boy in the middle of the front row.  If any reader can identify any of the other class members, both and Gayle would appreciate it.


UPDATED 11/10/10:  Mrs. Ida Mae Black Dillard, who was a member of this class, has graciously furnished with a list identifying most of the members of this class, and has also furnished another photo of the same class as fourth graders in 1940!

In the photo above, the first graders are:

Front row, L-R:  Sadie May Tompkins, Jane Riley, Martha Jean Baker, Ida Mae Black, James Gayle Garner, Glayes Burns, Paulene Burns, _____ Benefield, William Adams.

Middle row, L-R:  James Thomas Benefield, Ann Barker, Glen Newton, Earlene Tucker, ____________, Nettie Baker, Lucy Short, Georgie Philips, Doris Jean Daniels.

Back row, L-R:  ____________, Clovis Harvin, Margret Beason, Ethel Lambeth, Odessa Stanley, Charles Haley, Opel Powell, Lola Brown, Chester Cross.

And below is the 1940 photo of the same class as fourth graders:


Front row, L-R:  Ida Mae Black, James Gayle Garner, Gordon Lewis Jones, J. B. Hartsfield, Opel Smith, Jane Holland, Netty Baker, Lucille Arnold, Alice Moore, Susie Weems, Martha Jean Baker, Doris Jean Daniels.

Middle row, L-R:  Carol _______, Andrew Whisenhunt, Dan Howard, Ann Barker, Betty Jo Henderson, Margret Young, Glades Burns, Austen Templeton, Lucy Short, Charles Haley, Haward Hodges, Opel Powell.

Back Row, L-R:  Carl Adams, Dorothy Black, Ethel Lambeth, Rosemary Brown, Odessa Stanley, James Elbert Newton, Earlene Tucker, Charlene Welborn, Clovis Harvin, Geneva Sandlin, _____________.

Standing in back is William Church.  The teacher is Miss Christene Smith. wishes to thank Mrs. Ida Mae Black Dillard for sharing these photos and this information.