HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Seventy one years ago, twenty five servicemen were killed when their plane returning from serving in World War II crashed on Mount Tom.
Every year family members of those killed gather on Mount Tom at the B17 crash site to honor and remember these service members. Today at 9:30AM they will hold the 71st ceremony. On July 9th, 1946 a converted B-17 bomber was carrying members of the Coast Guard, Army Air Corp, the Public Health Corp and the Red Cross.
The servicemen were returning from serving in Greenland during World War II and were headed to Westover field in Chicopee before continuing on to New York. While circling for landing at Westover field, the plane hit a rock outcropping the southeast side of Mount Tom, crashing and killing those aboard on impact.
At the time, the crash was the worst air disaster in New England’s history. For 50 years, all that marked the crash site was a chain of rocks, but in 1996, a sculpture engraved with the names of the service members and the branches they served in, was dedicated.