Mt. Tom B-17 Memorial
In Massachusetts, United States
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The Mt. Tom B-17 Memorial commemorates the crash of a B-17 “Flying Fortress” into the mountain on the evening of July 9, 1946. This beautiful memorial was built at an elevation of 900’ and provides views to Westover Airport in Chicopee and the fields of South Hadley, Ma.
The following description was written by eminent local historian Robert Schwobe of Easthampton, MA:
“On July 9, 1946, a converted B-17 “Flying Fortress” Bomber carrying twenty-five servicemen left Goose Bay, Labrador with a destination of Westover Field in Chicopee.
At approximately 10:20 pm, while circling the area preparing to land, the aircraft approached the mountain from a southerly direction and without warning slammed into an outcropping of rock at about the 900 foot level of the mountain, killing all aboard.
The outcropping of rock that was the crash site, had in the late nineteenth century, been cut to provide a roadbed for the since abandoned cable railway from near Mountain Park to the summit house on Mt. Tom. Wreckage was strewn several hundred yards across the rocky and wooded area on each side of the roadway. The ensuing explosion and fire was quickly extinguished by a heavy downpour that followed the crash.
It was very difficult for rescuers to reach the crash scene since the roadway at the time was just dirt and rock. (The trolley tracks had been removed years earlier) Only military four-wheel drive vehicles were able to traverse the steep twenty-one degree roadway to the site. Many rescue volunteers hiked the perilous two-thirds mile from Mountain Park.
AT THE CRASH SITE A MEMORIAL WAS DEDICATED ON JULY 6, 1996 TO HONOR THOSE YOUNG MEN WHO DIED SO LONG AGO.”
“THE B-17 MEMORIAL COMMITTEE ASK THAT YOU RESPECT THE SANCTITY OF THE MEMORIAL AND LEAVE ONLY YOUR PRAYERS”
The memorial is quite well done and gives the visitor a solemn regard for the events of that evening. And, if that wasn’t enough, thoughtful hikers who have found pieces of wreckage in the area have placed the items on top of the large stone next to the memorial. If you look closely, you can still find wreckage pieces in the area across the road and uphill. Please do not remove wreckage pieces; place them on the stone next to the memorial.
You can park a little up-road from the trailhead. Please make sure you do not park on the road itself since heavily-ladden quarry trucks come barreling through that area. The trailhead is located at N42°14.927 W072°37.998'.
*** NOTE *** The lower gate for access to the road that runs to trailhead is open on weekdays and has usually been open on weekends. However, a recent cacher visiting on a Sunday reported the gate closed. In this case you will need to trek from the gate to the trailhead, an additional distance of about 1/2 mile by road or about 1/3 mile through the old Mountain Park grounds. ******
To get credit for this cache, please email me the “tail number” of the B-17 that crashed. DO NOT POST THE NUMBER, EVEN IN ENCRYPTED FORMAT. NO Internet "finds".
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Last Updated: on 3/23/2015 1:45:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time (8:45 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum