C47 Crashes In Wildcat Gulch


DATE:November 16,1944

FILE NO: A-47047


#1 - CAPT KELLY, Rae
#2 - 2ND LT HANKLE, Carl
#4 - 1ST LT CRAMER, Hugh
#4 - 1ST LT FIELD, Van
#5 - 2ND LT MASCHOFF, Gertrude
#7 - CPL GARCIA, Manuel
#9 - MAJOR MACKEY, Thomas


#1 - Pharmacist's Mate CHIM, Beuford
#2 - CPL Bedford, Kenneth

LOCATION: Wildcat Canyon, approx. 2 miles NE of Strawberry Peak 1/4 from bottom of Big Tujunga Canyon

Received call at 12:35 PM on 11-12-44, from Deputy Abbott, War Operations Room Center that a C-47 #6143 with thirteen aboard, enroute from Hamilton Field to Mines Field had reported in to Bakersfield by radio at 19:40, 11-11-44, and was then top contract Newhall Airport by radio at approximately 20:05 when they passed over, but they had not been able to make contact with plane after it let Bakersfield.

At 2:15 PM Pine Canyon Fire Station reported a flash had been seen in the vicinity of Lake Hughes approximately 8:15 PM. A crew as dispatched from Newhall to in investigate. At 3:`15 PM received a call from Army Control Center that the plane had been located between Strawberry Peak and Mount Wilson by a plane from the 6th Ferrying Group. Phoned Sgt. Hayman, Montrose Station to have Car #121 assist.

Met Car #121 at Montrose and proceeded to Angeles Crest Highway, intercepted Lt. Kiser, in charge of group of Army personnel from Glendale Airport; also Capt. Barnes, Medical Officer. Convoyed this group to the junction of Palmdale Cut-off and Angeles Crest Highway; was met at this location by T.L. Biddison of the US Forest Service, who directed us to Barley Flats; was met by Art Millis also of the USFS, who stated that he had spotted the plane, with the aid of field glasses, in Wild Cat Canyon.

Capt. Barnes detailed an Aide with medical supplies to accompany Mr. Mills from this point down the side of the mountain to try and reach the plane. Mills also stated that he had two Forest Rangers waiting for him about one and one-half miles down the side of the road, but due to darkness, it would probably be daylight before plane could be located. Army officers and personnel, Mr. Bidison and the undersigned returned to location of Barley Flats Road, Big Tujunga and Angeles Crest Highway to await horses and walkie-talkies, and light equipment which had been ordered earlier over KQBV from Altadena, Temple and Firestone Stations, lighting equipment being furnished by Capt. Killison.

Major W. L. Starrett of 6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach Army Air Base, arrived at approximately 8:30 PM and took charge, but requested Sheriff's cards stand by for communications purposes.

Capt. Killison, deputy Bob Miller and deputy Harley Banks arrived at about 8::45 PM with lighting equipment. At 10:00 PM, N.S. Moore, Al Wagner and Lloyd Bouer of Altadena Auxiliary Mounted Posse arrived. deputy K.A. Tompson and C.W. Eickstedt of Firestone Communications Reserve Group arrived from Temple City District. At 10:30 PM eleven Army personnel on foot under the direction of Lt. Kieser and a mounted posse left for scene down Big Tujunga Road.

On 11-13-44, at 3:30 AM posse returned to the point of operations and stated that they would not be needed and were released at this time.

At 7:15 A< Mr. Miller reported by radio that he had sighted plane. At 8:00 AM, he reported plane had been reached, and found Chian and Bedford surviving. Corporal Bedford being in very critical condition, and eleven dead.

Communications through KQBV were carried on throughout the day through Glendale Air Base, Long Beach Air Base and Pasadena Aero Hospital for supplies and men as Major Starrett requested them. At 11:00 AM made request through KQBV for relief cars. At 3:00 PM Deputy Gundersopn and R.J. Dewitt from Temple City arrived in Car 51, and deputy J.R. Goldman and deputy Joe Blewett in Car #3 arrived from San Dimas.

Due o the very heavy snow storm and rain, which lasted approximately three hours, operations were slowed up and at 9:53 PM ambulances with three bodies and two injured reached Angeles Forest Highway. Operations were discontinued at midnight by order of Colonel Wynn, of Long Beach, until morning, and at 10:00AM, 11-14-44, Captain Fellows, who arrived with approximately 60 men, detailed Lt. Williamson to take two ambulances with 8 bodies at 8:40PM.

At 9:00 PM Pasadena Police Car#19, driven by Lt. Calvert, led convoy to Pasadena. Lt. Williamson rode in Sheriff's car #305. In Pasadena, Car #305 took over and led convoy to Long Beach Army air Base with assistance of Sheriff's Car #24 from East LA Station and Car 13 from Firestone, through their respective districts. The convoy arrived in Long Beach at 11:35 PM.

As this is an Army case, they will follow to a conclusion and since there is no further action necessary insofar as this office is concerned, the case will stand suspended.

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