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WWII-Era Bomber Recovered Off Martha's Vineyard

Friday, May 3, 2019

SB2C BuAer 3 side viewEDGARTOWN, MASSACHUSSETS—According to a report in the Vineyard Gazette, researchers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have recovered remnants of a World War II–era, Curtiss SB2C Helldiver-type bomber plane that crashed in the waters off Chappaquiddick Island—on the eastern end of Martha's Vineyard—in the winter of 1946. Throughout World War II, the U.S. Navy used Martha's Vineyard for training exercises and, particularly, as a testing ground for bombers, as its seashore was thought to approximate island combat zones in the the north Pacific. The discovery of the bomber follows a three-year-long effort by the Army Corps to clear some 60 acres of land on Chappaquiddick, where, estimates say, some 20,000 practice bombs were dropped between 1944 and 1947, and the danger of live ordnance remains. While the search for official records of the crash initially came up empty, the team discovered a 1946 newspaper article naming ensign Cecil M. Richards and aviation radioman second class William Robert Garrett as the Navy fliers who perished in the crash. To read more about the archaeology of World War II, go to "December 7, 1941."

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