NEW GLOUCESTER — Two nephews of one of the British pilots who perished in a New Gloucester farm field during training maneuvers in 1943 this week visited the New Gloucester Veterans Memorial where their uncle’s name is inscribed on a memorial plaque.
Rupert Watson of New Zealand and David Watson of New York made the visit to learn more about their 23-year-old uncle, David James Falshaw Watson.
Research by the New Gloucester Historical Society found that Lt. Cmdr. Alfred Jack Sewell, flying a Corsair IJT290, and Sub-Lt. Watson, flying a Corsair II JT198, were dispatched on a training mission from Brunswick Naval Air Station in October 1943. The pair collided in midair on two training paths that were less than 100 feet apart from each other and crashed into a swamp near Pineland Center.
Debris from the planes was spread over at least 200 acres, according to Tom Blake, whose family owned the farm near the crash site.
While cleaning out the home on Penny Road of Phil Blake’s deceased father, Everett Stinchfield Blake, Phil and his son Tom discovered several dusty pieces of early electronics from the planes that had been collected after the fatal crash and hidden away in a large bottom drawer in the dining room.
Phil and Tom Blake, active members of the New Gloucester Historical Society, have presented those five items to the society’s collection of artifacts.
Rupert Watson, left, from New Zealand, and David Watson from New York stand by the New Gloucester Veterans Memorial tablet where the name of their uncle, British pilot David Watson, is engraved. (Submitted photo)