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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 112238
Last updated: 16 September 2019
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Date:09-NOV-1938
Time:09:36
Type:Silhouette image of generic T6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
North American BC-1
Owner/operator:1 Staff Sqn USAAC
Registration: 37-670
C/n / msn: NA36-495
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1807, 13th Street, SE, Anacostia, Washington, DC -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Bolling Field, Washington DC
Destination airport:Bolling Field, Washington, DC
Narrative:
North American BC-1 37-670 Written off (destroyed by fire) when crashed and burned at 1807-13 St, SE, Anacostia, Washington, DC. Both crew - Lieut. Col. Leslie MacDill, General Staff Corps. Officer, and Private Joseph G. Gloxner - were killed...According to a contemporary newspaper report ("The Washington Post" of November 10, 1938):

"Army Studies Cremation of 2 Fliers Here
Crash in Anacostia Fire Destroys Plane
Officer is Killed, Pilot Dies Also

ďA special Army board last night was investigating the crash which killed and cremated two Army fliers when their pursuit plane went into a spin, narrowly missed two houses and smashed to earth in Anacostia, 2 miles from Bolling Field.

The dead were Col. Leslie MacDill, 49, of the War Department general staff, who lived at 3105 Cathedral avenue northwest, and Private Joseph G. Gloxner, of First Staff Squadron, of Reading, Pa. Both were instantly killed.

Maj. Charles P. Prime, chief investigator, said last night that eyewitnesses have given conflicting reports regarding engine trouble. Coroner A. Magruder MacDonald said he would postpone decision on holding an inquest into the deaths until he had received the Army report.

Trouble With Motor
The BC-1 pursuit plane piloted by Col. MacDill took off from Bolling Field at 9:36 a.m. Three minutes later it crashed on 13th Street, a block away from the busy intersection of Good Hope Road and Nichols Avenue.

Accounts pieced together from numerous eyewitnesses indicate that something happened to the motor and Col. MacDill tried to get back to his field, and then with death staring him in the face aimed his plane for a narrow space between two houses in order to land on Thirteenth street, headed for an alley.

The plane cut down telephone and power wires, knocked down a pole, clipped off tree limbs and plunged into the earth between the curb and street in front of the home of Robert Thompson, 1807 Thirteenth street, southeast.

The plane immediately burst into flames, settled back on a parked car. Burning gasoline flowed down the street and destroyed three other parked cars.

One civilian came within 10 feet of being killed in the crash. That was Clarence W. Ohm, plumber of 1612 W street southeast. He had parked his car directly across the street from the crash, and was just getting from his car when the plane struck.

Flames Leap 50 Feet
Both bodies were burned beyond recognition by the flames which leaped as high as 50 feet. One of the bodies was thrown from the fuselage, while the head was torn from the other. Fireman fought half an hour with water and chemicals.

Louis Fiedler, mechanic, and Harry Rosenthal, manager of Mandell Chevrolet garage at Thirteenth street and Good Hope road, and Earl Hazel, of 1235 U street southeast, rushed to the plane with fire extinguishers. The heat drove them away. Fiedler's face was scorched.

The street at the time of the crash was deserted except for Ohm. Few people were attracted by sound of the plane until it exploded because Anacostia residents have become accustomed to low-flying planes.

Heard Body Plop
Ohm related that because of a broken gasket on the exhaust pipe of his automobile, he heard nothing until a plop which suggested to him falling of a human body. From his parked car he heard a scream and saw a body on the pavement before an explosion "like a 16-inch gun" shot up huge clouds of black smoke and flames.

Still shaking from his experience last night he said, "it was the most horrible thing I ever saw. I thought the world was coming to and end. I have felt so bad all day I couldn't clean up the brains splattered on my car."

Col. MacDill was a graduate of Hanover College, University of Indiana, and the Army War College. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Marilla Augusta MacDill, and two daughters, Katherine Rose, 14, and Rose, 11."

Sources:

1. http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/1940sB4/1938.htm
2. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/hec2009012046/
3. http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1930.html
4. http://househistoryman.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/1938-plane-crash-in-residential.html
5. http://www.earlyaviators.com/emacdill.htm


Images:


from Harris & Ewing Collection, LoC

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
10-Oct-2012 13:25 harro Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Mar-2018 16:49 A.J.Scholten Updated [Cn]
26-Apr-2018 19:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
27-Apr-2018 16:55 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location]
15-Dec-2018 17:36 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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