Reflections: Remembering the crash of the RAF bomber

By Evelyn Long - The Sentinel

I was recently asked to share the story of the crash of the RAF bomber.

on the LeRoy Foust farm, July 22, 1941. The Foust farm is located on US 42, three miles south of Cardington. The crash was witnessed by the Foust brothers, Ivan, Earl, Everett and Arthur and their father who were threshing with the help of 10 neighbors on the farm.

Each gave an account to the media of what they had seen. “The bomber was flying north at about 1,500 feet when all of a sudden it went into a spin and turned over three or four times,” Earl said. “I could see men in the plane as it went down but I couldn’t tell how many there were.” They were less than 500 yards from where the plane went down.

“I heard a hissing noise and ran outside the barn door just in time to see the plane dive into the pasture and explode. Flames apparently from the burning gasoline, flew 100 yards over into the cornfield.” Foust said he and some of the other men ran toward the plane but saw they could do nothing. Foust then called the Cardington Fire Department.

“It looked like something was wrong with the motor,” said Everett. The plane made a big spiral and swept toward us. I thought it was going to hit the barn and yelled to my brothers and the other men to get out.”

When it crashed its motors were still rumbling.

R. E. Sanderson, chief of the Cardington fire department, said, “We got here about 3:30 p.m., but there wasn’t much we could do. Gasoline was still exploding and white hot aluminum was flying in all directions. Chemicals were useless but we pumped water from the run at the foot of the pasture and kept the blaze from spreading into the corn. It smoldered for two hours.”

Killed were First Lt. R. F. Rush, Tucson, Arizona, and Second Lt. N. F. Warner. The ship had taken off from Patterson Field for the last leg of its journey to Canada where it was to be turned over to the Royal Air Force.

Two other planes of the same type and one Douglas transport crashed within 24 hours of the Cardington crackup. One bomber crashed in Licking County between Newark and Granville and the other crashed at Patterson Field after taking off. The Douglas transport crashed at Patterson Field. Army officials were scouting charges of sabotage in an official statement.

At one time more than 400 motor cars were counted that evening parked along Route 42 at the scene and in nearby fields. Crowds estimated at upwards of 10,000 persons jammed the area for hours after the crash.

I will have more on this next week as there were accounts by witnesses, including one by a 72-year-old English woman who lived across the road from the Fousts.

By Evelyn Long

The Sentinel

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