Lockheed PV1 Ventura Crash Kills Test Pilot


Local Man Guides Officers to the Site of Bomber Crash

ACTON - 3/2/44 - Four men were killed last Thursday in the crash of a Navy patrol bomber on the upper slopes of Mt. McDill about ten miles west of Palmdale. William Ritter of Palmdale acted as guide to the group of officials who hiked up to the wreckage of the plane, after it had been sighted by a Lockheed test pilot.

Those killed in the crash were George G. Dory, 20, pilot of North Hollywood; Paul T. Sunday, 36, copilot of Beverly Hills; Donald L. Jackson of Roscoe, 30, crew chief; and James P. Sergeant, 30, radioman of Glendale.


SHERIFF'S OFFICE, LOS ANGELES COUNTY - COMPLAINT REPORT

DATE: February 24, 1944

FILE NO: A-37353

VICTIMS:

#1 - DORY, George G
#2 - SUNDAY, Paul .
#3 -SEARGENT, James
#4 - JACKSON, Donald

INFORMANT: PAIGE, Bertrand Lockheed Test Pilot

LOCATION: 9 Miles NW of Acton JCT., on south side of mountain 50 feet from top of peak

1:30 PM February 24, 1944, received telephone call from informant who stated that a Lockheed Model PV1 twin motor plane with the above four victims aboard, plane being piloted by victim Dory, had crashed.

Contacted Captain Marty of Newhall Station who immediately formed a posse. Lt. Griggers and Captain Marty in charge of the posse then proceeded to the Fresh Air Turkey Farm owed by C.W. Thompson where horses were unloaded. Posse then proceeded on horseback approximately three and one-half miles to the top of the mountain where the bodies were located.

The plane burned, and the bodies were badly burned and dismembered. The bodies were immediately rolled in blankets, placed upon horses and transported to the bottom of the canyon where they were placed into ambulances which had been sent to the scene by Deputy Coroner Paschal and then transported to the Paschal Mortuary in San Fernando.


WRECK SITE VISITED

In September of 1996 while reading the Antelope Valley Press newspaper, I came across an article seeking information about a plane that crashed near Hauser Mountain, south of Palmdale. Wes Weathers, a Pacific Bell employee who worked on Hauser Mountain in the 70's, found a memorial plaque mounted on a rock on top of the mountain that bore the name of the dead pilot. Weathers searched the area but was unable to locate any traces of the plane. He wanted to know more about the crash and asked the local paper to publish a story seeking additional information, which they did.

I contacted Weathers and with his instructions located the plaque. Believing that some trace of the plane could be found, I began searching the hillside. After a fifteen minute search of the area I located some small pieces of cockpit windshield glass, a manifold pressure gauge and some aluminum tubing. These items were laying on top of the ground about 50 feet below the memorial plaque. I then proceeded down the mountainside and into a narrow canyon where I found pieces of the fuselage. I also found several large pieces of fuselage that had been buried. Apparently the authorities had buried what was left of the plane but over the course of the years rain water had eroded the hillside and the parts had resurfaced.

Amazingly, about 1000 feet below the PV1 wreck, I found the burned wreckage of a Cessna airplane that crashed in the 70's. Tragically, both pilots were on the same flight path to Palmdale Airport when, for reasons unknown, they failed to clear the mountain ridge by just a few hundred feet.


2/24/44
PV1 Ventura Bomber
Test Pilot
George Gould Dory
"The wings of god took up his flight"
So long my "guy"
Martha
5-27-44