|Volume 4 Issue 1||Winter 1998|
|PUBLISHED BY: SCOTT BOSECKER|
This is the exact airplane (#9424) that Aviation Cadet Raymond Albert Schmidt USNR was flying the day he was killed.
Photograph courtesy of the William T. Larkins collection.
Just over 62 years ago, on September 20, 1937 at 8:25 a.m., the Vought SU-4 Scout airplane pictured above took off from Squantum Air Field in Massachusetts. The final destination of the aircraft was to be Norfolk, Virginia and the aircraft carrier Yorktown with an intermediate stop at a Naval Reserve unit located at Floyd Bennett Field, Long Island, New York.
Floyd Bennett Field is located near the western end of Long Island. The flight ended when the aircraft crashed about 50 miles east of Floyd Bennett Field.
Piloting the aircraft was Aviation Cadet Raymond Albert Schmidt, Great-Grandson of the immigrant Karl Boßecker. Occupying the other position in the 2-seat aircraft was Aviation Cadet Stewart A. McKenzie of Winchester, Massachusetts.
This trip was planned to be what military pilots call "a flight of two". Accompanying Schmidt & McKenzie's aircraft was another airplane, a Vought SU-2, piloted by Aviation Cadet R. L Tuxbury.
The New York Times reported the following in their Tuesday, September 21, 1937 edition:
TWO NAVY MEN DIE AS PLANE CRASHES
Killed When Craft Plunges on Long Island Estate During Training Flight
BROOKVILLE, L.I., SEPT. 20
Two naval aviation pilots were killed here today when a scouting plane in which they were flying crashed in a wooded section on the estate of Albert Smith. The plane tore through a line of telegraph poles, sheared off several oak trees and crashed with such force that its parts were strewn over a wide area.
The pilots were Stewart A. MacKenzie and Raymond A. Schmidt. MacKenzie was killed instantly and Schmidt, extricated alive, died just before 1 P.M. in the North County Communities Hospital in Glen Cove. The crash occurred at 10:15 o'clock.
The Naval Reserve unit at Floyd Bennett Field said the plane, a Vought scouting model attached to the plane carrier Yorktown, had taken off at Squantum, Mass., for Bennett Field. Mackenzie's home address was listed as Winchester, Mass., and Schmidt's Alton, Ill.
David Dows Jr., son of the former Nassau County Sheriff, was repairing his own plane on the private landing field of his father's estate, adjoining the Smith place, when the navy fliers roared overhead at a low altitude. He said they were so low that the plane disappeared almost instantly behind trees just before he heard the sound of the crash. The motor was running at the time of the impact, he said.
The first alarm brought Colonel W.M. Crandell of the Army Medical Corps at Mitchel Field. Colonel Crandell said McKenzie had died of a fractured skull. His body was wedged in the wreckage between the fuselage and large oak tree.
NORFOLK, VA., Sept 20 - The Norfolk naval base said Lieutenant Stewart A. MacKenzie and Naval Aviation Cadet R.A. Schmidt left here Saturday on a training flight. Their plane was attached to Squadron 5 of the plane carrier Yorktown, now stationed at Newport News. the fliers had been detained by bad weather at Squantum Airport, near Boston, by bad weather Sunday and started the return trip to Norfolk this morning.
Another account of the accident that I have found is a fairly brief account of the accident entered on a 4x6 card:
SUMMARIZED ACCOUNT OF THE ACCIDENT: Aviation Cadet R. A. Schmidt, pilot, and Aviation Cadet S. A. McKenzie, passenger, took off from NRAB, Squantum, Mass., at 0825, 20 September 1937, en route to NAS, Norfolk, Va., via Floyd Bennett Field, returning from an authorized training flight. SU-4 airplane, 9424, proceeded in company with SU-2 airplane, 9099, Aviation Cadet R.L. Tuxbury, pilot, until in the approximate vicinity of Roosevelt Field at about 3000 feet altitude.
At this point, SU-4 airplane, 9424, nosed over in a glide and disappeared from the view of occupants of SU-2 airplane, 9099. SU-2 airplane, 9099, then proceeded to Floyd Bennett Field and landed. It was then ascertained that SU-4 airplane, 9424, had crashed near Brookville, Long Island. The plane apparently crashed as a result of collision, while in full flight, with trees and telephone wires at about 1000, 20 September 1937. The crash resulted in the deaths of both occupants of the plane and the complete destruction of the plane. The cause of the crash is indeterminate. A Board of Investigation appointed by the Commandant, Third Naval District, is now investigating. Remnants of the plane have been removed to NRAB, Floyd Bennett Field.
The following newspaper clipping is in the possession of Nina (Wright) Jewell, Raymond Schmidt's niece.
Raymond Albert Schmidt, son of Philip and Clara Schmidt, was born in Wabash county, July 20, 1912 and died Sept. 20, at the age of 25 years, 2 months.
The family moved to Edwards county when he was a small boy. He attended grade school and graduated from Bone Gap C.H.S. with the class of 1931.
He attended Carbondale college three years and was graduated from the Illinois State University in 1935.
He was emplyed as a commercial teacher in the Lancaster high school for the following term but resigned to enter the U.S. Navy Flying school at Pensacola, Fla., October 1935. In this branch of the service he gave his life for his country.
He received his commission and diploma on May 19, 1937. He was proud of this and loved his work.
He barely escaped death a short time ago when his plane sank in a lagoon during torpedo practice. His buddy was drowned in the plane...
(Obituary then gives details on accident in New York which have already been covered in this newsletter.)
...He united with the Methodist church in Bone Gap in 1920 and was a faithful attendant while in this community. He leaves his parents and three sisters: Mrs. Neva Wright, Mrs. Esther Oberst of Evansville, and Mrs. Marie Gillette of St. Elmo, a brother, Elmer, passed away 11 years ago.
Postcard written by Raymond Schmidt to his mother the day before he was killed. Dear Folks, I flew up here yesterday and am here with a friend am going back to Norfolk this afternoon. Am having a wonderful time, this New England country is sure nice. Write to me at Norfolk. This camp where we are is about 200 miles from Canada. As ever, Raymond
Christian Drew Cullison, GGGG-Grandson of Karl Boßecker, was born on 3 Nov 1998 in Evansville, IN.
Matthew Alec Schmidt, GGGG-Grandson of Karl Boßecker, was born on 4 Jan 1999.
IN MEMORY OF...
Robert Collins Hocking
Leo Wilhelm Bringwald
Henry William Henze
Here are more Boßecker descendant veterans that have been documented since the last issue.
William E. Steinhauer [Born: 1929]
Gordon R. Gillette [Born: 1933]
This edition is exceptionally late. As I did the research, more sources of information would present themselves and I got bogged down trying to locate additional details. Although I haven't completed the research, I had to write the story. Many of the details of Raymond Schmidt's Navy experience are still to be located in the various branches of the National Archives. I will have to do this research in the future.