Van Nuys Plane Crash Kills 2 – Aug. 11, 1941

Aug. 11, 1941, Comics

Aug. 11, 1941, Plane Crash

Aug. 11, 1941: Walter P. Palmer and William S. Raney are killed when their plane goes into a spin during a flying lesson and crashes into a bean field at Woodley Avenue and Oxnard Street in Van Nuys, which is now somewhere in the middle of the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area.

Lee Shippey writes about the shortage of silk stockings and blacking out aircraft factories as the nation prepares for war. But not everyone is enthusiastic. An opinion piece by former Rep. Samuel B. Pettengill, “The Gentleman From Indiana,” questions whether Japan is worth a war.  “I sometimes think the chief reason for war is that mankind likes to go on a grand drunk at least once in a generation, plastered with slogans,” Pettengill writes.

FALSE ALARM: Nothing to those Barbara Stanwyck-Robert Taylor baby rumors; the new room is for a billiard table, which no stork is bringing, Jimmie Fidler says.

Aug. 11, 1941, Plane Crash
Woodley and Oxnard, Van Nuys
The Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area at approximately Woodley and Oxnard, via Google maps’ street view.

Aug. 11, 1941, Plane Crash

Aug. 11, 1941, Lee Shippey

Aug. 11, 1941, Pettengill

Aug. 11, 1941, Jimmie Fidler

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1941, Art & Artists, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood, Jimmie Fidler, Lee Shippey, Politics, San Fernando Valley, Transportation, World War II and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Van Nuys Plane Crash Kills 2 – Aug. 11, 1941

  1. Kevin Brent says:

    These are my favorite postings — the newspaper’s daily slices of life (and death) and some Hollywood news.


  2. Earl Boebert says:

    The “American Escadrille” mentioned in the Van Nuys crash article was organized by Col. Charles Sweeny (no third “e”) who was an international soldier of fortune, gun-runner, francophile and anglophile and member of a wealthy transatlantic family of investors. Sweeny had been aide to Marshal Petain in WWI and spent the inter-war years organizing various mercenary air forces around the world, most notably in support of the French Foreign Legion during the Rif Revolt in Morocco. Sweeny attempted to get pilots to both Finland and France. A small group made it to France but were caught up in the collapse and escaped to England before they had a chance to fly.

    That group formed the nucleus of the famous Eagle Squadrons of the RAF (No. 71, 121, and 133 Squadrons) who were “repatriated” in 1942 and became the equally famous 4th Fighter Group of the USAAF and then USAF, flying Mustangs in WWII and Sabrejets in Korea. They are now the 4th Operations Group, flying F15E Strike Eagles.

    The Los Angeles area was a hotbed of aviation recruiting for England and Canada in 1940 and 1941. Another active group were the Clayton Knight Committees. Knight was a famous aviation illustrator with shadowy ties to British intelligence. All this activity was taking place in blatant violation of the Neutrality Act, which Roosevelt dodged in every way he could (and he was a very artful dodger). The Committees would set up recruiting stations in hotel rooms and would would be tipped in advance of FBI raids, to the fury of the isolationists in Congress and Col. McCormick of the Chicago Tribune. There should be a bunch of stuff on all this in the Times files.

    Sweeny ended up in Salt Lake City, where he established himself as a house guest in the mansion of the once-owners of the Salt Lake City streetcar system. When the man of the house passed away Sweeny just stayed on; I interviewed him by telephone in the early 1960s when I was writing an undergraduate thesis on the Eagle Squadrons.


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