Frederick "Fred" Howe, AMM3c was an "elderly man" by the measure of us kids in Torpedo Four at the time. He and Jerry Cohen were good friends – playing some kind of game (rummy?) every day. At the age of 44 he did not need to be in the Navy. I recall Hutch reminding us of this when he gave the memorial service. As I recall, two women relatives or friends attended.
I believe some of the pilots were away at the time the accident happened.
The plane on which Fred was serving as radioman was flying out of Ayer over water and had engine trouble. There was talk on the radio of the choice of parachuting or making a water landing. A water landing was made, but Fred apparently had started to fit his parachute, became entangled in it, and drowned. The plane was in shallow water and was recovered.
The pilot and turret man got out. I do not recall the names of either. They had been with VT-4 a short time. They were transferred out of the squadron a few weeks later.
The memorial service for Frederick Howe, AMM3c was held May 21, 1944 at US Naval Auxiliary Air Facility in Ayer, Massachusetts. Lt. Cdr H. H. "Hutch" Hutcheson attended as the Commanding Officer of Torpedo Squadron Four. Lt(jg) P. B. Upchurch was the Chaplain.
Frederick Howe was born April 17, 1900 and died May 9, 1944.