Major Cooke H Charles

Name Cooke H Charles
Rank Major
Serial # 0-359505
Company HQ
Unit 36AIR
Servicebranch Infantry
State, City Washington, Washington,DC
Date of birth 1916-06-28
Date of death 1943-02-04
Place of death Wareham Massachusetts
Cause of death Died non-Battle
Plot,Row,Grave 3036, A, 4
Cemetery Arlington National Cemetery
Temporary Cemetery National Cemetery Brookwood England

On February 4th 1943 around 15:00h, Major Cooke climbed on board on a A-20C plane for an cooperative mission with ground units.


The men on the ground where members of the 3rd Armored Division who were just 25 miles from the airport nearby Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

The complete crew was:
Maj. Bailey Pilot
T. Sgt Robinson
Sgt. Reposa
Maj. Cooke 3rd Armored Division.

Information about the plane:
Light bomber
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Designer Ed Heinemann
First flight 23 January 1939
Introduction 10 January 1941
Retired (USAF) 1949
Status Retired
Primary users United States Army Air Forces
Soviet Air Force
Royal Air Force
French Air Force
Dutch Air Force
Produced 1939–1944
Number built 7,478

The pilot with plane 41-19637 took off from Harrisburg Airport at 11:58 on an scheduled cooperative mission with 3AD on contact flight clearance to fly to vicinity Lebanon PA. And return to Harrisburg without landing.
The pilot ran into overcast near Lebanon and unsuccessfully attempted to let down on Harrissburg.
He proceeded east and unsuccesfully attempted to let down on Otis field, Camp Edwards. With only 10 gallons of fuel remaining (that is 45,04609 Liter) he climbed to 130000 feet feathered both props and attempted to notify all crew members to abandon Aircraft.
The 3 crew members jumped out but Maj. Cooke was still on it and it didn’t take long and the plane crashed.
The Aircraft was missing and it was now known as Accident no. 43-2-4-9.

The After Action report mention the Major his death in one line

What does the planecrash report say:
The pilot was cleared from Harrisburg CFR, to perform a cooperative mission with 3AD in local Harrisburg Area. He was to fly to Lebanon PA, establish radio contact and return to land at Harrisburg. Pilot pulled up into overcast in vicinity of Lebanon (due to low forward visibility) and was unable thereafter to return to home station or land elsewhere.
He claimed to have made two instrument approaches to the Harrisburg Airport – then proceeded to Baltimore between layers.
Arriving there he found himself on instruments and flew on the vicinity of Cape Cod, where he made a successfull jump when fuel supply came low.

Conclusion of the report:
The pilot did not check inter phone communication with observer (Maj. Cooke) in bombardier compartment, or establish other emergency signals to “abandon ship”. The Major stayed on the plane and was killed. The Radio operator and the and gunner apparently jumped but were not located during a five days of search. The search was being continued and one of the parachutes was found in the Cape Cod canal and this pointing to the probabillity that both men were drowned.

The aircraft was completely wrecked when it crashed.
I don’t need to tell you that the pilot was blamed on many points for this crash.

The Wareham Courier published this article about the Plane Crash on February 13th 1943

You can read that on this day that there was a rainey- storm and it was pouring down. A man was seen (the pilot) near the Mayflower ridge across the Wareham river. He walked true the heavy snow carrying his parachute part of the distance and coming out of the woods at the Wareham Country club where he organized a ride to Camp Edwards.

In his IDpdf there is nothing that explains how he died only his report of his death is an important document in it.

About the rest of the crew I can tell the same what I have already published here. The service numbers of these men I will keep for myself. The reason of this is that there are many people called Bailey but I don’t see the point for blaming them for the death of this crew.



Plane crash report 1943 (3ADMG)
IDpdf (3ADMG)
Picture plane Wikipedia
Wareham Courier

© 3d Armored Division Memorial Group (3ADMG)