S2/c USNR WWII
October 9, 2015
"In some ways it is fitting that Louis' final resting place was in the sea that he so loved and had spent much of his childhood near. But to have a paver in his memory, something tangible, brings comfort to his surviving family members." --Beverly S.
by Minerva Bloom
Artifact 1.- MALDEN EVENING NEWS - MALDEN MASSACHUSETTS, 1943
LOUIS J BELZARINE JR DIES IN PLANE CRASH
Graduate of Cheverus and Lincoln Junior High in Plane
Which Collided in Mid-Air With Another Near Fort
Lauderdale, Fla, Killing Five and Injuring Sixth.
Father Is Resident of West Harwich. Had Been in Service
for Year as Navy Aviation Radioman.
Louis Joseph Belzarine Jr, 20, who made his home with his aunt, Mrs Walter Grover, was one of five men killed, while another was seriously injured when two Navy planes crashed in mid-air over the ocean near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Saturday. Announcement of the accident was made by the Navy dept yesterday after the families of the victims had been notified.
In Service a Year
Belzarine had been in the service just a year, having studied radio at Quoddy, ME, and then taking flying training. He was an aviation radioman third class. Russell F. Beaton, who held a similar rank, of Dorchester, was also killed as were three Navy airmen from Texas. Raymond J. Cote, Leominster, aviation machinist's mate, third class, was injured and was rescued. The two planes crashed while on routine training flights. Louis Belzarine was the son of Mr and Mrs Louis J. Belzarine Sr, formerly of Maiden and now residing in West Harwich on Cape Cod. He was educated in the Cheverus school and the Lincoln school here and then went to Putnam, Conn, where he graduated from the High school. Following graduation he studied radio at Quoddy and then entered the Navy, training at Newport and Memphis, Tenn. He was in Malden for a visit last January and last Tuesday his aunt received a letter from him. Besides his parents and aunt he leaves a brother, John 17, who is at Bradford, NH and a sister, Mary Gladys, 19.
Artifact 2.- NAS Fort Lauderdale - Commander Pratt
UNITED STATES NAVAL AIR STATION
Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
June 28, 1943
My dear Mr. Belzarine:
The purpose of this letter is to extend to you the deepest sympathy of all of us here on the Naval Air Station. The death of any young man is a cruel blow, and particularly so, in the case of a man of Louis' caliber. During the time he has been with us he established himself as a young man of well above average ability. He has been undergoing training at this station as a member of a torpedo plane crew. He had many friends and they all thought highly of him. The accident occurred on Saturday about 9.00 A.M., five miles off shore of Fort Lauderdale. Several planes were on a regularly scheduled training flight and Louis was performing his duties as a member of the crew. During maneuvers, two planes locked wings and plunged into the ocean, sinking immediately in water over six hundred feet deep. Extensive search by boats and planes at the spot found no trace of the wreckage. Unfortunately, diving operations are impossible due to the depth of the water. Energetic search has continued but no hope of recovery can be held out.
It is unfortunate that wherever flight training is in progress we do have airplane accidents. It is my hope that you share our feelings that Louis gave his life in the service of his country. His record in the Navy Department states that he died in line of duty.
Signed: J.L. Pratt, Commander, U.S.N.
Artifact 3.- NAS Fort Lauderdale - Chaplain Bayne
UNITED STATES NAVAL AIR STATION
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
26 June 1944
My dear Mr. and Mrs. Belzarine,
I want to write to tell you about the memorial wreath which we dropped at sea this afternoon in commemoration of your son's death a year ago. Thanks to your money order we were able to secure a very handsome spray of twenty-seven roses in a bed of sweet fern -- a most fitting and lovely tribute which I am most sorry you could not have seen.
Shortly after two o'clock this afternoon one of our flying officers and I flew out to the spot just off the coast where the crash occurred. When we reached the location, we flew down over the water in a wide circle so I could drop the spray without damaging it. As we circled both the pilot and I could watch the flowers fall until they reached and floated on the sea, which was very calm and gentle -- then, with a salute and a prayer for the repose of his soul and for God's mercy on you both, we returned to our field.
I hope you will know how glad we were to be privileged to carry out your wishes for this memorial. I know that today has been a day of deep remembrance for you, and sadness, too -- yet the flowers we dropped for you symbolize to us much more than just the sadness of parting. They symbolize, too, the proud comradeship of those who have served their country without fear and without reproach, a comradeship to which every one of us would count it an honor and joy to belong. With deepest prayers for God's blessing upon you and yours, believe me,
Very sincerely yours,
Stephen F. Bayne, Jr.