Chester Arthur KNIGHT Jr.-8285 was born on 22 Dec 1921 in Jerome, Yavapai, Arizona. He died on 30 Dec 1942 in Roundup, Musselshell, Montana. He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Prescott, Yavapai, Arizona.
CENSUS: 1930 United States Federal Census
Name: Chester A Knight
Home in 1930: Humboldt, Yavapai, Arizona
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1922
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father's Name: Chester A
Mother's Name: Elsie W
Household Members: Name Age
Chester A Knight 33
Elsie W Knight 27
Chester A Knight 8
Robert L Knight 2 6/12
Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Humboldt, Yavapai, Arizona; Roll: 63; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 10; Image: 74.0.
DEATH: Montana Death Index, 1907-2002 Record
Name: Chester A Knight
Estimated Birth Year: 1921
Death Date: 30 Dec 1942
Index Number: Musl 1685
Source: Montana Office of Vital Statistics
KNIGHT, CHESTER A. Arizona Republic 2 5 01-Jan-1942
KNIGHT, CHESTER A. Phoenix Eve Gazette 2 6 31-Dec-1942
BIOGRAPHY: Roundup Record - Tribune & Winnett Times
Roundup, Montana, Wednesday, March 17, 1999
A trip down memory lane….
Bomber Crashes near Musselshell
By Phyllis Adolph
At 2:15 p.m. on December 30, 1942 a heavy four-motor B-17 U.S. Army “Flying Fortress” bomber crashed about ten miles south of Musselshell. Twelve men met a flaming death in this crash. The plane was totally destroyed by fire with exception of the vertical tail fin and some parts of the plane that had been torn away in the crash and thrown clear of the flames. The men were all badly burned. The crash occurred on the Roberts ranch just a few hundred yards east of the Musselshell-Custer Road. There were no eye witnesses to the actual crash, but many stated they saw the plane and it seemed to be in distress. The bomber was first seen flying low and south over Melstone. People from there said the seemed to be in difficulty after if flew over Melstone and later saw smoke to the southeast and immediately started out to look for the wrecked plane. Mrs. A. E. Foster of Absher first reported the crash to the Montana Power Company's office over the company's private telephone line within a few minutes after it happened, Harry Shelver, manager of the local office of the company, immediately relayed the news to army authorities at Lewistown and Great Falls as well as local officers. Those rescuers first on the scene were unable to approach the plane for about an hour because of the intense heat. They extinguished a grass fire which had been caused by the crash. Portions of the plane were still burning three hours after the accident. The pilot of the bomber, evidently attempting to land the plane, cleared a slight ridge and landed on sloping grassland in a southerly direction. The plane slithered on the belly of the fuselage for about 30 yards before hitting two pine trees about seven inches in diameter. The fuselage of the plane passed between the two trees, which hit the outer ends of the wings. The plane went about 70 yards further along the ground before coming to a stop. One motor of the plane was torn loose and was thrown about a 100 feet ahead of the plane. Musselshell County Undersheriff F. C. Ottman called the army air force satellite base at Lewistown informing them of the crash, but at that time it was not known where the plane was based or where it was going. It was later learned that it was based at Great Falls and was on a routine training flight from there. At 6:00 p.m. the night of the crash two cars and two ambulances went through Roundup from (form) Lewistown to the wrecked plane when they arrived there army officers assumed charge. Late more army men arrived from Great Falls and also went to the scene of the wreckage. It was first reported in the December 31, 1942 issue of the Roundup Record-Tribune that 11 men had lost their lives in the tragedy, however, on Thursday, the day after the crash, another body was found raising the death toll to 12. The bodies of the men were removed and taken to Great Falls. Captain John Lloyd, public relations officer at the base, said the bodies would go to the men's homes under military escort. Those killed in the crash, along with their ages and home towns, were listed as follows:
First Lieutenant Edward T. Layfield, 25, Baltimore, pilot
Second Lieutenant Gerald K. Beem, 23, Omaha, co-pilot
Major Orville A. Ralston, 48, Valentine, Neb., a bombardment group intelligence officer
Second Lieutenant Regis J. Newland, 21, Millvale, PA.
Second Lieutenant Chester A. Knight, 21, Prescott, AZ.
Staff Sergeant Frederick T. Brown, Almont, MI.
Staff Sergeant Hulon B. Dutton, Adairsville, GA.
Staff Sergeant Charles T. Valys, Creston, CA.
Technical Sergeant Wallace H. Hanson, St. Paul, MN.
Corporal Fred E. Murray, Danville, IL.
Corporal Hobart L. Hall, Sioux Falls, SD.
Private Jacob V. Reiss, Cleveland, OH.
The army undertook an official investigation immediately, however, if any conclusions were drawn, they were never printed in the local paper. On the morning following the accident a fleet of large trucks, equipped with cranes and semi-trailers, went to the scene to remove the wreckage. Although this happened over 50 years ago, we, here at the newspaper still get frequent requests for information about it. The crash is featured in a book published a few years ago entitled “Defenders of Liberty” and published by Turner Publishing in Paducah, Kentucky.
OBITUARY: Prescott Evening Courier
Thurs. Dec. 31, 1942 - Page 3
Prescott Boy Dies In Bomber Crash
Lt. Chester A. Knight Among Killed in Montana Hills
The body of a twelve flier was reported late today to have been found in the burned wreckage of the Army bomber. In which it had previously been reported that fliers met death. Musselshell, Mont., Dec. 31. (AP) Eleven army fliers were killed in the crash of a flying fortress yesterday near this central Montana village. The four-motored bomber was on a routine training flight from its base at Great Falls. It burned after crashing in the wooded hill country 11 miles south of here. Capt. John Lloyd, public relations officer at the Great Falls airbase, said today that the casualty list included: 2nd. Lt. Chester A. Knight, of Prescott, Ariz. The bodies were taken to Roundup and will be provided to their homes. Deputy Sheriff Frank Ottman of Roundup visited the crash scene as the wreckage still blazed. Ottman reported two bodies had been hurled clear of the plane and the eight others lay inside the wreckage. Others who visited the scene said the big plane had all but cleared a slope. "From gouges made in the earth, the plane apparently bounced once, then slithered about a 100 yards before bursting into flames," said George Swerrtelle, Roundup newspaperman. John McCleary, a sheep rancher, led a crew of residents of the area in a vain fight to extinguish the flames. The flames started a small prairie fire. McCleary said he noticed the plane flying unusually low shortly before it crashed at 2:30 p. m. (MWT). He said the tail "seemed to be fluttering." Residents of Melstone, a nearby town reported a plane seemed to be in trouble flew over the town 15 or 20 minutes earlier. Lt. Chester Arthur Knight, the son of Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Knight, Sr., of this city, was born in Jerome, December 22, 1921, but the family moved to Prescott when he was a small child and he received his early education here. He was a graduate of the class of 1940 and then attended school at the Arizona State Teachers college at Tempe for a year and half. He was a member of the Tau Sigma Phi fraternity and took a prominent part in dramatics both in high school and college. He was also very active in Boy Scout work. While attending college, he received a scholarship to the Radio Workshop at Milwaukee and attended a summer session in 1941, during which he had an audition over NBC. He was associated with the local radio station before enlisting in the Army Air Corps, January 13, 1942. He was sent first to Ellington Field, Texas, and from there to the Albuquerque Air Base, where he received his wings. He was assigned to various fields and took advance training as a bombardier at Wendover, Utah. For the past month he had been stationed at Great Falls, Montana, from which place he called his family on Christmas Day. He is survived by his parents and two brothers, Robert and Donald. An uncle, Pvt. 1/c Arthur E. Meyers is in service and an aunt, Miss Barbara Meyers, formerly of Prescott, resides in San Bernardino. Other relatives reside in Jerome. Lieut. Knight was highly esteemed for his sterling qualities of character and his parents have numerous letters, from those whom he met in service, telling of their admiration for the young man. He was in line for promotion, when the accident occurred.
Fri. Jan. 1, 1943
Sec. 2. Page 5
Rec. James D. Nelson
Prescott Flier Dies in Crash
Prescott, Dec. 31-(AP) Killed with 11 other army airmen when a Flying Fortress crashed yesterday near Musselshell, Mont… was Lt. Chester Arthur Knight, who before the war was associated with radio station KYCA in Prescott. Knight was a native of Jerome and moved to this city with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Knight, Sr., when a small child, Knight celebrated his 21st birthday nine days ago. He graduated from the Albuquerque Air Base and took advanced training as a bombardier at Wendover, Utah. He had been stationed in Montana a month. The young airman graduated from Prescott High School in 1939 and then attended Arizona State Teachers College at Tempe. In 1941, he won a scholarship to the Radio Workshop at Milwaukee. In addition to his parents, Knight is survived by two brothers, Robert and Donald.
BIRTH: Name: Chester Arthur Knight Jr.
Birth Date: 22 December 1921
Father's Name: Chester Arthur Knight
Father's Birthplace: Telluride, Colorado
Father's Age: 25
Mother's Name: Elsie Myers
Mother's Birthplace: Cripple Creek, Colorado
Mother's Age: 19
State File #: 472-29-14
Collection: Arizona Birth Ceritificate Collection