The folder was mislaid all these and finding it has probably opened as many questions as it answered. But as I always say, "In God we trust, all others provide data", so fcats are a good thing.
The file was not in the index under anything sensible. I found it by giving a new research my elevator speech on the mystery I was trying to solve and the folder I was trying to locate. Impressing on her that I'd been bouncing back between NARA 1 and 2 for years, doing this search part-time, I'd found one other L-ship accident folder at NARA 1. I then gave her the names of the people involved in the L2-G1 accident and off she went.
An hour later she came back saying she'd located a folder referencing Frank Trotter, the commander of the G-1 and asked whether I'd like to have it submitted for the 3:30 pull.
Naturally I did as any item related to the L-8/L-2/G-1 are treasure for me.
I got the box just before 4:00pm and had until 4:30 to skim through the folders contained in the box and found the folder among the dozen in the box in a few minutes. It was misfiled under 1940 instead of 1942 and under one name instead as a case file.
Eureka! It did refer to Frank Trotter but it was actually the L-2/G-1 Inquest transcript folder!
I quickly photographed the contents oft he folder knowing I had to head back home to New Jersey. Later that evening at home I found that I didn't do that great a job and most of the photos were blurry, but I did have the numbers for the box. I went back this past Monday and in the few hours before the government shutdown I finished photographing the contents - twice - and read the contents a several times, mouth a gap.
I out the real story of what happened that night and somethings I'd found in other sources were right, others incorrect. I'll make sure the truth gets out there.
One thing I found is that Dr Wyse was on the L-2 with Cmdr. Clinton Rounds, burned and dies of helium anioxia, not Dr. Hoover. Dr. Hoover was on the G-1.
The G-1's gondola was entangled with the L-2 at the time of the collision and both fell into the water together. It was only after the Coast Guard Cutter 4344 attempted to move the blimps towards shore did the G-1 gondola detach. The gas bags were covering the gondolas and men attempted to dive and wade over the cover searching for the crash victims. The CG Cutter attached and attempted the move as a way of possibly uncovering the gondola and uncovering anyone underneath. They acted quickly and bravely, and that included two civilian scientists aboard the 4344. Ensign Fahey was in the water for a short period of time and not the hours that other sources reported. It appears that the crash was not the result of a premature explosion of Dr. Hoovers device but a collision in the dark, the L-2 running into the side of the G-1.
The inquest has also opened up one mystery I'll share. The L-2 apparently did not have any of Dr. Hoover's photoflash devices aboard it and was there to photograph the experiment with still and movie cameras pointed at the 4344 acting as the "enemy sub". After the crash, sitting it the water, the crew observed that there was a flash from the L-2. I'll need to figure out how Clinton Rounds and Dr. Wyse received burns over the back of their bodies. The inquest discusses whether gasoline fumes could have burned the men but the conclusion was that it would have caused more damage - cloths, hair, equipment, etc - would have showed signs of gasoline fumes blowing up.
I'm in mystery detectives heaven!
I'll trying to figure a way of posting the L-8 and L-2/G-1 Inquest online. Out of space. I also found some other things this last trip that make my case that my theory is correct.
More to come.
|Drawing of Ensign Fahey's testimony about flight pattern of L-2 and G-1|