Durward O. Lowry – Second Lieutenant, United States Army Air Corps

Lieutenant Lowry, 50 Miles Off Course, Crashed In Trying To Land In Field
Two Others Are Injured
Dietz Badly Hurt In Maryland
Texas, Not Flying The Mails Also Meets Death
February 23, 1934

One Army pilot was killed, a second critically injured hurt and a third slightly injured yesterday while attempting to push the mail through bad weather.  Several others landed at emergency fields.

Lieutenant Duward O. Lowry of Milwaukee, attached to First Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, crashed to his death in sparsely wooded country about fifty miles south of Toledo early yesterday while flying from Chicago to Cleveland with a mail load.

His plane was demolished and the mail bags were scattered for some distance behind the place at which the wrecked machine came to rest.

With black skies, rain and miserable flying conditions to hamper him, Lieuenant Harold Dietz, flying from Newark to Richmond, crashed into a pasture near Marion Station, Maryland, about six o'clock last night.  He was rushed to the McCready Hospital at Crisfield, suffering from a fractured skull and internal damages.

Dietz had left Newark Airport at 4 P.M. after flying to the West had been suspended for several hour because of bad weather over the mountains and increasing storm conditions from the West.

Near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Lieutenant Charles P. Hollstein, on his way to Washington from Cleveland with the night mail, crashed in making a forced landing. He suffered superficial face injuries, but after reporting at Uniontown walked back into the hills to his plane and returned with the mail to send it on by train.  He had been fifty miles off course when he crashed.  Hollstein attributed his accident to a faulty radio.

Just before Lowry's crash in Ohio Charles Thurston, a farmer, heard the plane just over the roof of his house, near Deshler.  He opened a window and heard themotof cut out. Then he heard the impact of the plane on the uneven ground. He promptly notified the town authorities in Deshler who called Toledo.  Apparently Lowry, fifty miles off his course, had attempted to hand and was moving fast when his plane struck.  It plowed an erratic course along the ground and came to a stop on the edge of a creek.

Lowry was 30 years of and a graduate of the University of Michigan. He completed his course at the Army's advanced flying school at Kelly Field and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Corps Reserve and assigned to active duty with the First Pursuit Group Selfridge Field.  That same year he received a commission in the Regular Army.  His mother, Mrs. Dorothy Lowry Reisdorf, learned from a newspaper headline of the accident, according to the Associated Press.  “Good as they are,' she said in Detroit, “those Selfridge Field Fliers shouldn't have to fly at night tnrough Winter storms over unfamiliar courses that it took months for commercial pilots to learn.”

Lowry's was the first death since the Air Corps actually undertook to carry the mail.  It was the fourth death, however, in connection with the mail service.

Lieutenant H. M. McCoy, who left Newark about noon yesterday, was forced to land in two hours at Dishtown in the Alleghenies due to engine failure.  He was unhurt and turned the mail over to the post officer at Woodland.  For several hours officers at Newark were badly worried for him.

Another Army pilot was killed yesterday, but he was not engaged in mail flying.  Lieutenant Frederick T.Patrick lost his life near Dennison, Texas, his home, when his plane spun into the ground from an altitude of 200 feet.  Patrick had been assigned to Barksdale Field at Schrevesport, Louisiana.  He had been flying since 1918.


WASHINGTON, February 26, 1934 – Funeral services for two of the army aviators killed since the Air Corps took over carrying the mail were conducted this morning at Arlington National Cemetery.

Second Lieutenant Durward O. Lowry, who was killed while carrying the mail near Dreshler, Ohio, on February 22 was buried at 11 o'clock.

Services for First Lieutenant Frederick L. Patrick, who was killed near Denison, Texas, on February 22, while en route to his station, were conducted an hour previously.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 02/22/1934

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