Capt. Earnest Roberts

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U.S.Flag   Reserve Marine Capt. Ernest Roberts, 26, had been officially reported as dead by the Navy Department.

Capt. Roberts, son of Mr. And Mrs. Gene Roberts of Spur, was first reported missing when the trainer plane which he was flying crashed in the swamps near Plaquemine, LA. Sunday Morning, May 13. Late Wednesday there had still been no report of the body being found, but it is believed to be in, under, or near the demolished plane that is reported to be sunk into 20 feet of mud and swamp water.

The wreckage was discovered from the air Sunday afternoon, but it was Monday before the necessary men and equipment could reach the scene to continue the search for the man and begin the excavation of the wrecked plane.

Mr. And Mrs. Roberts and son, Wayne, left Spur Sunday afternoon to be on hand during the search.

Capt. Roberts graduated from Spur High School and was currently enrolled in LSU.

©The Texas Spur, May 17, 1956
Transcribed by Becky Hodges, September 2004

Services Held for Capt. Ernest Roberts

Funeral services for Reserve Marine Capt. Ernest Roberts, 26, were held Wednesday, June 6, in Mobile, Ala. He was the son of Mr. And Mrs. Gene Roberts of Spur.

Capt. Roberts was killed in a jet plane crash in the swamps of Louisiana on Sunday Morning, May 13. The body was not recovered from the wreckage near Plaquemine, LA., until Saturday evening, June 2. The search for the body by both Army and Navy crews were unsuccessful. It was a private company with a drag line and barge that finally lifted the wrecked plane from the 20 feet of swamp mud and water and disclosed the body of the young flyer.

Mr. And Mrs. Roberts have been in Louisiana since first hearing of the accident. Other survivors include Capt. Robert's wife and a small child.

©The Texas Spur, June 7, 1956
Transcribed by Becky Hodges, September 2004

The phone rang about 4 p.m. one afternoon, it was their daughter-in-law telling them that Velma and Gene´s son was missing from a mission he had been flying while using their instruments to fly by.

Within an hour, Gene had contacted everyone about the bus schedules and what needed to be done and collected their other boy, Wayne, as he was playing ball. While Gene did all these things, Velma got their clothes together for the trip and they were ready to leave within an hours time for Louisiana.

They drove all night to get there and stopped in Baton Rouge for breakfast. The paper stand was just inside the door of the cafe and when she walked in ahead of her husband and boy, there were the headlines about the plane crash in which her son was killed. She couldn´t bear to eat breakfast. They went on to the town closest to where the plane went down.

They located the plane in a few days in a swamp and couldn´t get the plane out, for it was lodged in the mud and water in the bottom of the swamp. Gene Roberts worked everyday with the rest of the rescue crew dynamiting the trees and whatever obstacles for the equipment to get through. The government hired Kansas City Bridge Company to get the plane out of the swamp. They succeeded in lifting the body of the plane out of the swamp, and Gene cut the straps off of his son´s body to get him out of the plane. This was after three weeks time in the belly of the swamp.

He was buried in the Alabama National Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama, where his wife and daughter lived.

©Story as told by Velma Roberts to Kay Laster


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