2nd Lt. Robert Turchette
Killed in Air Crash
Nutley co-pilot and crew honored for avoiding populated area
SERVICES MONDAY FOR ARMY FLYER, 8TH CASUALTY
(March 19, 1943) – 2nd Lt. Robert Turchette was killed
aboard a bomber that crashed Friday afternoon in
His family was notified Saturday morning.
On Sunday they received a telegram from Robert’s commanding officer stating that he had been among those definitely killed in the crash.
The flier’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Turchette of
It would have been his first since joining the Air
Force shortly after the attack on
His mother remarked that he was strongly incensed over the Japanese attack. Although she was reluctant to see him go, she couldn’t stand in his way. “You wouldn’t want me to stay home, mother,” he said, “you wouldn’t want that kind of a son.”
Robert, the eighth local war casualty, always liked planes and made many model planes as a youngster.
When the Turchettes moved to
Aside from airplanes, Robert’s other great love was music. He was an accomplished pianist, and he practiced incessantly. He loved classical music, and he regularly attended concerts at Carnegie Hall.
He was such an enthusiastic admirer of Horowitz, the
gifted pianist, that he sometimes followed him out of
“Music to him was like another life,” his mother said. “Once he took me to Carnegie Hall and I saw him trembling all over as he listened to the music. And I could understand his great love for it. It lifted him to a life above our own.”
Robert developed not only his own interest in music but encouraged his sister, Jacqueline, of whom he was very fond, to develop her talents as a pianist and accordionist. He often wrote her urging her to practice as much as she could. Once he wrote: “I’m dying to hear you play.”
His interest in music created a conflict as to his future life work owing to his equally great enthusiasm for airplanes.
He finally decided to earn a livelihood in the latter
field, and in 1939, following his graduation from Barringer High in
He was in the middle of his sophomore year when he decided to enlist in the Army.
His letters home, his mother said, were masterpieces of prose. He would write not only of his work, but also of the cloud formations, the canyons and the mountains over which he flew.
Lt. Turchette was very fond of dogs and his particular
favorite was Tipple, a scion of a line of police dogs and
With the current goings on, Tipple seems to sense that something is wrong. But like the little toy dog in Eugene Field’s “Little Boy Blue,” he patiently sits back and awaits his master’s return.
Mrs. Turchette said that she has received letters and visits from hundreds of people, many of whom she never knew before now. “They have all be very kind,” she added, “wonderfully kind.”
The Turchettes have another son, Ernest, who is married
and lives in
Services were conducted Monday at Stirratt Funeral Home
followed by interment at Immaculate Conception Cemetery,
Nutley copilot helped keep bomber
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