George C. Sherwood was a frequent visitor at Tucson. He landed seven times. Each time he was based at Los Angeles, CA, probably Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, CA. He flew four different identified Lockheed Vegas (NC7953, NC574E, NC195E and NC434E), and a Douglas B-8 he did not identify by registration number. He carried passengers on all his flights, but most were unidentified. Please direct your browser to the links for the individual aircraft for further details on dates and itineraries.
According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Sherwood was born during July, 1897. At age two, he lived in Stockton township, IN with his father, James B. (age 33), mother, Minnie M. (31), and three older brothers, Olan M. (10), Bert G. (8) and Stanley H. (6).
At age 12, in the 1910 Census, Sherwood lived with his family in Green County, IN. His father was a "Retail Merchant" in a "Department Store." Oldest brother Olan had moved out and three new brothers and a sister had been added to the family over the last decade.
By the time of the 1920 Census, the family had moved to Burbank, CA. Father James was employed as a real estate agent working on his own account. George, now age 22, worked as a "Ship fitter" in a "Ship yard." Two additional children were added: Harrold R. (7) and Martha M. (6). Sherwood was the oldest child living at home in 1920. Over two decades, Sherwood was the fourth oldest of ten siblings.
Sherwood served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and, in 1927, was assigned to the California National Guard. Coincidentally, one of his exploits while in the Guard was a 1927 search and rescue flight looking for movie star Marion Mack. That flight, with news articles, is documented at the biography page for Register pilot William G. Plummer.
Washington Post, May 2, 1932 (Source: NASM)
The 1930 Census found Sherwood living at age 32 at 3154 Waverly Drive, Los Angeles, CA with his wife Arline (29) and their son George, Jr. (9). Sherwood was employed as a "Pilot" in the "Aviation" industry. Today that Waverly Drive address is a large home with a long, green lawn in front in a neighborhood of other well-landscaped homes.
Sherwood's biographical folder at the NASM is very sparse (for good reason, see below), containing only a single newspaper cartoon, right, from the Washington Post of Monday, May 2, 1932. The feat described must have been performed in Death Valley, whose maximum altitude below sea level is 282 feet. He had 56 feet to spare. His flight is not surprising, given that two of Sherwood's aircraft that he flew to Tucson, specifically 195E and 434E, were owned by Nevada Airlines, Inc.
At some point, Sherwood joined Western Air Express. On Christmas day, 1932, Sherwood made the news for acting as an aerial Santa Claus the evening before, below. Sherwood stands at left in the photograph. Santa Claus allegedly flew with Sherwood and his co-pilot.
The Salt Lake Tribune, December 25, 1932 (Source: Woodling)
In another exploit while in the Guard, Sherwood appeared in the news in the Salt Lake City Tribune (UT) March 18, 1934. He was part of a group of five reserve officer pilots and five civilian pilots chosen to fly the U.S. airmail. Military involvement in airmail transport during the 1930s was a messy affair. Unfortunately, for many of the pilots, the army was not up to the task. Fellow Register pilot Benjamin Foulois lost his job over it.
Sherwood was killed in 1935 while flying civilian mail near Burbank, CA. Ironically, he crash-landed in a cemetery. His observation squadron was the first military group to occupy Sherwood Field. A report of the crash appeared in the The Anniston Star (AL) of September 2, 1935, below.
EXPRESS PLANE CRASHES, KILLS CREW OF THREE.
WESTERN AIR EXPRESS FALLS, BURNS ONLY MILE FROM LOS ANGELES AIRPORT.
Los Angeles, Sept. 2. (U.P.) -- A Western Air express plane crashed and burst into flames shortly before midnight, burning its crew of two men and a woman to death.
Western Air dispatchers listed the crew as GEORGE SHERWOOD, 38, veteran Los Angeles pilot; FRED M. BURLEW, co-pilot, Glendale, Calif.; DONNA NAYLOR, stewardess, Burbank, Calif.
Less than a mile from the airport its motors began sputtering, MALDIN BURT, Van Nuys rancher reported.
"The plane was flying low and it seemed that the motor was sputtering," he said. "The pilot gave it the gun. It seemed to zoom up and then the motor went dead and the plane nosed downward."
"The pilot looked like he was trying to pull up its nose and he succeeded partly. The plane, skimmed across several irrigation stempipes [sic] and the propeller broke off."
"It skidded across Empire Boulevard here and went into a cow pasture. Suddenly it broke into flames."
Another unsourced obituary from September 4th is below.
Funeral Held for Airliner's Pilot
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 4. (UPI) Funeral services for George C. Sherwood, veteran pilot, killed when his Western Air Express airliner crashed Sunday night, were held here today. The plane burst into flames when it plunged to earth a few minutes after taking off for Salt Lake City. Sherwood's co-pilot and a stewardess also were killed. Sherwood, who won his wings during the World War, is survived by a widow, Arline Sherwood, a son, George, his mother, Mrs. Minnie Sherwood, and six brothers.
Berkeley Daily Gazette (CA), July 29, 1941 (Source: Woodling)
In 1941, Sherwood Field in Paso Robles, CA was named for Captain George Sherwood, the first commander of the 115th Observation Squadron of the California National Guard. This posthumous award was reported by the Berkeley Daily Gazette (CA) of July 29, 1941, left.
Although he died as a young man, if you can help fill in the blanks in pilot Sherwood's biography, including exact birth date, military career and family history, please let me KNOW.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 10/14/11 REVISED: 05/16/12, 07/21/16, 07/28/16