Died On Assignment

May 3, 1939

The Commercial Appeal's airplane — it had a fleet once to carry reporters to distant assignments — crashed near Grenada, Mississippi, killing all three occupants, including Mayor Crump's youngest son, John.

Crump, secretary of his father’s real estate firm, and pilot George Stokes were headed to Grenada as part of a four-plane, multi-city tour promoting Memphis' Cotton Carnival. They were accompanied by CA reporter Ted Northington.

Five hundred people from Grenada were assembled at the field to greet the visitors. They saw the new Cessna monoplane circle the field twice, come in low for a landing, and go in to a terrifying spin.

Awe-stricken spectators, who just a few minutes before had been listening to cheery band music, rushed toward the burning ship, but could not reach it because of the searing heat from ignited gasoline.

The Commercial Appeal purchased a series of airplanes in the 1930's, including this white plane decorated with comic strip characters. This photograph of the plane was taken as it flew over Memphis on January 20, 1939. George Stokes was hired as pilot to fly reporters to the scenes of news stories, sports writers to games and editors to meetings and conferences. Stokes taught himself to be a competent photographer and even invented a method of developing pictures in the air while returning from an assignment. While flying a goodwill mission on May 2, 1939, Stokes and reporter Ted Northington along with John Crump, the youngest son of E.H. Crump, were all killed near Grenada, MS. (The Commercial Appeal)

Top Photo: The Commercial Appeal purchased a series of airplanes in the 1930's, including this white plane decorated with comic strip characters. This photograph of the plane was taken as it flew over Memphis on January 20, 1939. George Stokes was hired as pilot to fly reporters to the scenes of news stories, sports writers to games and editors to meetings and conferences. Stokes taught himself to be a competent photographer and even invented a method of developing pictures in the air while returning from an assignment. While flying a goodwill mission on May 2, 1939, Stokes and reporter Ted Northington along with John Crump, the youngest son of E.H. Crump, were all killed near Grenada, MS. (The Commercial Appeal)

Bottom Photo: The front page pictured the three who lost thier lives in the crash.

The front page pictured the three who lost thier lives in the crash.