Mark Rainsford was born in New York on May 11, 1918. He was the son of Dr. Lawrence F. Rainsford who was born in Canada and Helen M. Rainsford born in Illinois. He had an older brother Lawrence and the family lived at 135 Highland Road and were members of Christs Church. He prepared for college at Rye Country Day School and at Middlesex School, Concord, Mass and graduated from Trinity College. At Trinity he was a member of Alpha Chi Rho. During his vacations from college he studied portrait painting under Wayman Adams. Mark enlisted in the U.S. Army in June,1941, shortly after his graduation from Trinity College.
While in service he married Elizabeth Dodge on July 21, 1942, in the Presbyterian Church, Riverdale, N. Y. Their daughter Gale was born on April 2. 1943.
Mark Rainsford, was a lieutenant in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. He headed a group which camouflaged military air bases on the West Coast. Having studied painting in college, he was assigned to that type of work with the regiment of Army engineers to which he was attached.
Promotion to the rank of sergeant followed several months of camouflaging air bases on the West coast. He was later assigned to officers training in the camouflage division of the Engineers School at Fort Belvoir, Va. He received his commission on June 24,1942.
Mark died on July 28, 1943, at the age of 25 when American Airlines Flight 63 from Cleveland to Memphis, a DC-3, crashed and burned on a farm near Trammel Post Office, Allen County, Kentucky, twenty miles southeast of Bowling Green. Of the 22 people on board, 20 died, including all four crew members. The cause of the crash was loss of control due to severe turbulence and violent downdrafts.
Lieutenant Rainsford, a camouflage officer in the Army Engineer Corps, had been stationed at Dayton, Ohio, and was traveling on official business with several military officers who were listed among the victims. Tragically, the plane that replaced this one on Flight 63 crashed three months later, killing all on board.
A native of Rye, he was the son of Laurence F. and Helen M. Rainsford, husband of Elizabeth Dodge, and grandson of the Rev. Dr. William S. Rainsford. Besides his wife, he was survived by a daughter, Gale Rainsford. Lieutenant Rainsfords gravestone says, "He died in the line of duty".
"Lieutenant Mark Rainsford, whose tragic death as a passenger on a commercial airliner is reported in this issue, died a soldiers death just as much as if he were killed on the field of battle. Traveling on official army business, he was killed in line of duty.
It is shocking that men of Lieutenant Rainsfords ability, whose services are so vital to winning the war, should be lost in this manner. Enlisting as a private, Lieutenant Rainsford soon gained recognition in the Army and his promotion to sergeant was followed by opportunity to attend Officers Training School where he won his commission.
The family of Lieutenant Rainsford have the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community in their bereavement. Everyone who knew Mark Rainsford liked him for he was the kind of a man you could not help liking. Born and brought up in Rye, he was held in the highest affection and his untimely death is severely felt by countless friends. In their grief for his loss, his family, we hope, will find some solace in the fact that he gave
his life to his country."
Howard U. Archer, Editor-Manager Rye Chronicle 1943