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Uncovering Errol Flynn’s Connection to This Hudson Valley Memorial

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Photo by David Rocco

A local photographer discovers the story of two Vietnam photographers after spotting a mysterious memorial in Katonah’s Lasdon Park.

What does Errol Flynn have to do with a memorial at Lasdon Park?

In the November 2020 issue, the “Where in the Valley” quiz featured a memorial statue of a dog named “Chips” at the Trail of Honor at Lasdon Park, dedicated to hero dogs in the military. The first person to recognize the location was photographer David Rocco, who recently shared his own solved mystery:

Memorial

Photo by David Rocco

I first visited Katonah’s Lasdon Park, in the spring of 2000 because I had heard about the remarkable Veterans Memorial Trail of Honor. After I completed my walk on the trail, I noticed a small concrete memorial near the entrance for Vietnam War combat photographer Sean Flynn, who I later learned was the son of legendary actor Errol Flynn. I found this fascinating, but I didn’t follow up on why a memorial to Sean Flynn was in a Westchester County park until last March.

It turns out a retired Westchester County Park’s administrator had the monument placed there, along with a memorial tree, before the Trail of Honor existed. He, like me, was an Errol Flynn fan. He wanted to honor Errol Flynn’s son, who had lost his life covering the Vietnam War.

Errol Flynn

public domain photo from National Library of Australia, via Wikipedia

Flynn and fellow combat photographer and friend, Dana Stone, crossed the Vietnam-Cambodia border on April 6, 1970, in hopes of getting an exclusive story from the perspective of the Viet Cong who were in Cambodia. Sadly, they were captured. They were never seen or heard from again. It was determined that Flynn and Stone were executed in June 1971. Their remains have never been found, despite exhaustive searches.

1966 Dana Stone and Sean Flynn Vietnam War

1966 Dana Stone and Sean Flynn Vietnam War. In 1966 Dana Stone went to Vietnam and became friends with Sean Flynn, son of movie star Errol Flynn. Here they are with Dana Stone seated and right behind him on the right is Sean Flynn. Flickr / manhhai. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

In response to requests made by friends and family of Dana Stone, Friends of Westchester County Parks has agreed to install a memorial monument alongside Flynn’s monument this spring to honor Stone. This installation will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Sean Flynn and Dana Stone’s deaths.

For additional information, read Two of the Missing, Remembering Sean Flynn and Dana Stone by Perry Deane Young.