Type: Douglas C-47A Skytrain
Part: 34 TCS USAAF
Crash date: 18th September 1944
Crash location: Bovenpolder, Dodewaard
Commander: 1st. Lt. T. Tucker
This aircraft, number 43-15175, took off from the British Spanhoe’s RAF airport on 18th September 1944. On board was an American crew, consisting of pilot 1st Lt. Thomas Tucker, co-pilot 2nd Lt. David Snowden, liaison officer S/Sgt Walter Hewitt and crew chief T/Sgt Woodrow Durbin. As well as 19 British paratroopers from the British 10th Parachute Batallion. Major P.R.E. (Patrick) Anson, Sgt. J.D. Bateman, Pte. A. Craggs,
Pte. J.S. Turner, Pte. J.L. Thompson, Cpl. R.A. Ellwood, Pte. J.A. Treeves, Pte. James, Cpl. Collins, Pte. Simpson, Pte. K.R. Wilson, Pte. E.G. Gratton, Pte. R.E. Leigh, Pte. J.W. Slates, Pte. E. Stone, Pte. D. Gillies, Pte. Morris. Pte. R. Anderson and Sgt. N. Carter.
The aircraft was hit by German anti-aircraft guns near Oss. The C-47A was damaged to such an extent that everyone was forced to leave it. All managed to land safely between Oss and Lith. The aircraft continued to fly on autopilot for another 23 km before it crashed near Dodewaard around 14:10 hours.
The 4 crew members and 19 British paratroopers eventually ended up in the Geffen polder, where they were looked after by members of the Lith resistance group. They left for Arnhem on foot, led by Sgt. Bateman. They had a brief fire fight when they encountered a couple of Germans in Oyen, before they joined the American 82nd Airborne division in Grave.
From there the paratroopers probably left for Nijmegen, in order to join their own troops in Arnhem. They unfortunately never made it.
You can find out more about this crash here.
Spanhoe airfield, as it looked from the air in 1944.
The approach to the C-47A Skytrain’s crash site: the Bovenpolder in Polder De Waarden, between Waalbandijk and Veerstoep. Coördinates: Veerstoep and Veerstoep. Coordinates: 5350-6955.