Type: Douglas C-47A Skytrain
Part: 43 Squadron USAAF
Crash date: 18th September 1944
Crash location: Pijenkampseveldweg, Dodewaard
Commander: 1st. Lt. J.H. Spurrier
This Dakota, number 43-16032, took off from the British Spanhoe RAF airport on 18th September 1944 and was destined for Arnhem. On board was an American crew, consisting of pilot 1st Lt. James Harvey Spurrier, co-pilot 2nd Lt. Edward Fulmer, liaison officer Cpl. William T. Hollis and crew chief Cpl. Russell M. Smith. Also 17 members of the British 10th Parachute Battalion: Platoon Commander Sgt. Albert E. Spring, Pte. N. Davies, Cpl. J. Morton, Pte. J. Westbury, Pte. A. Hare, L/Cpl W. Hodgson, Pte. R. Shurbourne, Pte. W. Wilson, Pte. J. Clapperton, Pte. G. Thomson, Sgt. R.C. Haddrell, Pte. Alfred William Penwill. Pte. J. Smith, Pte. J. Hayes, Pte F.W. Bramley, Sgt. W. Conley and Cpl. R.W. Baker.
The aircraft was hit by German Flak anti-aircraft guns, resulting in a fire on board. Pilot Spurrier was hit by shrapnel and was killed instantly. Co-pilot Fulmer had no option but to initiate an emergency landing and maintained altitude for as long as possible, making sure the paratroopers and part of the crew had sufficient time to leave the aircraft by parachute. The aircraft took two high-voltage pylons with it on its way down.
Pilot James Spurrier was found completely charred in the aircraft’s wreckage after the crash and was buried at the site. He was reburied at the Military Cemetery in Margraten at a later stage.
Sadly Pte. Penwill didn’t manage to survive the crash either, as his parachute didn’t open. He was initially buried in Opheusden, but was later reburied at the Airborne War Cemetery in Oosterbeek.
Liaison officer Hollis’ parachute unfolded too late, resulting in him dying soon after his fall from serious internal injuries. He was initially buried at the cemetery in Opheusden, but was also transferred to Margraten at a later stage.
Co-pilot Edward Fulmer was removed from the wreckage with serious burns and was taken to De Snellenburg at the Hamsestraat in Opheusden. He stayed there until 24th September 1944. He subsequently returned to Nijmegen with the first English units in Opheusden. From there he flew to the UK via Brussels on 28th September 1944. Fulmer was awarded the Military Order of William after the war. You can find more information about him here.
Crew chief Russell Smith landed awkwardly with his parachute and hurt his leg and ankle. He cycled to Kesteren in civilian clothing on 19th September 1944, in order to join the remaining para’s. They had settled in the De Hazenhof farm. He was brought back to his own lines by the underground movement via Tiel a few weeks later.
The remaining 16 paratroopers were looked after by the resistance group led by Johannes van Zanten. They were first taken to the De Hazenhof farm in Kesteren. In the night of September 22 Johannes van Zanten and three other members of his resistance group would miraculously transport the paratroopers right through the German lines to the old brick factory in IJzendoorn. Here they rowed the paratroopers across the Waal to the liberated Land van Maas en Waal. British soldiers from the Guards Armoured division were waiting for them there to take them to Nijmegen, where they were due to arrive on 25th September.
You can find more information about this crash here.
Platoon Commander of the paratroopers Sgt. Albert E. Spring.
Co-pilot Edward Fulmer, who bravely landed the Dakota.
A guilder note, which Fré de Jong from the resistance group around Johannes van Zanten received as a memento from the 16 transferred paratroopers. Their signatures are clearly legible on the note.
A plague at the De Hazenhof farm, in memory of the paratroopers’ and American Cpl. Smith’s stay.
The Dakota’s crash site to the west of the Pijenkampseveldweg, 200 meters north of the A15. Coordinates: 5540-7160.