Premature glider landings in Operation Market Garden

Monuments in the Boxtel-Schijndel area

Operation Market Garden is the largest airborne operation in history. The follow up operation, Varsity, was the largest single day lift. And there is one of the reasons that makes Market Garden special. The lift of three full airborne divisions and an extra brigade (Polish) was scheduled in three days. Weather conditions caused this to stretch to seven days.

 

The American airborne divisions were to use approximately 1821 Waco CG-4A gliders. Of this number, 253 failed to reach the landing zone. It is difficult to find out the exact numbers, and these numbers come from the research done by the late Father Thuring, and published in his brochure about the use of Waco GC-4A gliders in Operation Market.

 

Bad weather was one of the reasons that gliders failed to reach their objective. They landed in England, the Channel, friendly territory or occupied terrotory.

This web page tells about a few of those gliders that failed to reach their LZ, as well as some C-47 crew members will pass by.

Boxtel - Kampina

 

The story of the Allied airmen at Kampina near Boxtel might be one of the most special ones. On 17 September the first ones of those who would end up at Kampina wcame down and were helped by the Dutch underground. By the end, 24 October, more then one month after the first landings, a group of about 100 men came out of the woods. These were British, American, one Polish and one Dutch soldier.

These men had landed with their gliders or by parachute (for the C-47 crew members) in a wide area and with Dutch help being moved until they had ended up at Kampina.  

Troop Carrier men at Kampina

 

From a 72nd Troop Carrier Squadron C-47, crashed on 17 September:

 

2nd Lt. William F. Baker  

T/Sgt. Christopher S. Dimitrovich

S/Sgt. Rollin D. Ellis

 

From a 81st Troop Carrier Squadron C-47, crashed on 18 September:

 

2nd Lt. Whitney F. Brooks

S/Sgt. Harold B. Farr

T/Sgt. Celar J. Obergfell

 

Glider pilots who landed on 18 September:

F/O Phillip Jacobson from 72nd Troop Carrier Squadron.

F/O Chester O Ritter from 79th Troop Carrier Squadron.  

 

Glider Pilots who landed on 19 September:

F/O James G. Cleary from 304th Troop Carrier Squadron.

2nd Lt. James A. Lutton from 303rd Troop Carrier Squadron.

 

Glider Pilot who landed on 23 September: F/O Arthur F. Moss from 301st Troop Carrier Squadron

A few years back a very good and detailed book about the Airborne men at Kampina was published.

It has the informaion about the glider riders as well. Landing locations, places where the men were hiding and all that kind of stuff.

 

More information here: http://www.oisterwijk-marketgarden.com/airbornes_on_the_kampina.html

Gemonde

 

Whereas the entire Kampina story is situated west of Boxtel, Gemonde is a small hamlet east of Boxtel. In the Kampina information is was visible that two 442nd Troop Carrier Group gliders landed there on 19 September 1944. Whereas for all others one can say that it was along the route, this can not be said for those 19 September gliders. These missed the LZ which is further south. And they came from that direction. At Gemonde, the same thing happened. Gliders landed in the area on 18 September 1944. They had passed the German forces in the area of Vught where they received anti-aircraft fire. Result was the gliders came down east of that area. Most of the men who came down in these gliders were guided to friendly areas. For some, names of the glider pilots remain obscure.

On 19 September a glider came down. This was piloted by F/ James Swanson, 305th Troop Carrier Squadron, 442nd Troop Carrier Group. The occupants of this glider were eventually taken to the St. Lidwina hospital at Schijndel.

Names of other glider occupants remain obscure and research is still going on.

The monument at Gemonde. It shows a farmer leading a soldier through the area. On the plaque are the names of the Dutch helpers.

 

The design is the same as the Kampina monument. There someone brings food with his bicycle.

Den Dungen

 

At Den Dungen, the story is much the same. A British and American glider landed in the area. The American glider landed there on 19 September 1944. The pilot was F/O Weldon McBride. He was, as glider pilots above, from the 442nd Troop Carrier Group, 305th Troop Carrier Squadron. After landing, in a firefight with German troops, Pvt. Leo A. Tousignant was killed. The evaders ebentually found shelter in a sewer. The party was hidden until the village was liberated on 25 October 1944.

St. Lidwina Hospital - Schijndel

 

St. Lidwina Hospital at Schijden was, as many hospitals in those days, run by nuns. And here, as at some other places, Allied airmen were sheltered and hidden for the Germans. Among the first to arrive was a C-47 crew. The C-47 was on a glider tow mission to the Groesbeek area when shot down. The pilots managed to made a crash landing. Sadly, the navigator (Lt. Manuel E. Flores) did not survive this crash landing. The other four crew members were injured and taken to the hospital. They were”

1st Lt. John S. Melvin (P)

2nd Lt. Edward G. Walsh (CP)

Sgt. Michael Malanick (RO)

T/Sgt. Thomas C. Glaze (CC)

They were with the 45th Troop Carrier Squadron and their plane was # 43-15641.

 

Later, glider pilots of the 305th Troop Carrier Squadron arrived at the hospital as well. Aided by Dutch underground they were taken to the hospital to evade capture. Following glider pilots ended up in the hospital:

F/O George Brennan

F/O William Preus

F/O James O. Swanson

 

It seems that the last person (not on arrival date at hospital) who flew to Holland to end up at the St. Lidwina Hospital is F/O Tipton Webb. He was a glider pilot with  301st Troop Carrier Squadron and flew glider men of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment.

 

Whereas the names of the men flown in by the 305th TCS glider pilots are know, for some there are more questions. The 305th TCS flew in men of the 907th Glider Field Artillery Bn., one of the artillery units of the 101st Airborne Division. But there were also two men from an artillery unit of the 82nd Airborne Division Their nemas are:

T/3 Cecil G. Mustoe

T/5 Bernard G. Grabtree

They had been taken off from Fulbeck in a 440th Troop Carrier Group glider. There three other passengers nor the glider pilot have shown up at the St. Lidwina roster, nor a POW roster. The other three were S/Sgt. Harry D. Mitchell, T/5 Harry E. Schwartz, T/5 Robert P. Bucheit. The name of the glider pilot is unknown. It seems these three men reached friendly lines, but how they got there is unknown .

 

Schijndel, and thus St. Lidwina, were liberated on 23 October. The first men arrived on 18 September.  

These monuments, and their stories, show the connection between the Dutch and their liberaters. All persons involved in these stories risked their lives. Allied airmen and Dutch civilians. Similar events happened on other places. In Belgium, other parts of Holland.

Throughout the war, downed Allied airmen were aided by civilians to shelter. Or guided to Spain or Swiss. Remarkable stories of ordinary people, doing something special.

The old St. Lidwina hospital, then and now.

Airborne Troop Carrier - Holland