Monument for the crew of “Little Jo”   89th Troop Carrier Squadron

 

During the third day of Market Garden, C-47s and gliders were flying toward the Eindhoven area. They were, like the day before, towing gliders to LZ-W.

This time the southern route was used to fly to the target area. This route was used on the opening day of the operation as well. From airfields in England the formation had to fly over Belgium and turn towards the LZ at a point near Gheel, Belgium.

The low flying, unarmoured and unarmed planes had to cross the front lines. German forces had lots of guns, small arms and anti-aircraft, to make this a difficult line to pass.

 

 

 

One of the planes that did not reach the LZ was C-47 # 42-100770, named “Little Jo”. This 89th Troop Carrier Squadron plane (438th Troop Carrier Group) was a veteran of the Normandy and Southern France invasions. It had participated in the previous flights to Holland as well. On that sad September Tuesday the plane was crewed by:

 

2nd Lt. Carl A. Cary (Pilot)

2nd  Lt. James A. Lawhorn (Co-pilot)

T/Sgt. Richard K. Rockwell (Crew chief)

S/Sgt. John D. Hines (Radio-operator)

 

Shortly after passing the front lines, the plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire that exploded just in front of the left wing. Badly damaged, the plane lost altitude. The glider was released and landed north of Retie.

The pilot realized the trouble and turned the plane around into the direction of friendly lines. German soldiers in the area kept shooting at the low flying aircraft.

Reaching the front lines was unable and most probably the crew attempted to make a crash-landing. This failed and the plane crashed north of Boseind, Retie.

The four crew members perished and were buried in a field grave by German soldiers. Two days later the Belgium civilians reburied the four crew men at the Retie cemetery.

 

In 2003 the webmaster got in touch with Bob Cary, nephew of the pilot. He was looking for more information regarding his uncle’s crash. We toured around one day, visiting a collector who had a chair of the plane in his collection, another collector who had the story about the chair and two sisters who had been active with the monument for the Pathfinder plane that crashed near Retie on September 17 1944.

With assistance of the later,  a monument for the crew of “Little Jo” was erected in September 2004.

Three of the four crew members are buried today at the US cemetery at Neupre (Neuville-en Condroz).

Photo above shows C-47 42-100770 “Little Jo”, tail letter H, towing a Horsa from Greenham Common to Normandy. This photo was taken on the afternoon of June 6.

Airborne Troop Carrier - Holland