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Glider (serial number 279151) crash Oisterwijk, The Netherlands - 18 September 1944

In 1986, the original author of 'Screaming Eagles of WWII' (P.M. Pulles) received a request for information on the death of 1Lt Ray J. HILTUNEN, 326/B Engineers,
101st Airborne Division, who was killed in a glider crash on 18 September 1944 near Oisterwijk, The Netherlands.

Pulles turned to a local policeman for help and Mr J.C. Scheutjens was kind enough to dive into the local archives. His findings turned up a lot of details.
The glider with serial number 279151 was still being towed when it was hit by anti aircraft artillery over the village of Oisterwijk (see map). The hit tore off the glider's
left wing as was witnessed and reported by Capt. Ardell C. TIEDEMAN who flew nearby.

The glider was released by its tow plane and immediately headed for disaster. In the glider were four men: Lt Noel C. McCANN (pilot 442 Troop Carrier Group,
306 Troop Carrier Squadron), 1Lt Ray J. HILTUNEN, T/5 Robert J. LE MAY and pvt Raymond L. CARSON - all three 326/B Engineers. As no co-pilot was assigned,
it is assumed that McCANN offered the co-pilot's chair to HILTUNEN, as well as giving him the customary 'briefing'. The glider also transported a Willy's jeep with serial
number 313624 which someone had named 'Shirley'. The glider apparently hit a tree before hitting a ditch, nose first, on the Kerkhovensestraat. All four men were killed
on impact. The local Red Cross volunteers buried the four men in the local Roman Catholic cemetery. Due to a shortage of coffins, parts of the glider were used for the burials.
The four men were reinterred, side by side, on 12 March 1946 in US cemetery Margraten, NL. A few years later, Lt McCANN was repatriated to the US.

The three Screaming Eagles remained at Margraten, but were separated in the reorganization of the cemetery.
RIP troopers. Thank you for our freedom.

Sources photos: findagrave.com and fieldsofhonor-database.com. Interesting websites on local information crash and on pilot Lt McCANN

Drawing by A. de Graaf as published in 'Oorlogsgeweld'
1Lt Ray J. HILTUNEN, 326/B Engineers


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is the result of sorting out the late P.M. Pulles' archive consisting of years of correspondence with WWII veterans and fellow researchers.
By posting the information on our website, we hope to be a channel for family members and researchers to find additional information.
We will always mention the source of the information. In case you find a source is missing or you know the data is incorrect or incomplete, we invite you to drop us a line.

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