Arthur Hopper

Glider pilot in the 72nd Squadron of the 434th Troop Carrier Group

Market Garden was not my first combat mission. On D-day I had flown four toopers from the 101st and a jeep into Normandy.

For Operation Market Garden I was amongst the first gliders to land near Son in Holland. Once more did we carry soldiers of the 101st into battle. We landed on September 17. Our landing, which was around midday, was successful. After the landing we took up positions to wait for the English tanks. The first night me and some other Glider pilots from our group spent in the bomb shelter of a farmer near Son. As I recall the family had their shelter in barn area, they were like us aware of air raids near Son. I remember the father had a hand operated flash light that he pumped by hand to get some light. The Dutch called this type of flashlight a "Knijpkat". We stayed there for about 2 hours as I recall, then moved on toward Son to check out the damage and etc.

Waco Glider

Waco glider of the 100th Troop Carrier Squadron. Photo: Clifford Kranz
There were many German attacks during next few days. We had expected the tanks to arrive in a matter of hours after the landing. After a couple of days we the glider pilots were send by one of our ranking Sqd. leaders to set up roadblocks west of Son. Other troops reinfored our positions there. Late on the third night tanks and troops that were coming back in the direction of Germany overran our positions. About this time some British units arrived in our area and we Glider pilots set off towards Brussels, to return to England. After all it was still possible that we were needed for new flights.

Our combat training both in US and in England was mostly concentrated on individual use of arms, and survival training behind lines. We were to aid troopers if needed as to ground action, we were never trained to fight as a single unit since our landings together were often scattered at best

Our early landing was without to much trouble The later flights had strong enemy fire and losses were heavy on later flights. The weather was poor on the later missions and several resupply missions were cancelled.

Art's D-day mission

Glider tow

Photo: Martin Meijer
Crash landed

A CG-4 glider that has crashlanded on it's nose/

Picture courtesy Lindsey Lewis

Glider

A Waco glider that has landed seemingly undamaged

Picture courtesy Lindsey Lewis

Great books about WWII Troop Carrier Command:


Lekker winkelen zonder zorgen - Gratis verzending en retour
Website concerning the Allied fooddrop missions over Holland in 1945

Also take a look at my website about the Normandy invasion in 1944