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Lieutenant

Eugene Frederick Hennig

 

(March 19, 1920 - June 6, 1944)

Died in Action over France on D-Day in WWII

 

Pictures and information by Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms

Though we may never lay affection's token
On his last resting place far o'er the sea,
Lord, let him sleep in peace, his rest unbroken,
Till we shall join him forever with Thee.

NOTE: Lt. Hennig is not buried here. This stone is merely a marker to commemorate him. To date, have not been able to find out where he is buried. It is possible that his body was never found. * (See Notes)

Forest Park Cemetery - Fort Smith, Arkansas

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In the early hours of the morning of the 6th June 1944, C-47 aircraft 42-101025, serial number 54 of the 301st Troop Carrier Squadron, 441st Troop Carrier Group left Merryfield airfield in Somerset, England and was making its way in tight formation with other troop carriers across the English Channel to Normandy, France. On board were a crew of four and a passenger load of 18 paratroopers of the 2nd Battalion 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment plus equipment (wire, ammunition, and rafts) heading for drop zone D in Normandy France.

All units were to fly across the English Channel and drop into Normandy, five hours prior to the famous seaborne landing. The 501st drop zones were north and east of the town of Carentan. Two battalions were to seize key canal locks at La Barquette and destroy the bridges over the Douve River.

As the aircraft reached the coast of France, heavy cloud and fog scattered their formations while intensive flak barrages added to the confusion. On this night, many would not return home, among these, the brave crew of this C-47 and their eighteen passengers. Shot down out of the sky, their plane crashed in Bois de Limors with all personnel on board. There were no survivors.

Rest in Peace -

2nd Lieutenant Eugene F. Hennig (Pilot) from Fort Smith, Arkansas, died on June 6, 1944.

2nd Lieutenant Albert A. Dorrance, Jr. (Co-Pilot) of California died on June 6, 1944 and lies buried at Colleville sur Mer, Normandy in Plot F, Row 15, Grave 6.

Technical Sergeant Dave Kramer (Crew Chief) from Wisconsin died on June 6, 1944 and lies buried at Colleville sur Mer, Normandy in Plot D, Row 19, Grave 14.

Corporal James E. Davison (Radio Operator) from Montana died on June 6, 1944 and lies buried at Colleville sur Mer, Normandy in Plot C, Row 8, Grave14.

And 18 paratroopers of the 2nd Battalion 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, died on June 6, 1944.
 

Eugene Hennig and Crew

This photograph was taken on June 5th, 1944, the day before 2nd Lt. Eugene Hennig's plane was shot down over France. Lt. Hennig (pilot of the plane) is the first officer on the left. The other crew members pictured are (left to right): 2nd Lt. Albert A. Dorrance, Jr. (co-pilot) - T/Sgt. Dave Kramer (crew chief) - Cpl. James E. Davison (radio operator). All four perished in the crash along with the 18 paratroopers they carried.


Received from Paul Meier, August 2012:


I enjoyed reading an article on your web site (http://www.arkansasties.com/ People/HennigEugene.htm) about my Uncle, Lieutenant Eugene Hennig, who died on D-Day flying a C-47 with a crew of 3 others and 18 paratroopers.  According to my mother, they may also have been towing a glider with additional troops.  
 
Basically, I wanted to thank you for the article and make one important correction.  My wife Theresa and I were recently in Normandy at Colleville de Mer and, using this information, we were able to find the grave sites of the 3 crewman and place flowers on the graves.  The photograph of the memorial marker in the Ft. Smith cemetery indicates that his body was never found.  While this was true in 1944, when the memorial service was held in Ft. Smith and the marker was placed in the cemetery, his body was actually returned to Ft. Smith in 1948.  As you can imagine, finding bodies and dog tags was not a high priority during the war, and this activity occurred after 1945.  Also, from what I have been told, families were allowed to make the choice of having their loved one buried in Normandy or having their body returned to the US.  My grandparents chose the latter while the families of Lieutenant Hennig’s crewman chose the former.  Therefore, in addition to the memorial marker placed in 1944, there is also a grave marker placed in 1948.  
 
Eugene Hennig was the first of three children born to Otto and Pauline Hennig.  The third child, Mildred, is my mother.  Finally, my wife Theresa and I both graduated from the U. of Arkansas.
 
Paul F. Meier
 

Using the locations indicated in the web site, we found and placed flowers on the 3 crewman of Lieutenant Eugene Hennig.

 

2nd Lieutenant Albert A. Dorrance, Jr. (Co-Pilot) of California died on June 6, 1944 and lies buried at Colleville sur Mer, Normandy in Plot F, Row 15, Grave 6.

 

Technical Sergeant Dave Kramer (Crew Chief) from Wisconsin died on June 6, 1944 and lies buried at Colleville sur Mer, Normandy in Plot D, Row 19, Grave 14.

 

Corporal James E. Davison (Radio Operator) from Montana died on June 6, 1944 and lies buried at Colleville sur Mer, Normandy in Plot C, Row 8, Grave14