HOEVEN - Where the players of football club Hoeven now complete their weekly training, a Dakota C-47 Stoy Hora crashed on Sunday 17 September 1944. The crew including pilots Howard Cannon and Frank Krebs had already left the plane by parachute. The local resistance took care of three crew members, Howard Cannon of whom later managed to become a Nevada state senator.
Written by Corné Verschuren
Operation Market Garden was in full swing. US pilot Howard Cannon had dropped paratroopers near Nijmegen. On the way back to England, the Dakota C-47 Stoy Hora was shelled over Breda. "At the height of the Hoevense Beemden, they jumped out of the plane. The plane made a 180-degree turn and came down here on the field," Jos Vermunt, sitting on the current training ground, told me.
According to Vermunt, locals were eager to snatch the cigarettes, chocolate and sweets still on board the plane. "It was at a time when not much was available. Before the Germans came, the plane was empty. But the Germans were actually more interested in the pilots and crew."
As the crew members used their parachutes to find a spot for a soft landing, they were fired upon from the ground by German patrols. "It is putting it mildly when I say it was not pleasant," Howard Cannon later recounted.
Three crew members landed in a potato field, where the harvested potatoes had been stored in pits. Vermunt: "The Germans thought the Americans were hiding under the potatoes, but they had been bright enough to crawl to a ditch after landing and pull branches over themselves. The Germans didn't find them again."
Resistance fighters and the military police, who also played a role in the resistance, found the crew members and said they would return when it was dark. "Together they took the three crew members away from the land. A few days later, they were taken on a motorbike to the V&D warehouse in Breda. When things got too hot there, the decision was made to take the crew members to the Belgian border."
Dressed up as farmers, they were escorted by brothers Charles and Frans Marijnissen by bicycle to Wernhout, where they were given shelter on a farm. They only dared to come out when they heard the Allies speaking English in the yard.
Howard Cannon died in 2002 at the age of 90.
After his service, he became a senator for the Democrats in the state of Nevada. In the early 1960s, he told De Telegraaf in an interview that he experienced the true meaning of freedom in the Netherlands. "We must never forget to fight for it," Cannon told the newspaper.
Brabant is marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Brabant Remembers does so through 75 special stories of Brabanders about the impact of the war on their lives. The extensive stories can also be read on the Brabant Remembers website. The Brabant Remembers app can also be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.