Curtiss C-46 Crash 6 May 1945

On 6 May 1945 at approximately 6:40PM, an US Army Air Forces aircraft crashed on Long Man Hill near Wilmington, Sussex in southern England. All four crew members were killed. With two days remaining in the war in Europe, this was not the only USAAF crash that day. It was not the only one in Europe. It was not even the only one in England. The fact was that aircraft were crashing and being shot down at a rate that is hard for us to fathom these days. WWII took a horrendous toll on a generation of young airmen.

Seventy-five years later, we pause to remember a specific crew of many that died on this day in 1945. 

1st Lieutenant Sidney “Jack” Gibson

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, pilot

2nd Lieutenant Victor L. Young, co-pilot

Staff Sergeant Daniel M. Campbell, crew

Staff Sergeant James F. Maloney, crew

314th Troop Carrier Squadron Curtiss C-46 Commandos at Barkston Heath, England, circa April 1945

They were members of the 314th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 349th Troop Carrier Group and were station at Advanced Landing Ground A-73 near Roye in northern France. They had only arrived in Europe in March 1945 and the unit had only become operational on 30 April 1945. Since all of the big airborne drops of WWII had already occurred, troop carrier units were mainly being used to ferry equipment, material, and wounded to and from France and England. On this particular mission, the Curtiss C-46D (like the one pictured above from the 314th), tail # 44-77861, was flying a load of lumber and mail from the depot known as “Eccles” near Attleborough, Norfolk in England to the Advance Landing Ground A-61 near Beauvais in northern France. 

The pilot was rated for instrument flying , but was apparently trying to stay under a layer of cloud that obscured the top of Long Man hill. The aircraft struck the hill approximately 500 feet from the top and disintegrated on impact. One more aircraft and four more souls lost to the war to free Europe from Nazi control.

The remains of three of the crew were sent back to their homes for burial. 1st Lieutenant Sidney “Jack” Gibson was buried in Newkirk, Kay County, Oklahoma, USA. 2nd Lieutenant Victor L. Young was buried in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan, USA, and Staff Sergeant Daniel Marshall Campbell was buried in Lincolnton, Lincoln County, North Carolina, USA. Staff Sergeant James F. Maloney of Westchester County, New York was buried at the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, Cambridgeshire, England. His cross is the image above.

The 314th Air Refueling Squadron, 940th Operations Group, 940th Air Refueling Wing of Beale Air Force Base, California remembers the 314th Troop Carrier Squadron crew of 44-77861 on this 75th anniversary of 6 May 1945. May they rest in peace and be remembered for their sacrifice.


  1. gtdalgleish

    Any idea why Staff Sergeant Maloney’s remains were not repatriated? No mention of his age on the memorial either, is that usual?

    • tjlinzy

      Thanks for reading, sir.
      I am not 100% sure, but I think I remember reading something at the Omaha Beach cemetery that families were given the choice if they wanted the remains to come back home or not. There were hundreds of makeshift cemeteries during the war that were consolidated to only a few at key places around Europe. I think I remember reading also that to this day there are occasional requests from families to bring remains home.

      • gtdalgleish

        Quite a choice to be given, hope there was no financial element to the decision for the family. I’ve come across graves for soldiers in the Australian Imperial Force (if I remember the term correctly) from WW1, would have been a greater consideration to return the remains at that time presumably. Very moving.

        • tjlinzy

          Hi Sir,
          All at U.S. Government expense. My regiment helped bring a cavalry trooper back last year who was killed in the waning days of WWII in Czechoslovakia and the government handled it. I don’t know how the British government handled imperial troops in WWI or WWII. Or English troops for that matter. I have found British troops individually in French church graveyards over the years. I find that very moving; where the French village took care of the British troops who were killed there. It is also very moving when one thinks of the families and the holes that were created in those families. I am a military historian and I love digging into the history of these events, but I would have far more preferred that they had never happened and these people could have lived quiet lives at home with their families.
          Thanks for the feedback, gtdalgleish. Glad to have people who read and take interest!

    • Michael Krakowiak

      Not sure why my grandparents didn’t have his remains brought home. I don’t know exactly how old he was but I think around 23-25. He signed up and went into the service in 1941 when the US entered the war.

  2. Chris Willis

    Remains of this aircraft can be viewed in the Etchingham Military and Aviation museum. There are still fragments of wreakage to be found at the crash site.

    • tjlinzy

      Thank you, Mr Willis. We visit the UK 1 or 2 times a year, so this is on my next itinerary.
      Kind Regards

  3. Carl Young

    Thank you vey much Battlefield Biker for the work you’re doing here. Our family didn’t know this much information about the crash that killed our Uncle Victor until now! Uncle Victor and all 4 of his brothers served. And to see in the comments that some of the wreckage survives is amazing! We’ll have to go see. Thanks again!

  4. Carl Young

    I forgot to add, here’s where Victor’s grave is:

  5. Michael Krakowiak

    SSGT James “Jimmy” Maloney would’ve been my Uncle. His youngest sister, my mom has visited his gravesite and I believe he was buried in England as the family probably couldn’t afford to bring him home. There’s a tragic story behind this. He signed up with older brother Joseph Maloney and a couple of other buddies from Mt. Kisco NY. Joe and Jimmy wanted to both go into the Air Corps, but since Jimmy was a really good shot with a rifle they kept him at basic training as a range master to teach recruits how to shoot. Joe went into the Air Corps and flew B-17s in England. He got shot down several times, eve got smuggled out through Spain once. The family didn’t know if he was MIA or KIA half of the time. Jimmy eventually got to go into the Air Corps and flew cargo planes stateside for the duration of the war. He got transferred to England, where by chance Joe and Jimmy ran into each other at the airfield and they were supposed to meet up again for a beer after Jimmy got back from his flight. That was Jimmy’s flight that crashed. So my Uncle Joe spent the war getting shot out of the sky three times and survived being a B17 crewman and my Uncle Jimmy spent most of the war in relative safety only to die in a crash at the end of it all. RIP to Uncle Jimmy. Uncle Joe returned to the states and had a good life. My mom always looked up to her older brothers and she left us last year at 93. My dad served in the infantry in the 70th Division in the Battle of the Bulge in the Vosges Mountains.

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