May 23, 1917 (New York, NY) – April 6, 1945; 27 years old; unmarried
Last local address: 6 Old Saugatuck Road, East Norwalk
Enlisted August 5, 1942
Service number: 31167326
52ND TROOP CARRIER WING, 314TH TROOP CARRIER GROUP, 50TH SQUADRON
On April 6, 1945, in C-47 #42-93088, while cruising in poor weather conditions, the aircraft hit trees and crashed in wooded area located in Fagnes, northwest of Malmedy, near Spa. All four crew members were killed.
Captain James G. Hicks Jr., pilot
2nd Lt Charles L. Fraser, copilot
T/Sgt George A. Bishop, flight engineer
S/Sgt William J. Loughrey, wireless operator
Crash site in Belgium, from https://www.tourismejalhaysart.be/patrimoine/monument-des-americains/
On an unnamed road near Jalhay, Belgium stands this monument. It is a block of quartzite supporting a twisted propeller next to which rises a wooden cross bearing the inscription: “To American aviators”. It was inaugurated in 1947 to commemorate the tragic accident which claimed the lives of eight American airmen, whose two planes, coming from Bierset, had collided in the mist during the Second World War, April 6, 1945. Consisting of an airplane propeller surmounted by a cross, the “Gayetay Monument” evokes the dramatic collision between two Douglas C-47 planes lost in the mist, which occurred during a freight mission to Frankfurt, on April 6 1945 in Fagnes de Solwaster at a place called “Gayetay”.
It commemorates the disappearance of the two crews of American airmen belonging to the 50th Air Transport Squadron (52nd Troop Carrier Wing – 314th Troop Carrier Group – 2R – 50th Squadron)
Curiously, in this vast operation towards Frankfurt, 2 other planes belonging to the same unit (314th Troop Carrier Group) crashed the same day in different places … undoubtedly because of an execrable weather.
SSgt Loughrey is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Tilden Avenue, Brooklyn, New York; St Mary Section, Plot 0361.