May 23, 1917 (New York, NY) – April 6, 1945; 27 years old
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
From The Norwalk Hour April 25, 1945
Ex-Mayor Frank T. Stack received word today that his cousin, Staff Sergeant William J. Loughrey, 27, has been killed in action in Germany. Staff Sgt Loughrey made his home with ex-Mayor Stack and was employed in the block making department of the Hat Corporation of America before entering the Army. Staff Sgt Loughrey entered the service in August 1942. He was a member of the 314th Troop Carrier Command, 50th Squadron, Air Corps. He went through the African – Italian campaigns and was in Germany when he met death.
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. Picture from findagrave.com.