Lt. Newell, Hopedale, In
Series of Combat Flights
series of low level combat flights in the recent spectacular airbourne invasion of German occupied
Lt. Newell was the navigator on a C-47 that dropped some of the first paratroopers to land behind the
enemy lines and followed this by setting the course for his squadron's airplanes in the subsequent
glider missions that brought in jeeps and heavy guns to reinforce the hard fighting paratroops.
The Hopedale youth's third trip across enemy lines into the Lowlands was not without incident. Just
as the plane in which he was flying was approaching thegflider release point near the assigned
landing zone, a .50 calibre German shell tore through the bottom of the fuselage, passed through
Newell's heavy shoe, sliced off a sliver of his right big toe and then lodged in the radio compartment
near the roof of the plane.
"I was standing in my regular place between the pilot and copilot checking our run-in to the target
area," related Newell on his return, "when I felt the stinging sensation in my right foot. I knew that I had
been shot as I looked down and saw the hole in the top of my shoe. It didn't bother me at first, but later
it started to pain very much."
Despite the difficulty of standing on practically one foot and still keeping his mind on his work, "The
Ripper," as he is called by his fellow flyers, stayed at his post. He guided his lead aircraft with the
glider in tow across the landing zone, saw the motorless craft cut loose and glide to earth and then
continued to plot his course out of the sniper infested territory until reaching the security of the Belgian
border. Then and only then did he inspect his damaged foot.
"I drew the lead navigator duties on this particular mission," continued the likeable youth, "and I had
the responsibility of getting my squadron in and out of the target area. I wasn't hit very hard and there
was no reason for my taking the time to inspect my injury until I knew that all the planes in the
squadron were out of the range of enemy gun-fire."
Lt. Newell dressed his wound himself with the aid of a medical kit carried on all combat aircraft and
is now hobbling around his home base, none the worse for his experiences.
Lt. Newell attributed his slight injury to the sturdiness of the G.I. shoes he was wearing on the
mission. A low cut shoe would not have been able to offer the resistance that the heavy army shoes
provide and a more serious injury might have resulted. "I plan to keep that G.I. shoe as long as I live,"
said the modest flyer, "as a memento of my flights against the Jerries."
For Lt. Newell this was his second series of combat flights across enemy lines. He participated in
the historic June 6th airborne invasion of the Cherbourg peninsula that started the Germans reeling
back to the doubtful security of the Siegfried line.
The Hopedale navigator is a member of a troop carrier group under the command of Col. William B.
Whitacre of Western Springs, Ill. This unit is part of the First Allied Airborne army commanded by Lt.
Gen. Lewis H. Brereton. Milford Daily News, October 20, 1944