THAMESIDE AVIATION MUSEUM

1st October 1944

P-47D THUNDERBOLT 42-25690

2nd.Lt. Dwight .Garrison .Belt, of Ohio U S A.

Aircraft Coded, WZ - U

78th Fighter Group, 84th Fighter Squadron

 

 
0-816033.
Born; December 21st 1921
Enlisted ; 3rd December 1942

Buried ; Green Mound Cemetery Delaware, Ohio.

Below; a copy of a poem sent to us by the pilots wife

Let them in peter, they are very tired;
Give them the couches where the angels sleep,
Let them wake whole again to new dawns fired
With sun not war. and may their peace be deep.

Remember where their broken Bodies lie -
And give them thing they like.
Let them make noise,
God knows how young they were to have to die!
Give swing bands not gold harps to these our boys.

Let them love peter - they have had no time -
Girls sweet as meadow wind, with flowering hair.
They should have tress and bird song, hills to climb
The taste of summer in a ripened pear.

Tell them how they are missed.
Say not to fear;
It's going to be all right with us down here.

- Elma Dean
TO Dwight
From, Helen and Daughter Elain.
 
 
Pictures from Greenstead Green on 1st October 2004

 

 

1st October 1944

Sunday afternoon on the 1st October 1944 at 14.50hrs over the sleepy village of Greenstead Green, Halstead in north Essex, children were just Dwight Belt standing next to his P-47 at Duxfordstarting to gather for Sunday school. The sound of approaching aircraft, above a lone P-47 from Duxford and a B-17 of the 96th BG , both on a training mission to allow the gunners of the 17 practice in a combat situation as the 47 pulled alongside the fortresst on completion of the task to say goodbye they collided! the P-47 came straight down towards the church, veered of at the last second and crashed into a field adjacent to the church, less than 200 yds away.

ABOVE; 2nd Lt BELT, beside his P-47 at DUXFORD AIRFIELD ...................................photo ©T.A.M

 

 

BELOW: Dwight sitting in the cockpit of 42-25690 again at Duxford,Note cover over the gun sight, at this time it was still an item of secrecy. photo © T.A.M

2nd Lt Belt sitting in the cockpit of his Thunderbolt, Duxford.  Note the cover on the gun site..

33 years later

DIGGING FOR THUNDER

In early 1977 I used to get Tuesdays off from work, this was my wreck chasing day.
Deciding that this day would be the day I go looking for a P-47 that I had come across in the Police Incident Files at Chelmsford Records Office over the winter of 76/77 which simply said "American fighter crashed 200yds south of Greenstead Green, church, Halstead.
arriving in the village the first thing to do was locate the church, found, next the field, Found, Next lets find the farmer and see if he will grant permission for me to enter his land.
The farm was owned by Sir Peter Butler, I called at the farm and he was quite happy to let me on the field and asked if I would let him know what I find. Back at the field I parked my car in about 30 m from the gate,a very large field stands before me after three hours of metal detector and field walking "NOTHING"time to pack up and go home try again soon.
As I drove out of the field I see a man on his bicycle approching from Halstead I stopped him and askeed if he knew about the crash,he said "oh yes I was at sunday school and we thought it was going to crash on us",He then took me into the field where he walked about 25 - 30 mts in and said "here its right here" metal detector on, and wow dead centre! THE EXACT POINT I HAD PARKED MY CAR! Thank you Mr Trailor.

 

 

Sunday 9th October 1977
 

8 am on the 9th October 1977 we arrive on site The digger is waiting for us, we did not know what was ahead but from the tail wheel to the prop came out of the hole that day "what a dig" . Eight .5 cal Browning Machine Guns, undercarriage legs, engine, cockpit instruments. etc etc, but maybe the sad reminder of D G Belt, his parachute, dingy and survial kit a 6"+4" box containing chewing gum,milk tablets, and barley sugar lumps all still preserved in their wrappers, shame he did not get to use the chute! we would have loved to of met him. The most amazing find was Dwights cigarette lighter a present from his wife when he left the USA for England, and this was duly returned to her by us soon after. A full display of the remains of the P-47 are on display at the museum.

 

 
 

2nd Lt Belt's Lighter found at the dig in 1977

 

click here to the photo page

CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO ENTER THE PHOTO PAGE

A PLAQUE WAS ERECTED IN GREENSTEAD GREEN, CHURCH IN 1978 TO THE MEMORY OF DWIGHT GARRISON BELT

the dig in 1977, note the seam of wreckage, the late Brian Hymas in the holeRoger Pickett, with part of the P-47, Dig 1977.

The dig in 1977

LEFT; Brian Hymas, gently removing items from a seam of wrecage.

RIGHT; Roger Pickett, with a piece of the thunderbolt 1977.

We have carried out two more excavations on the Thunderbolt, in 1979 and 1985

 

 

the dig in 1985, note the church where the plaque was erected to the memory of 2nd Lt Dwight  Garrison Belt

We would like to thank " Ken Fish "for the new information supplied on this aircraft. and via Ken, Garry L. Fry (author of the "Eagles of
Duxford", Phalanx Ltd., 1991)

Ken's 78th Fighter Group Tribute web site can be found in our links page and in the P-47 photo page

The Photo Page

1st October 2004

BACK TO INDEX BACK TO DIGS PAGE E-MAIL T.A.M.

©COLIN WINGRAVE 99