James Di Pietro’s Experiences as a Glider Pilot

by James Di Pietro

This story is from a firsthand account. It is not copyrighted unless noted but we request anyone using this for other than personal use to credit the author and the museum.
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My father, William Bateman, was one of the 101 Airborne infantry soldiers aboard the glider that crashed in the English Channel piloted by James Di Pietro. I have a $1 Nederland bill with the signatures of the men and pilot on the back. My father also wrote “Crashed in English Channel Sept. 17, 1944 – 2pm” along the side margin so he would always remember that day. When I was a child, I remember Dad telling the story of the crash, but it wasn’t until I read the detailed account by pilot Di Pietro, did I realize how God intervened that day to save the lives of these courageous men. For had they made it to their destination in Holland, the outcome would not have been the same.

I just found this website. My Dad would have been very excited and impressed with the WorldWideWeb had he lived to see/experience it. My Dad, William C. Simonsen Sr. was a glider pilot and I saw seven of his Battle Stars. I wish I would have been able to know him better. He built several functioning scale models of one of the aircraft that he flew. Many stories but I was much to young/inexperienced to understand. Thank you for your service “Silent Wings”