Matthew, your request now has enough information for further research. As the C-47 was hit by flak it was on a combat mission, then there will be a Missing Air Crew Report (MACR). You have the date and geographical location, September 17th 1944 and Geel in Belgium. A good database offering geographical location is found here, have listed URL for actual year/month: http://www.accident-report.com/MACR/1944/m194409.html
You will find that several C-47's were lost that day, and the list says 4 went down over Belgium. Those were:
- 43-15098 MACR 9977 => shot down by flak, exploded on ground, position seems to be near Eindhoven according to MACR.
- 43-15308 MACR 10036 => MACR says it went in over Holland and dove into water.
- 42-93803 MACR 10710 => MACR says it was hit after returning from DZ in Holland.
- 42-100981 MACR 10716 =>Pathfinder; went down over Belgium according to MACR
To sum up this list, only one of the four listed went down over Belgium. We are into Operation "Market Garden" on September 17th 1944, when around 424 C-47's headed over the Channel via the Southern Route to fly around Antwerp and then north to the Eindhoven area. Before this formation six Pathfinder planes took to the air. Four Pathfinders saw the orange smoke set out at Geel which designated the front lines. One plane was hit in the left engine and gas tank and went down in flames.
42-100981 was shot down just after crossing the front line which was near Retie in Belgium which is 8 miles NE of Geel. This C-47 might be a possible candidate for your search.
post edited by deefeater -