Last Known Activity
Walter Scott Nelson, Jr. was born in Savannah, Georgia on August 3, 1915. (One reference states Lynchburg, Virginia.) His parents were Walter S. Sr and Lois Horner Nelson.
He enrolled at Clemson University in 1935, graduating with the Class of 1939 with a degree in Engineering.
In November 8, 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps at Montgomery, Alabama, and was assigned to the Aviation Cadet program. After his flight training was completed, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and received orders to report for duty in North Africa.Here, he was assigned as a pilot on a C-47, practicing and preparing paratroopers for combat jumps. One account states he was promoted to Captain at this time, but confirmation has not been located.(NOTE: Information received from MSgt Otis Jackson confirms promotion to Captain.)
On July 11, 1943, he participated in Operation Husky II - the aerial invasion of Sicily. As the formation of aircraft carrying the paratroopers neared the coast of Sicily, Naval and ground units which had been under attack by German bombers all day, mistakenly identified the C-47s as German. All units opened fire, Out of 144 planes in the formation, 23 were shot down in minutes. Lt Nelson's aircraft crashed about 2 miles from Scoglitti, Sicily, killing all on board.
He was originally buried in Mount Soprano, Italy, but at his family's request, his body was returned to the U.S. He presently lies in the Greenwich Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.
He left behind his wife, Lenoir Sanders Nelson, whom he married on July 6, 1942, and one daughter, Lenoir S. Nelson, born January 7, 1943.
Lt. Walter Scott Nelson, Jr. was the pilot of C-47 # 41-18525, assigned to the 36th Troop Carrier Squadron.
No Missing Air Crew Report or USAAF Accident Report pertaining to this incident has been found.
This incident of "friendly fire" led to the recognizable black and white stripes carried by all aircraft participating in D-Day operations a few months later.
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