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Jesse M Harrison


Jesse Harrison of Rocky Hill, CT, served as a C-47 pilot in Europe during World War II.

He bailed out of a burning aircraft over Holland on 19 September 1944. This is how he described it, as reported by the Hartford Courant:
"I had my crew bail out and I stayed with the plane until the glider could make a safe landing on the assigned landing area, at which time I bailed out, receiving 2nd and 3rd degree burns to my waist. Two Dutch priests got to me and wrapped me in my parachute and then got the paratroopers to come to get me and take me to their field hospital. The hospital said that they could not properly treat me and that I needed to be taken to a hospital in friendly territory. Somehow those paratroopers got me across four canals and to a field hospital in Brussels, Belgium."

For a detailed account of his wartime service and his life story see the article published by the Hartford Courant on 24 May 2015:

A transcript of the interview available on YouTube has been made available as part of the Veterans' History Project:


Units served with


Event Location Date
Born Centerville, MO 63633, USA 21 April 1921
Enlisted 8 December 1941
Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant 20 March 1943
Started out on the Southern Route to Europe 23 October 1943
Accidentally lands in Ireland Shannon Airport (SNN), Co. Clare, Ireland 5 November 1943

At Rineanna Airfield (now Shannon International)

Drops members of G Company, 501 Parachute Infantry Regiment Normandy 5 June 1944
Drops paratroopers as part of Operation Market Garden 17 September 1944
Bailed out of burning aircraft Netherlands 19 September 1944

Suffered bad burns

Taken to a field hospital Brussels, Belgium 20 September 1944

Kept safe by Dutch priests who returned him to American paratroopers

Had reconstuctive surgery on his face at a hospital in Southampton Southampton, Southampton, UK October 1944

Exact date not yet known

Returned to the USA New York, NY, USA 27 February 1945

Still in need of future hospital treatments

Married Sheila McKenna 17 March 1945

They had met in 1943

Moved with his family to Rocky Hill Rocky Hill, CT, USA 1954
Died 21 April 2015

On his 94th birthday


Date Contributor Update
05 June 2015 11:53:55 Lucy May Changes to highest rank, biography and awards

Obituary notice:

Date Contributor Update
05 June 2015 11:32:03 Lucy May Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, role, biography, events and unit associations

Hartford Courant article: