377th Field Artillery Batallion, 101st Airborne Division
Plot D, Row 17, Grave 23
Maj. Courtney B. “Dapper” Neilson was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 8, 1916. He and his mother immigrated through Ellis Island, arriving in New York City on January 15, 1925. After graduating from high school, Neilson majored in engineering at Purdue University and was a second lieutenant in the ROTC by his senior year.
In 1942 officers with experience were in very high demand. Neilson went into the U.S. Army right after graduation, and he became a captain by November 1942. He joined the 101stAirborne Division and served as commander of Battery ‘C’ of the 277thField Artillery Battalion until February 4, 1943 when he became an operations officer for the battalion and began working in the battalion headquarters.
On D-Day, Neilson’s aircraft took off from Newbury, England as part of Operation Overlord for a drop near Montebourg. He landed in a tree in the middle of a German unit, off target by about eight miles. Neilson never made it out of the tree. He was killed by German fire.
Awards: Purple Heart
Courtney B. Neilson is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot D, Row 17, Grave 23.