Daks over Normandy Duxford by Ron Gafney

As part of the 75th Anniversary celebrations of D-Day, Dakotas from all over the world gathered at Duxford for Daks over Normandy.

Ron Gafney spent many days at Duxford capturing images of these veteran Dakotas. Five of these images and associated text have already been published in an aviation magazine. Ron has produced an A/V as well as book of the celebrations for the many paratroopers and veterans who attended the celebrations.

Thank you Ron for sharing these images with us.

C-54D D-Day Doll – Skytrooper

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C-54D D-Day Doll – Skytrooper

Arrived at Royal Air Force (RAF) Aldermaston, UK in March 1944. The 434th TCG consisted of HQ and the 71st to 74th Squadrons.

Aircraft 830 was assigned to the 72nd Squadron (CU).

The group’s D-Day mission was to tow gliders carrying reinforcements to 101st Division troops who had been dropped earlier in the night near Utah Beach.

At 0119, June 6, 1944, 52 of the Group’s planes, each towing a Waco glider, took off from RAF Aldermaston Airfield for Normandy.

Aircraft 830 flew three missions on D-Day and the next day.

C-47 Liberty

Copyright Ron Gafney
C-47 Liberty

1944 Liberty was based at RAF Barkston Heath, England, with the 61 st Troop Carrier Group.

As Chalk #21, with Capt. Lyon in command,she flew on Serial 24 of Operation Overlord and dropped elements of the 82nd Airborne’s 2nd BTN, 507thPlR over the drop zone in Normandy, France.

Work orders for the “repair of bullet holes” are still amongst her records.

C-47A Mayfly

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C-47A Mayfly

She flew with the 79th TSC out of Membury during D-day as 42-1000884

Delivered to RAF at Netheravon as TS423 in 1944 and shortly before the end of the war transferred to 436 Squadron to the RACF at Down Ampney.

Heavy Glider Unit Took part in Arnhem and the D Day landings.

She was also one of the very few glider (snatchers) recovery aircraft with the RAF this was a difficult and dangerous job. Some of the flak/bullet holes are still in her fuselage as a reminder of her service.

C-47A Virginia Ann

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C-47A Virginia Ann

She was part of the D-Day invasion on the 6th June 1944 by dropping paratroopers into Normandy. She was also used in the resupply and injured evacuation operations in the days following the invasion.

The aircraft then went on the take part in Operation Market Garden.

C-47A – That‘s All, Brother

Copyright Ron Gafney
C-47A  That’s All, Brother

On June 6 1944 That‘s All Brother led the main armada of paratrooper transport aircraft over Normandy the plane led over 800 C-47s shortly after midnight on D-Day that dropped 13,000 paratroopers into a battle that changed the course of history.

She served with 87th Troop Carrier SQN of the 438th Troop Carrier Group based in RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire.

Her crew nicknamed her That‘s All, Brother as a message to Adolph Hitler that his time was up.

C-47 Placid Lassie

Copyright Ron Gafney
C-47 Placid Lassie

Placid Lassie on the fateful day June 6th 1944 she towed WACO Gliders over Normandy.

Placid Lassie is one of the WWII veteran aircraft who still carriers her original name. The crew named the aircraft “Placid Lassie”.

They named the left engine “Idling Ada” after one of the crew’s wife and named the right engine “Eager Eileen” after the radio operator’s wife.

The Squadron marking was ID and she had a radio call sign N.

C-47 Daisy

Copyright Ron Gaffney
C-47 Daisy

Daisy was delivered to the US Army in October 1943. She was initially based Oran, Algeria, until moving to England in 1944 to prepare
for the Allied invasion of occupied Europe.

Daisy took part in the parachute operations on D-Day dropping members of East Company, the inspiration behind the TV series of Band of Brothers. She is one of very few Dakotas that were used for airborne operations during WWII that is still licensed to do do.

Spirit of Benovia

Copyright Ron Gafney
C-53  Spirit of Benovia

N8336C is in the colours of China Air Transport originally built. She was originally built as a C-53 and registered as a DC-3A.

She is a C-53 variation of the DC-47 designed to drop paratroopers and tow gliders, and differs from the C-47 in having a lighter strength floor and no double cargo door.

C-47B Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber

Copyright Ron Gafney
C-47B Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber

DC-3C N47SJ Serial No 348608 was built as a C-47B and is in the classic D-Day colour scheme. She was too late to see service during D-Day.

Her name Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber, derives taking part in the Berlin Air Lift in 1948 delivering food, water and medicine.

Lisunov L-2T HA-LIX

Copyright Ron Gafney
Lisunov Li2T

The Lisunov L-2T is a version of the Douglas DC-3.

She is in the colours of the Hungarian national airline Malev.

Unlike most American aircraft the Russian version had the passenger door on the starboard side.

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