The C-47/DC-3 aircraft that took part in the 80th D-Day Anniversary

The awesome photos in this post were taken on Jun. 11, 2024 by our friend Andrew Timmerman from Finn Aviation Photography during the event “Daks over LFA” held at La Ferte-Allais in France.

C-47 Dakota

“We were able to take photos of 3 of the C-47s that flew over from the United States to take part in the 80th D-Day Anniversary celebrations over Normandy. The funds raised from the photo shoot was also meant for the funding of the aircraft flights as they are flying with donations. There were the 2 D-Day C-47 veterans, “Thats All, Brother” and ” Placid Lassie” and 1 DC-3, Western Air Lines,” Timmerman explained.

Though the latter never saw military service, military receipts and documents showed it apparently operated on military Cargo contracts throughout WWII.

DC-3

The aircraft flew the Northern Atlantic Crossing “Blue Spruce Route”, Canada-Greenland-Iceland-Scotland. The flights took place from May 20 to May 25 with some of the aircraft flying a total of around 42 hours. Enduring some very cold conditions in flights lasting from 3 to 4 hours is just proof of the dedication from the crews and volunteers, to be able to bring these gems and honorable veterans back to Europe.

C-47

“Thats All, Brother”

“Thats All, Brother” was built on Mar. 7, 1943 at the Douglas Aircraft plant in Oklahoma city, Oklahoma, US. On Mar. 8, 1944 she was handed to the USAAF at Baer Army Airfield in Indiana. On Apr. 16, 1944 she departed for England with Air Transport Command.

Dakota

Ahead of D-Day, during the last hours of Jun. 5, 1944 the C-47 “Thats All, Brother” took off and was the leading aircraft, of the main airborne force of 821 Skytrains that started of the end of WWII. At 00:48 the Green light was given by Lt Col John M. Donalson, the command pilot and 438th Troop Carrier Group Commander, and so started the invasion of France. The 821 Skytrains flew in V formation of 9 aircraft that formed a solid line of C-47s that was 5 hours long.

Epic photos show some of the C-47/DC-3 aircraft that took part in the 80th D-Day Anniversary at “Daks over LFA”

With “Thats All, Brother” in the lead of this massive airborne assault they ended up dropping 13000 paratroopers behind enemy lines over Normandy. She returned safely and was the 1st aircraft to return after the paradrop. The aircraft went on to participate in the following operations, Operation Dragoon (Aug. 15, 1944), Operation Market Garden in Holland (Sep. 17-25, 1944), Operation Varsity (Mar. 24 – May 2, 1945) and on Aug. 4, 1945 she returned to the US. The Commemorative Air Force restored “Thats All, Brother” to her original configuration to bring her to the 75th Anniversary of D-Day back in 2019. They again flew her from San Marcos, Texas, back to Europe to celebrate the 80th D-Day Anniversary.

Epic photos show some of the C-47/DC-3 aircraft that took part in the 80th D-Day Anniversary at “Daks over LFA”

“Placid Lassie”

“Placid Lassie” was built in July 1943 at the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California. She was assigned to the 74th Troop Carrier Squadron, 434th Troop Carrier Group in August 1943 and flew to Europe via the Southern Atlantic Route in Late September 1943 and arrived in England on Oct. 18, 1943. Through the winter she was part of training parachutist in England.

Epic photos show some of the C-47/DC-3 aircraft that took part in the 80th D-Day Anniversary at “Daks over LFA”

On Jun. 6, 1944 at 0200 “Placid Lassie” took to the sky with the rest of the 74th Troop Carrier Squadron towing gliders carrying 155 men and cargo for the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. At 2100 she took off again towing another glider to Normandy. For several days after D-day invasion she flew several resupply mission for the 101st into France.

Epic photos show some of the C-47/DC-3 aircraft that took part in the 80th D-Day Anniversary at “Daks over LFA”

“Placid Lassie” spent 18 months, from October 1943, in England and Europe and took part in the following operations. Operation Neptune (Jun. 6, 1944), Operation Market Garden in Holland (Sep. 17-25, 1944), Operation Repulse in Bastogne, ( Dec. 23-26 1944) and Operation Varsity (Mar. 24 – May 2, 1945). She returned to the US where she had several owners until 2000 when she was left derelict. She was saved in January 2010 to be restored for the 75th Anniversary of the 1st flight of the DC-3. The sale was done in May and a remarkable feat was achieved to get her ready for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Back to Europe to celebrate the 80th D-Day Anniversary

Epic photos show some of the C-47/DC-3 aircraft that took part in the 80th D-Day Anniversary at “Daks over LFA”

The restoration took 7 weeks of working for more than 17 hours for 7 days a week to get her ready and restored. She was then named “Union Jack Dak”. It was then discovered after some research that this was actually a C-47 that took part in the war. Then the original wartime radio operator, Ed Tunison, who was still alive, was flown to the 70th D-Day Anniversary to be reunited with his aircraft. He then informed the owners that “Union Jack Dak” was actually known as “Placid Lassie” during the war.

“Placid Lassie” was flown back to Europe to celebrate the 80th D-Day Anniversary.

Epic photos show some of the C-47/DC-3 aircraft that took part in the 80th D-Day Anniversary at “Daks over LFA”

Photo credit: Andrew Timmerman