In my first blog I described how my current airshow / fly-in adventures started by working with Douglas C-47A Dakota MK 1 'Bones'. C-47s / R4Ds (USN designation) flown by the USAAF / USN were known as Skytrains, whereas those flown by the British Commonwealth Air Forces (i.e. RAF, RAAF, RNZAF, etc.) were known as Dakotas. This specific aircraft has quite a provenance and in this blog I will share that history with you. Much of this information was taken from the Rare Air Inc. web page. Additional information was culled from the net to include information on the air fields where 'Bones' operated while on charge with the Royal Air Force.
This Douglas C-47-DL is the oldest surviving ex-RAF Dakota transport.
February 13, 1943 - Completed at Long Beach, California factory under USAAF Contract No. AC-1043 and allocated 42-32817.
March 7, 1943 - Delivered to Royal Air Force as FD789 (Dakota MK. I) on Lend-Lease.
April 8, 1943 - Arrived in United Kingdom.
April 10, 1943 - Assigned to No. 24 (Commonwealth) Squadron (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._24_Squadron_RAF) based at RAF Hendon, Greater London, England. http://controltowers.co.uk/H-K/Hendon.htm
August 23, 1943 - Allocated to No. 512 Squadron (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._512_Squadron_RAF) at RAF Hendon. No. 512 Squadron was formed from the Dakota element of No. 24 Squadron.
March 1, 1944 - Assigned to No. 105 (Transport) OTU (Operational Training Unit) at RAF Bramcote, Warwickshire, England. http://controltowers.co.uk/B/Bramcote.htm
November 26, 1944 - Assigned to No. 108 (Transport) OTU at RAF Wymeswold, Leicestershire, England. http://controltowers.co.uk/W-Z/Wymeswold.htm
April 5, 1946 - Assigned to No. 1384 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Wethersfield, Essex, England.
April 17, 1946 - Ferried to No. 22 MU (Maintenance Unit) at RAF Silloth, Northumberland, Cumbria, England for storage. This airfield was used postwar for storage and scrapping of Ansons, Dakotas, Lnacasters, Yorks and other types by No. 22 MU. http://controltowers.co.uk/S/Silloth.htm /
February 4, 1947 - Sold to unknown buyer.
November 28, 1947 - Registered as G-AKNB with Scottish Aviation in Preswick, Scotland.
August 19, 1948 - Registered to J. Jamieson operating as Guinea Air Traders.
February 14, 1950 - Sold to Field Aircraft Services and flown to Burma.
March 8, 1950 - Registered as XY-CAN with Union of Burma Airways.
October 19, 1950 - Sold to British European Airways, registered as G-AKNB, and nicknamed "Sir Sefton Brancker."
December 11, 1959 - Sold to Silver City Airways and named it "City of Bradford." Used for cross-English Channel ferry service.
Fanuary 23, 1962 - Sold to British United Airways and operated mostly in the Channel Islands.
November 1, 1962 - Transferred to Channel Island division of British United Airways.
- Photos of N59NA during it’s time with British United Airways
October 1968 - Transferred to British United Island Airways.
February 3, 1969 - Sold to Intra Airways, Channel Islands.
1977, Leased to Bournemouth-based Express Air Freight (C.I.) Ltd
- Featured in the motion picture "The Eagle Has Landed" in 1976.
- October 13, 1978 - Moved across Irish Sea to Dublin, Ireland and sold to Mercantile Aviation, operating as Clyden Airways, and registered as EI-BDU.
- Stored at Dublin, Ireland during 1981.
- January 29, 1982 - Sold to Aces High, Ltd and registered as G-AKNB. Aircraft was based in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England from January 1982 through August 1985.
Flew for a brief period with Harvest Air, the pollution experts, during 1982.
September 27, 1982 - Damaged at Blackpool International Airport, Squires Gate, Lancashire, England.
Painted as FD 789 for the motion picutre "The Dirty Dozen Next Mission."
Placed on display at the Imperail War Museum collection at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England as FD 789.
Aircraft was reactivated in late 1986 to take part in the film "War and Remembrance."
July 1987 – Sold to Northern Airways and flown to Burlington, Vermont, and registered as N459NA.
February 1994 - Sold to Consolidated Aviation Enterprises and registered with Business Air, Inc. of Bennington, Vermont.
November 1994 Sold to Champlain Enterprises and based at Plattsburgh, New York.
Aircraft was completely overhauled and refurbished by Champlain Enterprises, Plattsburgh, New York.
As a USAAF C-47 of the 99th Troop Carrier Squadron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99th_Airlift_Squadron#History), 441st Troop Carrier Group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/441st_Troop_Carrier_Wing#History), 50th Troop Carrier Wing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50th_Troop_Carrier_Wing#History), IX Troop Carrier Command, Ninth Air Force that was based at Merryfield, Somersetshire, England, on D-Day, June 6, 1944." http://controltowers.co.uk/M/Merryfield.htm
October 2007 - Sold to BGA Aviation, Inc. of Bennettsville, South Carolina.
November 2014 – Sold to Basler Turbo Conversions, LLC, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for conversion to Basler BT-67