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CAF to Restore C-47 That Led D-Day Invasion
June 4, 2015 - The airplane that led the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, 71 years ago this week will be restored to flying condition by the Commemorative Air Force, the organization announced today. The airplane, bearing the nickname of That’s All, Brother, was discovered in an aircraft bone yard in Wisconsin and had been slated to be converted into a BT-67 turboprop by Basler Turbo Conversions, Oshkosh, when a researcher alerted the company to its huge historical significance.
The CAF has launched a Kickstarter funding campaign to save and restore the airplane.
“This is a modern miracle,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan C. Brown. “The aircraft was within weeks of being torn apart, when its serial number 42-92847 was traced and it turned out to be the actual lead aircraft for the D-Day invasion.”
CAF has negotiated for the opportunity to acquire That’s All, Brother from Basler. As part of the agreement the CAF must complete its purchase of That’s All, Brother by August 31.
Five hours before the D-Day beach landings began, the transport plane led a formation of more than 800 aircraft that dropped 13,000 paratroopers behind enemy lines. Historic film, shot as the airplane departs on its D-Day mission, shows it was equipped with an early form of airborne radar to guide the invasion force to the drop zone. The aircraft was named That’s All, Brother as a personal message to Adolf Hitler that, with the Allied invasion of Europe, his plans were done.
After returning from the initial drop of 101st Airborne Division paratroopers, That’s All, Brother towed a glider to Normandy, carrying essential supplies and men of the 82nd Airborne Division into the heart of the battle. The aircraft remained on combat status throughout the European campaign, participating in Operation Market Garden, the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and the crossing of the Rhine River. After the war it passed through 16 civilian owners and its story was essentially lost to history.
The CAF plans to faithfully restore That’s All, Brother to airworthy condition, representing its exact configuration on D-Day. The airplane will be a “flying classroom,” allowing students and others to board the aircraft and sit in the original paratrooper seats. Inside the darkened plane, hidden speakers and sensors will carry people back in time to the night of June 5-6, 1944.
“We want to bring this world-class artifact back to the public as part of the CAF’s mission to educate future generations about the legacy and values of those who fought for freedom in World War II,” Brown added.
The aircraft will be based in Dallas as an iconic centerpiece of CAF’s new national aviation museum attraction. It will also be available to attend major national commemoration events, air shows and flyovers. The CAF also plans to fly the aircraft to Europe in the summer of 2019 to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the last opportunity for living veterans to attend a major commemoration event.
Learn more about the Kickstarter fundraising campaign.