Air, Feature, Freight News, Logistics

US war veteran set to fly home

[ July 20, 2017   //   ]

Walker Logistics customer relations director, Charlie Walker, hopes to realise a dream to return an historic C-47 aircraft to Membury Airfield in Berkshire. Similar aircraft helped fly hundreds of US troops to the Normandy beaches on D-Day from Membury Airfield, which is today the site of Walker Logistics’ 200,000sq ft warehouse.

Thousands of the planes – designated the C-47 by the US military, the Dakota by the RAF and more informally as the Gooney Bird  – were built to help the Allies win World War II and played a crucial role in other campaigns, including the Berlin Airlift.

The C-47 was based on the DC3 civilian plane developed by Douglas from the mid-1930s. The type lasted as a low-cost, rugged freighter for decades after the war, but there are today only a few examples capable of flying.

The plane under restoration was about to be destroyed at an Arkansas scrap yard in 2012 but was saved and is now being brought back to life in the Midlands.

The plan is to have the aircraft fully restored and back at Membury for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019. Mr Walker holds a commercial airline pilot’s license and intends to fly the historic aircraft ‘home’ himself.

He adds: “This is an exciting project and we hope that the return of a fully operational C-47 will be seen as a fitting tribute to the men who took part in the allied invasion of occupied Europe in 1944.”

Meanwhile, an image of one of a C-47 dominates the front entrance to Walker’s facility.