D-Day

Dakotas At Duxford: WWII Carrier Planes Prepare For D-Day 75

It is the largest collection of the World War Two transport planes to come together since the Berlin Airlift more than 70 years ago.

Dakota aircraft, used to transport allied troops behind enemy lines at Normandy, have arrived in England ahead of the D-Day 75 commemorations.

The 25 airplanes have come from all over the world, to the Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford in Cambridgeshire.

Emily Charles, Curator at US Air Museum IWM Duxford, explains their role in advance of the Normandy invasion:

"Thousands of aircraft dropped British and American paratroopers behind enemy lines so that they could support the advance on the beaches on the day itself.

"Some troops called it the vomit comet on the day of D-Day itself, so I think the ride was pretty bumpy.

"From what I've heard from pilots flying them, it was a pretty scary time - there was a lot of fog and anti-aircraft fire, but generally the troop drop was considered a massive success."

Getting the aircraft together has been a massive undertaking.
Getting the aircraft together has been a massive undertaking.

Getting the aircraft together, from across the globe, has been a massive undertaking.

John Brown, Executive Director, IWM Duxford, said it is a very special event, as it is possibly the last time the public can see so many of the aircraft operating together.

"They are getting quite old now and spares are getting difficult to find.

"Although their design is absolutely brilliant, and they've obviously gone on for over 75 years, it's unlikely that the next major anniversary - say the 80th - will see this many in the air again."

On Wednesday, they will fly to France ready for the D-Day commemorations, where they plan to drop 250 parachutists over Normandy in memory of those who did it 75 years ago.

A Dakota aircraft taxis at IWM Duxford ahead of D-Day 75 commemorations.
A Dakota aircraft taxis at IWM Duxford ahead of D-Day 75 commemorations.