David Lord Dakota
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Rare Dakota Aircraft Rededicated To Honour WW2 RAF Crew

The aircraft has been renovated on the interior and exterior and resprayed to represent the Dakota flown by Victoria Cross winner, Flight...

David Lord Dakota

One of the last two serving Dakotas has been rededicated at Merville Barracks in Colchester to honour RAF crew killed during Operation Market Garden in World War Two.

The interior and exterior of the aircraft has been renovated and resprayed to represent the Dakota flown by Victoria Cross winner, Flight Lieutenant David Lord and stands as a gate guardian at Merville.

In 1943 Flt Lt Lord was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after flying supply missions to Burma and the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Battle of Arnhem in 1944.

With British troops in the Netherlands desperate for supplies, Lord flew a Dakota through heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire and managed to deliver his supplies.

Despite his aircraft being hit, he was determined to make a second delivery of much-needed ammunition, but the plane caught fire and only one member of the crew survived.

The interior of the Douglas Dakota has been refurbished to make it as realistic looking as possible.
The interior of the Douglas Dakota has been refurbished to make it as realistic as possible.

Speaking to Forces News, Sergeant Jim Kilbride, who serves as custodian of the "best Dakota this close to London", said the rededication was an appropriate honour to Flt Lt Lord: "The aircraft is here to represent him and what the crew did that day, so we’re very fortunate to have here today…the niece and nephew of that pilot.

"I just thought it was very fitting that we put the pilot’s name outside the aircraft and because he was working for the airborne forces at the time that we commemorate a special crew [and] a special aircraft."

“It’s the greatest honour bestowed on my family,” Lord’s niece, Lucinda Lord, said in the shadow of the Dakota.

“We appreciate the loss of life from the crew members and…we’re just so pleased to be here on this special occasion of the rededication of the Dakota in David’s colours.

"The whole family are just so proud of our uncle."

Lucinda and Michael Lord
Lucinda and Michael Lord in the shadow of the plane rededicated on behalf of their uncle.

“Growing up it’s always been a two dimensional memory for myself,” her brother, Michael, added.

“But here today, here we stand in front of a fully three-dimensional aircraft that has been beautifully…restored to reflect the aircraft that he flew during Operation Market Garden.

"It’s the most wonderful thing for me to be here today."