Iconic WWII Warplane to land at Prestwick

It’s one of the iconic aircraft of its era – the Douglas C-47 known in Britain as the Dakota. Now, a plane that’s been carefully restored will be landing at Prestwick next week en route to Normandy. This troop carrier, call sign Whiskey 7, originally had a lead role on D-Day in 1944. This year, it will have a lead role in the seventieth anniversary of the invasion where it will take part in a number of events to honour veterans and remember the fallen.

This historic Dakota took part in D-Day
This historic Dakota took part in D-Day
The restoration has been carried out by the US National Warplane Museum. The museum has been working alongside the French government over the commemoration. “Return to Normandy” is a project in which the aircraft will drop paratroopers over select areas of Normandy this coming June.

Whiskey 7 left the Museum yesterday and will cross the Atlantic, making seven stops before finally reaching Normandy. Once again, Whiskey 7 will play a key role in D-Day, reenacting the same mission she carried out seventy years ago. Members of the volunteer paratrooper group, Liberty Jump Team, will be deployed from Whiskey 7 over original drop zones, including a town that has not seen a parachute drop since D-Day.

“This has been a unique opportunity for us to thank our Veterans for their service and we’re honored to have been invited by the French government to be an integral part of their world celebration this June,” said Austin Wadsworth, National Warplane Museum President. “We’re grateful for the contributions we’ve received to make this two-year project a reality, however, we’re still looking for continued support.”

Whiskey 7 is one-of-a-kind. Not only do very few airworthy C-47s that served on D-Day remain active, but Whiskey 7 was the lead aircraft of the second wave of Allied troops, directing hundreds of C-47s from the English Channel to France. She also carried 21 paratroops from the 3rd Battalion, including their commander, Lt. Col. Edward C. Krause, who led the assault on Sainte-Mere-Eglise.

The aircraft is expected to stop over at Prestwick on Monday or Tuesday afternoon depending on the weather.

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David Calder has been a broadcast journalist for over 30 years. Before moving to the Caledonian Mercury, he worked for the BBC (national and regional) as well as parts of ITV and the World Service. He worked for prestigious programmes such as The Money Programme, You & Yours, Today and The World at One. He spent two years making mini-documentaries for Radio 5 Live and was a regular correspondent for CBC (Radio Canada). He was a regular reporter on various news and current affairs programmes on BBC Scotland as well as producing or presenting (sometimes both) science, legal affairs and arts programmes. As well as his contributions to the Caledonian Mercury, he is also a freelance producer in Scotland for the satellite channel, Al Jazeera.