Douglas Dakota MK III – RAF S/N KG587
KG587 Depicted on the morning of September 21st 1944 approaching the Arnhem drop zones on her 3rd and final re-supply missions associated with the Market Garden operation.
This example of the Dakota MK III was manufactured under a USAAF (United States Army Air Force) order issued in 1942 to the Douglas Aircraft Company for transport aircraft as part of the Lend-Lease program. Its original designation was that of a C-47A-20-DK . This ship was assigned a manufacturer’s construction number by Douglas of 13310 (USAAF serial number 42-93402.) She was built in the Douglas plant in Oklahoma City. From the factory she was flown directly to Dorval Airport in Montreal, Canada were it was assigned an RAF serial number of KG 587 on May 21st, 1944. The aircraft was turned over to RAF Ferry Command for the delivery flight to the UK, arriving there on May 29th 1944. It was then assigned to 48 Squadron located at RAF Down Ampney close to a small village of the same name in Gloucestershire, SW England. It remained with this squadron until after the war in Europe ended.
Although she was in the UK in May of 1944, she was not assigned to an operational Squadron until later in June of that year. She was immediately pressed into service that month supplying the break out and advance across France with regular trips into the forward landing grounds of Normandy. Her records now include detailed squadron movement diaries showing the destinations, the crews and the numbers of wounded evacuated on each and every return trip.
KG 587 went on to distinguish herself in remarkable actions above Arnhem, Holland as part of operation Market Garden and then later as part of the massed air armada associated with Operation Varsity in 1945. KG 587 and her crew made numerous and heroic trips to the Arnhem drop zones in September of 1944. Towing a glider into the embattled drop zone V for Victor on D+1 as well as a further 3 re-supply sorties during the following days. She sustained damage from ground fire on D+4 which prevented her from participating in the desperate last few days of the ill fated mission.
At the close of the War she was transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force (still stationed at Down Ampney) before making a second Atlantic crossing to her new home in the Canadian North. She served with the RCAF in the arctic for several years before being sold surplus and becoming just one more civilian work horse – with a history that was gradually covered up and forgotten for decades.
Aurora State Airport, Oregon, USA – November 28th 2016
Major structural inspection: