Fairchild C-119 & Douglas C-47 Rescue And Recovery

DC-3 / C-47 'Dakota' salvage (2007)


The rescue and relocation of the fuselage of C-47 Serial No. 43-49240 (RAF Serial FL586) was moved by road to the Wings Museum during late Summer 2007. 43-49240 saw service in the India-China theatre in WW2. After the war it moved to Europe and was transferred to the Belgium Air Force (as K-1, radio call sign O-CWA) in 1946. During 1952 it was re-registered to OO-SMA and a year later OT-CWA. It saw service in the Congo from 1954 to 1960. In Dec 73 it had reached the end of its usefullness and was stored at Koksijde. In 2000 it was located at Schaffen-Diest (small airfield in Belgium) and during 2001 it was transported to North Weald in essex, to participate in “Sword of Honour” where 43-49240 was used to represent a crash landing. The museum has also obtained the forward cockpit section of C-47 42-100611 which was used for the filming of Band of Brothers. The cockpit of 42-100611 has now been matted onto the rear fuselage of 43-49240 to create a visitors walk through experience. The fuselage stands testament to all those air crews who were shot down during the D-Day operations of 6th June 1944. 42-100611 saw service during World War Two but with her wartime service log being ‘missing’ it has been hard to track down her exact operational history and any help to throw some light on her wartime history and or photos would be gratefully appreciated.

The salvage from North Weald (2007)
C-47 Nose Section Before Recovery
"as found" at North Weald in 2007
C-47 Fuselage Being Rescued
Installing the lifting jib
C-47 Fuselage Ready For Transport to Redhill Aerodrome
Quite a sight!
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C-47 Fuselage Being Carefully Lifted  Off The Ground
"Easy does it" 43-49240 is airbourne again!
C-47 Tail Wing Scattered
Museum curator Kevin measure up a C-47 Tail fin
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Fuselage On Transport To Redhill Aerodrome
The fuselage of 43-49240 leaves North Weald in 2007
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C-47 Fuselage Restoration (2009)
Following careful consideration by the museum only the rear fuselage section of 43-49240 was used in the restoration of the Wing's Museum's C-47 walk through experience. The cockpit was carefully cut and sold off to recoupe some of the recovery and transport costs involved in the salvage operation from North Weald. This has since found a home with a private collector in France.
The fuselage of 43-49240 had suffered over the years with the cockpit being completely gutted and set fire to for the filming of "Sword of Honor", the museum therefore decided that the cockpit of 42-100611 would be an ideal substitute as the cockpit was fully "kitted out" to wartime spec.
Over a 12 month period a lot of work was undertaken by Wings Museum volunteers to create a complete C-47 fuselage, this included a lot of corrosion repair and preservation work to the mid section, a new floor was also fitted and the fuselage received a coat of new paint inside and out. The C-47 has been repainted to represent "Lilly Bell" which was a well known D-Day veteran, Lilly Bell ended her service career crashing near Guildford tragically killing her crew, this display is presented in honour of the crew and to all those who lost their lives flying the C-47 during "Operation Overlord".
Visitors can now experience what it would have been like to be a paratropper on D-Day, and is proving very popular for school children and our younger visitors.
Cockpit Pilots Seat And Control
The cockpit of 42-100611
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