Only two weekends now stand between us and the impressive D-Day 75 commemorations that will take place around the world. As I write a flight of Douglas C-47s/DC-3s are making their way across the Atlantic and airframes all around Europe are being readied and receiving the familiar invasion stripes ahead of the celebrations.
No stand-alone airshow features D-Day as a central theme this year, which is certainly unusual, though the centre piece is anticipated to be the “Daks over Duxford” event on the 4th and 5th. While understandably placed close to the anniversary to tie in with the fly-out to France on the 5th, the mid-week placement is likely to impact on the number in attendance. Nevertheless a group of Dakotas expected to total in excess of 30 airframes operating out of Duxford is one not to be missed. I look forward to attending on the 5th and watching the impressive collection depart for Europe.
In the UK there are three regularly flown Dakotas, two of which have D-Day history. Aces High’s C-47 “Mayfly” was last seen at Old Warden earlier this month in a temporary olive drab scheme, presumably ahead of a return to its original D-Day scheme.
Aero Legends’ “Drag em oot” is another D-Day veteran and will also be active on the 4th/5th June alongside the operators Spitfires on a special trip across the channel. The final active example in the UK is the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight’s which currently wears a D-Day scheme.
Of course it’s not just the heavy transports flying the flag as we approach this historic anniversary, plenty of fights have acquired invasion stripes alongside those that already fly with them. ML407, the Grace Spitfire has re-aquired stripes which goes well with the Air Leasing operated P-47 “Nellie B” which already flies with these allied identifiers.
It’s a shame that at such an iconic anniversary that airshow organisers appear to have left the theme relatively ignored (aside from Flying Legends, well over a month after the anniversary itself. Perhaps in the coming months we will see further themes become apparent.