D-Day veteran C-47A ‘That’s All, Brother’ under restoration

MAM bannerC-47 D-Day vet Thats all brother5th June 2015 l Midland, Texas. Douglas C-47A That’s All, Brother departed RAF Greenham Common, just before midnight on 5 June 1944. Some 800 other C-47s and Dakotas (the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force designation), flying without navigation lights and under radio silence, from other Royal Air Force bases began to assemble in the dark night sky. The massive formation flew south across the English Channel and crossed into France. At the coast she and her sisters were greeted with heavy anti-aircraft fire.

'That's All. Brother' in boneyard. Photo by Jim Koepnick.

‘That’s All. Brother’ in boneyard. Photo by Jim Koepnick.

That’s All, Brother‘s human cargo of 101st Airborne Division (headquartered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky) paratroopers eventually jumped into the darkness and parachuted onto German-occupied French soil; That’s All, Brother had succeeded in leading the aerial invasion force into France, dropping her charges at 0048 on the morning of 6 June 1944. Afterward, the empty C-47s encountered low clouds which forced them to fly lower and exposed them to more flak.

Subsequently, That’s All, Brother also participated in Operation Market Garden, flew relief missions to Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and supported forces crossing of the Rhine River.

20th Century Aviation Magazine publisher J.R. Hafer poses with another C-47 D-Day veteran at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida. Photo: John Stemple

20th Century Aviation Magazine publisher J.R. Hafer poses with another C-47 D-Day veteran at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida. Photo: John Stemple

The plane was bought by Basler Turbo Conversions and scheduled for modification to turboprop powerplants.

While researching Lt. Col. John M. Donalson, commander of the 438th Troop Carrier Group, the unit operated That’s All, Brother in 1944, Staff Sergeant Matt Scales of the Alabama Air National Guard discovered the transport’s unique and very significant past. Basler and the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) then began negotiations on a purchase agreement.

CAF plans to purchase and restore That’s All, Brother to airworthy condition and paint the bird in authentic livery. C-47A S/N 42-92847 will then again appear just as she did on D-Day (6 June 1944).

"That's All Brother' print being offered by CAF for a $25 donation.

Print being offered by CAF for a $25 donation.

'That's All. Brother' during WWII. Photo: Courtesy of CAF.

‘That’s All. Brother’ during WWII.
Photo: Courtesy of CAF.

Very nearly scrapped in Wisconsin, That’s All, Brother survived German fire and fighters during World War II but may not, without your help, be obtained and restored to glory and airworthiness in time to participate in D-Day 75th anniversary ceremonies.

The CAF must raise money to complete the purchase. The organization has posted an online donation request. At the time of this article more than $72,000 of the $75,000 required by June 5 had been raised. Please assist the CAF with the restoration of this iconic aircraft. Those wishing to donate funds may contribute through Kickstarter.

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The author (John Stemple) thanks That’s All, Brother for her service and the  Commemorative Air Force for supplying information and photos for this article. D-Day, C-47s and airborne troops are forever linked by this historical event. Interested readers may access a 20th century Aviation Magazine article about two D-Day veterans and a C-47 by clicking on the following link:  Two Men and C-47 Recall D-Day.

Suggested Viewing

That’s All, Brother — Save the Airplane that led the D-Day Invasion

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