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Daks over Normandy: The most ambitious and unique event in the vintage aviation world

<< Back 3 April 2019
Daks over Normandy: The most ambitious and unique event in the vintage aviation world

What images do you conjure up when you think of D-Day June 6th 1944? Is it the ramps of the landing craft crashing down into the surf? Eisenhower talking to the men of the 502nd PIR in England ahead of the Airborne landings? Is it perhaps the German bunkers and barbed wire sitting forebodingly along the Normandy coast, waiting for the Allies to appear in the fog?

Paul Woodage - film-maker, author, historian, former Tour Guide and one of the Daks over Normandy Fundraising Team - explains what this event conjures up in his mind and what it means to him.

101st Airborne Division aerodrome Aldermaston Horsa C47For me, the images that sum everything up about that fateful day are of the aircraft. The formations of hundreds of planes of all types and sizes and crewed by men of many Nations, venturing out into the unknown in the very early hours to commence a Second Front.

I can imagine the coughing splutter of the engines firing-up, the nervous crews having a final cigarette and cup of tea before boarding their bombers and transports. The anxious ground-crews waving the swarms of planes off into the night skies. Moonlight breaking through the clouds and reflecting off the freshly-painted black and white invasion stripes giving the armada an almost ghostly feel.

Then watching them get smaller and smaller as they head off to France and an uncertain destiny. Everyone on-board or viewing this spectacle had the same sense of trepidation and hope. All knowing that the fate of free people everywhere was dependent on their bravery and the success of their missions. If the Airborne landings and bombing of German positions go well, there is a good chance the beach landings on Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword will be similarly successful. These images are so powerful and represent everything that was so audacious and epic about Operation Overlord.

This June in both Duxford, England and Carpiquet, France we who were not alive in 1944 and the few remaining survivors who were actually there, will have a glorious opportunity to see this spectacle again.

As part of Daks over Normandy, over 30 original C-47 Skytrains will recreate this epic journey in almost certainly a one-off event. The C-47 is better known by many as the Dakota. A workhorse of the Allies in WWII and used the World over as transport for people and material for decades after the conflict. We can once again hear the roar of the Pratt & Whitney engines. Gasp in awe as dozens of crews from all over the world take these warbirds back into the skies to recreate the invasion flights.

Can you imagine it? Over 30 Dakotas in formation taking off from historic Duxford airfield, escorted by WWII fighters? I am getting goose-bumps just thinking about it.

These beautiful and lovingly restored aircraft, many in their D-Day livery will fly over the channel from Duxford, around and down the south-eastern coast and across the English Channel. Then in Ranville, Normandy - close to the now famous Pegasus Bridge - hundreds of paratroopers in authentic WWII uniforms and round-canopy chutes will jump once again on these historic fields. The C-47s will then land at Carpiquet Airport where the public can visit and be part of this endeavour.

This is very simply, probably the most ambitious and unique event in the vintage aviation world since the 1940s that should undeniably not be missed.

Buy tickets now and don't miss out on this epic event!