Canadian Warplanes 4: Douglas CC-129 Dakota

Douglas CC-129 Dakota

(CAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. KG580), later (Serial No. 12930), No. 440 Squadron, 1970. It has Canadian Armed Forces in French and "Rescue" is in english. This aircraft unfortunately crashed on 3 Nov 1971 in the Arctic, killing the 8 crew members. A case of low and slow and then stall that seems to repeat its self on SAR missions.

Development of the Douglas DC-3 started in early 1935 with the prototype flying by the end of the year. The first production aircraft was delivered to American Airlines in July 1936 and soon orders were pouring in from US and overseas airlines. The US Air Corps became interested in the DC-3 and ordered a military version, called the C-47 or Dakota. It had many capabilities, including dropping paratroops and supplies, evacuating the wounded, troop transportation and glider towing. Eventually, about 10,000 C-47s were built for the US military.

During the Second World War, the Royal Air Force received about 1,930 Dakotas and they became the RAF’s main wartime transport aircraft. The RCAF took delivery of its first Dakota in March 1943, and at its peak had 169 on strength. Within Canada, they were operated by four transport squadrons and several ferry squadrons.

Overseas, Dakotas equipped RCAF 437 Squadron in Europe and RCAF 435 and 436 Squadrons in South East Asia. 437 Squadron was formed in England September 1944, where it supported the British and Canadian Armies fighting in Europe. Its most important actions involved glider towing for the airborne landings at Arnhem and the Rhine crossing at Wesel. Nos. 435 and 436 Squadrons were formed in India in October 1944. They flew Dakotas in support of the British 14th Army in Burma where they dropped supplies to the British troops fighting the Japanese in the jungle.

Douglas Dakota Mk. I. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4674232)

Caption: Back in the fuselage of the aircraft members of Flight Lieutenant Alex Blythes' crew are ready to heave out the packages whenever the red light is turned on and the signal bell sounds. They are the navigators.  21 March 1944.

At the end of the Second World War,, all three squadrons were transferred back to England to provide air transport for the Canadian occupation forces in Germany. Dakotas continued in service with the Canadian Armed Forces until 1989, when 402 Squadron, based in Winnipeg, retired the last of them. Of the nearly 13,000 DC-3s built, many are still in service today, over 75 years after the aircraft’s first flight. (CWHM)

Douglas Dakota Mk. I (15), RCAF (Serial Nos. 650, 651 (Serial No. 12936), 652, 653 (Serial No. 12937), 654, 655, 656 (Serial No. 12938), 657 (Serial No. 12939), 658, 659 (Serial No. 12940), 660 (Serial No. 12941), 661, 662, 663, 664).

Douglas Dakota Mk. III (44), (Serial Nos. 960, 961, 962, 963 (Serial No. 12950), 964 (Serial No. 12951), 965, 966, 967, 968 (Serial No. 12952), 969 (Serial No. 12953), 970 (Serial No. 12954), 971 (Serial No. 12955), 972, 973 (Serial No. 12956), 974, 975, 976 (Serial No. 12957), 977 (Serial No. 12958), 978, 979 (Serial No. 12959), 980, 981 (Serial No. 12960), 982, 983, 984, 985, 986, 987, 988 (Serial No. 12961), 989, 990 (Serial No. 12962), 991, 992 (Serial No. 12963), 993 (Serial No. 12964), 994, 10910, 10911 (Serial No. 12966), 10912 (Serial No. 12967), 10913 (Serial No. 12968), 10914, 10915 (Serial No. 12969), 10916, 10917 (Serial No. 12970),10918 (Serial No. 12971), FL595, FL598, FL615, FL616, FL618, FL621, FL636, FL650, FZ557, FZ558, FZ571, FZ575, FZ576, FZ581, FZ583, FZ584, FZ586, FZ634, FZ635, FZ669 (Serial No. 12943), FZ671 (Serial No. 12944), FZ678, FZ692 (Serial No. 12945), FZ694, FZ695, KG312 (Serial No. 12912), KG317, KG320, KG330 (Serial No. 12913), KG337 (Serial No. 12914), KG345, KG350 (Serial No. 12915), KG354 (Serial No. 12916), KG368, KG382, KG389, KG394 (Serial No. 12918), KG395 (Serial No. 12919), KG400, KG403 (Serial No. 12920), KG414, KG416, KG423, KG430, KG441, KG455 (Serial No. 12924), KG479, KG485, KG486, KG526, KG545 (Serial No. 12927), KG557 (Serial No. 12928), KG559, KG562, KG563, KG568, KG577 (Serial No. 12929), KG580 (Serial No. 12930), KG587 (Serial No. 12931), KG600, KG602 (Serial No. 12932),KG623 (Serial No. 12933), KG632 (Serial No. 12934), KG634, KG635, KG641 (Serial No. 12935), KG665, KG668 (Serial No. 12942), KG692, KG693, KG712 (Serial No. 12946), KG713, KG769, KG808 (Serial No. 12947), KG827, KG828 (Serial No. 12948), KG936, TS422, TS425).

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (31), (Serial Nos. 1000 (Serial No. 12965), KJ956 (Serial No. 12949), KK101, KK102 (Serial No. 12901), KK143, KK160, KN200  (Serial No. 12902), KN201 (Serial No. 12903), KN256, KN258 (Serial No. 12907), KN261 (Serial No. 12908), KN270 (Serial No. 12901), KN277, KN278, KN281 (Serial No. 12910), KN291 (Serial No. 12911), KN392 (Serial No. 12917), KN427 (Serial No. 12921), KN436 (Serial No. 12922), KN443 (Serial No. 12923), KN448, KN451, KN485 (Serial No. 12925), KN511 (Serial No. 12926), KN665, KN666, KN676, KP221 (Serial No. 12904), KP224 (Serial No. 12905), KP227 (Serial No. 12906)), for a total of 169 aircraft.

607 civil variants of the Douglas Commercial DC-3; and 10,048 military C-47 Skytrain and C-53 Skytrooper variants were built at Santa Monica, California, Long Beach, California, and Oklahoma City. 4,937 were built under license in the Soviet Union (1939–1950) as the Lisunov Li-2 (NATO reporting name: Cab). 487 Mitsubishi Kinsei-engined aircraft were built by Showa and Nakajima in Japan (1939–1945), as the L2D Type 0 transport (Allied codename Tabby).
None were built in Canada, but many have been refurbished at a number of Canadian plants including Winnipeg and Montreal. The RAF and the RCAF designated the aircraft as a Dakota. The Greenwich Aircraft Corp DC-3-TP is a conversion with an extended fuselage and with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65AR or PT6A-67R engines fitted.

RCAF On Strength (212), RCAF 400 Squadron (6), Canadian Aircraft Losses (99), Canadian Museum(1). Detailed records of all known RCAF and Canadian casualties in the RAF during the Second World War may be viewed online in the Canadian Aircraft Serials Personnel Information Resource (CASPIR). The  CASPIR website is researched, coded, maintained entirely by Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum(CWHM) volunteers with only one staff assisting periodically. This work has taken several years, and is unlikely to be finished as continuing research leads to “new finds” and rediscovered Canadian aviation heritage and history.  The CWHM volunteer team looks forward to continuing to update and correct the record as additional information and photos are received. Check here.


(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4674231)
Douglas Dakota (Serial No. FD946), No. 62 Squadron, RAF.  This aircraft flown by Flying Officer J. Duguid is on its way over Burma to drop supplies to Allied troops who have been surrounded by the Japanese, 21 March 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4674221)

These are men from Canada, Australia, the United States, England, South Africa and Rhodesia in this group of aircrew of an RAF Dakota Squadron in Troop Carrier Command, 15 May 1944.

(DND Archives Photo, PL-144827)

Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. III (Serial No. FL618), coded DM, 1940s.

(RCAF Photo via Don Dygert)

Douglas Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. KN665) coded W, No. 435 (Transport) Squadron in European Theatre of Operations (ETO) markings with a C1 roundel on the fuselage.  The photo may have been taken on 1 Apr 1946 during the squadron disbandment ceremonies.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583024)

Douglas Dakota Mk. 1 (Serial No. 652) from No. 164 (T) Squadron in RCAF service as a medevac aircraft.  This Dakota had a long post-war service with the RCAF and later Canadian Armed Forces.  It became CAF (Serial No. 12936) in 1970.  It last served with No. 429 Squadron in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583025)

Douglas Dakota in RCAF service as a medevac aircraft.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583026)

Douglas Dakota in RCAF service as a medevac aircraft.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583027)

Douglas Dakota in RCAF service as a medevac aircraft.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3390228)

Douglas Dakota Mk. III Serial No. KG545), RAF, with casualties evacuated from France being unloaded and transferred to an ambulance at Down Ampney, England, 8 August 1944. KG545 was subsequently transferred to the RCAF and later re-serialed as 12927 on 26 June, 1970.

(City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM640-S1-: CVA 260-1532)

Douglas Dakota, RCAF, Richmond, British Columbia, Aug 1945.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

Douglas Dakota wartime groundcrew, RCAF, ca 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397094)

Douglas Dakota, evacuation of wounded, France, 16 June 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233648)

Wounded being evacuated by Douglas Dakota, from the Royal Air Force's No. 1680 Transport Flight, Normandy 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3589670)

Collision between a Douglas Dakota and a Fairchild Cornell at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 8 July 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583068)

Bofors 40-mm AA Gun being prepared for loading into a Douglas Dakota Mk III, RCAF (Serial No. 653), No. 12 (Communications) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 27 Oct 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583070)

Bofors 40-mm AA Gun being loaded into a Douglas Dakota Mk III, RCAF (Serial No. 653), No. 12 (Communications) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 28 Oct 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583409)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota with a Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) F8 or C8A or 8-cwt 1/2-ton truck being loaded, 14 Aug 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583408)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota with Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) C8A or C15A truck being loaded, 14 Aug 1944. This is Right Hand Drive, has Canadian Chevron directional tires, has the pintle hook (for towing) removed and a fuel tank is sitting across the chassis as on the early 4X2 F8 and C8 8-CWT (1/2 Ton) trucks.

(DND Photo via Colin MacGregor Stevens)

Douglas C-47 Dakota with a Dodge D3/4APT 4X4 being loaded. The cargo box has been removed for this loading.  The APT stood for "Air Portable". “Airportable” referred to vehicles that could be transported whole or knocked down (i.e. partially dismantled) to fit in an aircraft. This was a useful pioneer concept to fly vehicles into remote locations. A slight distinction is that “Airborne” vehicles were carried intact and ready for combat as soon as they had landed. These could be driven straight out of the glider or motorized transport aircraft (after such a/c had been developed), dropped by parachute or lifted in by helicopter. Canada has continued to use aircraft to transport vehicles, sometimes to overseas locations. Ferret Scout Cars and M series jeeps and 1/4 Ton trailers for example in the 1950s-1960s. The jeeps and trailers could be fitted with hold-down “D” rings on the underside of the chassis. Now with large transport aircraft with “roll on, roll off” capability (to use a shipping term) can carry large tanks, helicopters etc. (Colin MacGregor Stevens)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583495)

Douglas Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 664), serving with No. 165 (T) Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, British Columbia, 18 Sep 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583496)

Douglas Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 664), serving with No. 165 (T) Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, 18 Sep 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650727)

Douglas Dakota Mk III, RCAF (Serial No. 661), Moncton, New Brunswick, Jan 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650728)

Douglas Dakota Mk III, RCAF (Serial No. 661), Moncton, New Brunswick, Jan 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4002569)

Douglas C-47 Skytrain, USAAF (Serial No. 223934), delivering RCAF fighter squadron groundcrew in Normandy, 16 June 1944.  There is a story that this Dakota was a USAAF used by Field Marshal Montgomery around the time of D-Day.  He apparently won it and its crew in a card game!  Note the Union Flag, small fin flash and appropriate star rank markings, although it retained USAAF national insignia.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3209020)

Dakotas leaving airport loaded with Canadian and British casualties, 16 June 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3199602)

Wounded soldier being transferred from army truck to Douglas Dakota Aircraft during casualty evacuation operation, 16 June 1944.

(RAF Photo)

Douglas Dakota Mk. III (Serial No. KG425), coded Z2-M, "Fort Rae", diamond OM, No. 437 Squadron, RCAF, No. 120 Transport Wing, RCAF at RAF Odiham, UK, Oct 1945.  It was later coded *DM and finally ODO*M.  This Dakota experienced an engine failure which led to a crash landing near Anzio on 1 March, 1946.  (Chris Charland)

From the history of RAF Odiham: No. 110 Squadron, RCAF, arrived in 1940. Following the formation of the Army Co-operation Command in December 1940, it was decided to replace the aging Westland Lysander with fighter aircraft capable of completing photo reconnaissance missions. The American Curtiss Tomahawk was chosen and in April 1941 No. 110 Squadron was renumbered No. 400 Squadron, RCAF, at Odiham, and began to re-equip. Transport Command came in 1945 with No. 233 and No. 271 Squadrons of Dakota aircraft and the Canadian Transport Wing was formed.

 (Tony O'Toole Photo)

Front view of the same Skytrain/Dakota, wearing the markings of the 21st Army Group and 8th Army (FM Montgomery's old command) insignia.

 

21st Army Group and 8th Army badges.

(Gordon Franklin Snider Photo, via the BCAM)

USAAF Douglas C-47 Skytrain, about to tow a WACO glider at Rockcliffe, Ontario, 1947.  From a photo album given to the British Columbia Air Museum, that belonged to Gordon Franklin Snider, who was posted at Patricia Bay, BC.  He also was posted to the Experimental Proving Establishment at Rockcliffe, Ontario, in 1947, where he took this photo.

(DND Photo via Benoit Thibault)

The roundel is a c-1 type in use by RAF/RCAF during the war.  This Dakota is fitted with Eureka/Rebecca aerials on the nose.   There are additional antennae on the bottom of the rear fuselage.  The Rebecca antenna was used by aircraft used to drop paratroopers and Special Operations Executive (SOE) personnel.  The holes in the windows are gunports that could be closed off by rubber grommeted plugs.  All the cargo area windows appear to be blanked, likely to keep light from escaping during night operations.  The photo was likely taken using orthochromatic film which makes the pre 1946 RAF/RCAF roundel red, white, blue, yellow colours appear to be inverted.  The tail fin flash has the blue aft red forward.

(DND Photo, PL38821)

Douglas Dakota Mk. 3N, RCAF (Serial No. KG330), coded VC-CFB, No. 435 'Chinthe' (T) Squadron, serving with No. 111 (K) Flight, based at RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba.  It is carrying out a rescue of Edith Dodds who needed urgent medical care, at Arctic Bay, (Nunavut), 24 March 1948.  KG330 later became CAF (Serial No. 12913) and post-military Reg. No. C-GWZS. It is still in service with Buffalo Airways at Yellowknife, NWT.  Carrying out a search and rescue mission at the time, when they arrived at Arctic Bay, they were met with four to ten inches of “virgin” snow.  This Dakota was equipped with skis.  The crew had no problems departing other than a longer than normal take-off run.  This was also a record-setting flight as the unit had the distinction of having landed a wheeled/ski mounted aircraft the farthest north in Canada.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584325)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota with wireless system, 19 Dec 1949.

(Robert St Pierre Photos via Benoit De Mulder)

Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 657), coded CJ-D, painted in yellow and black target towing colours, No. 121 (K) Flight. RCAF Station Sea Island, British Columbia.  

Origin of the RCAF fuselage flash: The RCAF wanted a distinct look for their transport aircraft so they came up with the lightning flash. It was trialed in 1948 on Dakota (Serial No. KJ936) at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto, Ontario.  The public liked the design so it was adopted and approved on 8 Jan 1949. (Page 31 of Patrick Martin's Royal Canadian Air Force Aircraft Finish and Markings 1947-1968).

(Robert St Pierre Photos via Benoit De Mulder)

Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 657), coded CJ-D, painted in yellow and black target towing colours, No. 121 (K) Flight. RCAF Station Sea Island, British Columbia.  

Code letters found on these Dakotas included:

CJ - No. 121 (K) Flight. RCAF Station Sea Island, BC.
BZ- No. 1 Air Armament School, RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.
MH- No. 1 Pilot Weapons School RCAF Station MacDonald, Manitoba.

(Ken Fielding Photo)

Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 657), later (Serial No. 12939), Penticton, British Columbia, 15 May 1967.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. KP 224), over Winnipeg, Manitoba.

(Ken Fielding Photo)

Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 224), Penticton, British Columbia, 15 May 1967.

(RCAF Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 987).  Ex-USAAF C-47B-30-DK, (Serial No. 44-76783).  This aircraft served with No. 9 (T) Group in 1945, and later, with No. 435 (T) Squadron, RCAF Station Edmonton, Alberta, in August 1946.  It performed a paradrop at Camp Shilo, Manitoba on 15 August 1946.  It later went to Rockcliffe and returned, later that month.  It was with the Winnipeg Detachment by September 1946.  Delivered to Rockcliffe on 20 January 1947, for use by Photo Wing.  Converted to Mk. III, date unknown.  It was written off on 27 January 1949.

This Dakota Mk. IV served with the following units:

No. 164 (T) Squadron based at RCAF Station Moncton. It is possible that it was assigned to one of the Western Canada detachments, either Rivers, Edmonton or Winnipeg when the photo was taken.  No. 1 Air Supply Unit which provided airlift support for Operation 'Musk Ox'.  The exercise was held between the 15th of February and the 6th of May, 1946. The unit was disbanded on the 31st of July, 1946.  A number of personnel and equipment were transferred to No. 435 (T) Squadron Detachment, Winnipeg.  No. 435 `Chinthe`(T) Squadron at RCAF Station Edmonton was then re-formed on the 1st of August 1946 when No. 1 Air Supply Unit and the RCAF Station Edmonton Detachment of No. 164 (T) Squadron were amalgamated to reform the squadron.  No. 435 `Chinthe`(T) Squadron Detachment, Winnipeg began to be phased out.  A decision was made that would see it be re-designated as No. 112 (T) Flight effective the 1st of April, 1947.  Now designated a Dakota Mk. 4F and coded CA-D from No. 112 (T) Flight based at RCAF Station Rivers, Manitoba, it ran out of fuel and forced landed on an ice flow east of Churchill, Manitoba in Hudson Bay on the 21st of January 1949.  The crew were carrying out a search and rescue mission.  The aircraft was not recovered and subsequently sank.  (Chris Charland)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233831)

RCAF Douglas Dakota, Operation Musk Ox, 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233843)

RCAF Douglas Dakota, Operation Musk Ox, 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203760)

Technical equipment being off-loaded from a Douglas Dakota to a Penguin snowtrack during Operation Musk Ox, 20 March 1946.

Operation Musk Ox was an 81-day military exercise organized by the Canadian Army between Feb and May 1946.  It involved the 48 members of the Army driving 11 4½-ton Canadian-designed snowmobiles ("Penguins").  They were joined by three American observers in a smaller American-made snowmobile called a "Weasel" as well as an observer from the Royal Canadian Navy and a number of scientists.  The RCAF provided airdrops of supplies, the largest aerial resupply effort ever attempted in Canada up to that point.

The main expedition, led by Patrick Douglas Baird, travelled 3,100 miles (5,000 km), starting from Churchill, Manitoba, first to Baker Lake, Northwest Territories where the number of vehicles was reduced to ten.  From there, the group travelled to Denmark Bay on Victoria Island, then south to to Grande Prairie and then by rail to Edmonton.  The mission demonstrated that it was highly unlikely that Soviet forces would attempt an overland invasion of North America through the Arctic.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of Jeff Austin)

Douglas Dakota Mk. 4F, coded CA-D, dropping Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) paratroopers over Rivers, Manitoba ca 1948.  The PPCLI paratroopers jumping are members of the  Mobile Strike Force (MSF).  (PPCLI Museum and Archives, The Military Museums, Calgary, Alberta)

(RCAF Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, RCAF (Serial No. 969), ex-USAAF (Serial No. 42-93432).

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, RCAF (Serial No. KN427), coded AP-R.

 (DND Photo via Benoit Thibault)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, with  RCMP Royal Outriders loading their motorcycles at Rockcliffe, before 1953.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585109)

Arrival of A/C H.M. Carscallen, DFC, CD (26 Jul 1954 – 5 Aug 1956) Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Air Transport Command (ATC), Rockcliffe, Ontario, 22 Apr 1955. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3585109)

A/C Carscallen commanded Air Transport Command from the 26th of July, 1954 to the 5th of August, 1956.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3521772)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, (Serial No. KN511) in flight, 28 June 1948, RCAF.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3228254)

Douglas Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. KN511), later (Serial No. 12926), No. 4 Detachment, No. 414 (Photographic) Squadron, being serviced, 15 Aug 1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584152)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. 969), coded CA-A, with Canadian paratroops, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 19 July 1948.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584153)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. TS422), coded CA-C, with Canadian paratroops, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 19 July 1948.

(DND Photo)

Canadian paratrooper exiting Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. TS422), coded CA-C, c1948.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584241)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, coded AQW, No. 414 Squadron, 29 Apr 1949.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584249)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, coded AQ-A, No. 414 Squadron, 29 Apr 1949.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. 4MST, RCAF (Serial KN291), coded AO-B, No. 412 'Falcon' (T) Squadron based at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, c1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586666)

Douglas Dakota (Serial No. 200), No. 414 Squadron, Headquarters group photo, June 1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586616)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. 4MST, RCAF (Serial KN291), coded AO-B from No. 412 'Falcon' (T) Squadron based at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, with A/C Ross arriving in Edmonton, Alberta, June 1950.  Note the two airmen studying the fuselage instead of looking at and saluting the A/C - curious. (Chris Charland)

Air Commodore  Arthur Dwight Ross, GC, CBE, CD (18 March 1907 – 27 September 1981) was a RCAF Base Commander of No. 62 Base for his actions on the night of 27/28 June 1944 at  RAF Tholthorpe.

During the night of 27/28 June 1944, an RCAF Handley Page Halifax aircraft ofwas returning from a raid on aaunching site in northern France. The aircraft struggled back on three engines. Upon landing, the pilot, Sergeant M.J.P. Lavoie, lost control and veered his aircraft into a parked Halifax which was fully loaded with fuel and bombs. The George Cross citation explains the incident in detail:

Ross's George Cross citation reads:

St. James's Palace, S.W.1, 27th October, 1944.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards of the GEORGE CROSS, the George Medal and the British Empire Medal (Military Division) to the undermentioned:

Awarded The GEORGE CROSS.

Air Commodore Arthur Dwight Ross, O.B.E., Royal Canadian Air Force.

Awarded the George Medal.

Can/R.96959 Flight Sergeant Joseph Rene Marcel St. Germain, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Can/R.87217 Corporal Maurice Marquet, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Awarded the British Empire (Military Division).

Can /R.273581 Leading Aircraftman Melvin Muir McKenzie, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Can/R.188008 Leading Aircraftman Robert Rubin Wolfe, Royal Canadian Air Force.

One night in June, 1944, an aircraft, while attempting to land, crashed into another which was parked in the dispersal area and fully loaded with bombs. The former aircraft had broken into 3 parts and was burning furiously. Air Commodore Ross was at the airfield to attend the return of aircraft from operations and the interrogation of aircrews. Flight Sergeant St. Germain a bomb aimer, had just returned from an operational sortie and Corporal Marquet was in charge of the night ground crew, whilst leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe were members of the crew of the crash tender. Air Commodore Ross with the assistance of Corporal Marquet, extricated the pilot who had sustained severe injuries. At that moment ten 500 Ib. bombs in the second aircraft, about 80 yards away, exploded, and this officer and airman were hurled to the ground. When the hail of debris had subsided, cries were heard from the rear turret of the crashed aircraft. Despite further explosions from bombs and petrol tanks which might have occurred, Air Commodore Ross and Corporal Marquet returned to the blazing wreckage and endeavoured in vain to swing the turret to release the rear gunner. Although the port tail plane was blazing furiously, Air Commodore Ross hacked at the perspex with an axe and then handed the axe through the turret to the rear gunner who enlarged the aperture. Taking the axe again the air commodore, assisted now by Flight Sergeant St. Germain as well as by Corporal Marquet, finally broke the perspex steel frame supports and extricated the rear gunner. Another 500 lb. bomb exploded which threw the 3 rescuers to the ground. Flight Sergeant St. Germain quickly rose and threw himself upon a victim in order to shield him from flying debris.

Air Commodore Ross's arm was practically severed between the wrist and elbow by the second explosion. He calmly walked to the ambulance and an emergency amputation was performed on arrival at station sick quarters. Meanwhile, Corporal Marquet had inspected the surroundings, and seeing petrol running down towards two nearby aircraft, directed their removal from the vicinity by tractor. Leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe rendered valuable assistance in trying to bring the fire under control and they also helped to extricate the trapped rear gunner both being seriously injured by flying debris. Air Commodore Ross showed fine leadership and great heroism in an action which resulted in the saving of the lives of the pilot and rear gunner. He was ably assisted by Flight Sergeant St. Germain and Corporal Marquet who both displayed courage of a high order. Valuable service was also rendered by Leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe in circumstances of great danger. (Wikipedia)

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. 4MST, RCAF (Serial KN291), coded AO-B, No. 412 'Falcon' (T) Squadron based at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, c1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586654)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF, port engine change, Norman Wells, July 1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574076)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF, port engine change, Norman Wells, July 1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586444)

Propeller being installed on a Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 511), (Serial No. KN277), No. 414 (Photographic) Squadron, based at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, June 1950. The aircraft including the one in the background are from No. 414 (Photographic) Squadron based at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario. The squadron used the Dakota Mk. IIIP and Mk. IVP between April 1947 and October 1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584477)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. 4FP (possibly Serial No. KN278), coded AQ-A, No. 414 (P) Squadron, and Consolidated Canso Mk. 2F, No. 413 'Tusker' (P) Squadron, with a North American Harvard in the background.  Both squadrons were based at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, as part of No. 22 Photographic Wing. The photo was taken no later than October, 1950. No. 414 (P) Squadron was disbanded on 1 November, 1950. Can't quite make out the markings on the Harvard. (Chris Charland)

(DND Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota line-up, 23 Jan 1953.  Air Transport Command.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643749)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, (Serial No. KP221), No. 414 Squadron, June 1950, RCAF.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF Training Command.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  3584789)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, RCAF Air Transport Command, coded AQ-F, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 26 May 1953.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584772)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, coded AO--, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (Monty) being greeted by Vice Admiral ER Mainguy on his arrival in Ottawa, Ontario, 20 Apr 1953.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. KG634), No. 435 Squadron, being warmed up as hot air is pumped in under the engine and wheel well covers. It is also wearing wing covers. A lot of work goes into getting a cold soaked aircraft into the air when a warm hangar is not available. The King's crown on the squadron crest indicates the photo was taken before 1952.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota on skis,  No. 435 Squadron, based at RCAF Station Namao, Alberta, being pushed into a hangar.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. KN258), 424 "Tiger" Communications and Rescue Squadron, RCAF Station Trenton. This aircraft later became known as "Miss Piggy".  Ex-USAAF C-47B-20-DK (Serial No. 43-49926), ex RAF (Serial No. KN258).  Delivered to USAAF on 19 January 1945, transferred to the RAF on 23 January 1945.  Struck off RAF books on 22 April 1946, probably to the RCAF Overseas, TOS 20 July 1946.  Participated in Operation Sundog III (airborne assault on Fort Chimo, PQ, from Goose Bay), February 1952, while serving with C & R Flight, RCAF Station Edmonton, Alberta.  Dropped jumpers in 1968 Para Rescue Competition at CFB Trenton, Ontario.  With No.424 (T&R) Squadron at CFB Trenton, Ontario in 1970.  Located downed Cessna near Bagotville, PQ in June of that year.  Still with this unit when renumbered as 12907 on 3 June 1970.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No.), over RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586463)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. KN261) (Serial No. 12908), coded AO-?, Fort St. John, northeastern British Columbia, June 1950.

(DND Photo via Bob Pionteck)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12938),  "Dolly's Folly" with super-charged engines on the left, and (Serial No. 12959), "Pinocchio" on the right, over CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.  These are two of the three aircraft that were equipped with the CF-104 nose and radar.  The third aircraft, RAF (Serial No. KN278), RCAF (Serial No. 27214), was known as "Woody Woodpecker".

(DND Photo via Tony Edmundson)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12938),  "Dolly's Folly" with super-charged engines on the left, and (Serial No. 12959), "Pinocchio" on the right, CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.  

(SDASM Photo)

Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (Serial No. 12822), with Canadair CL-41R Tutor, CF-LTX-X.

Proposed radar trainer for the CF-104.  It was less expensive to operate than the few dual seat CF-104s available.  Modified DC-3s with CF-104 radar installed ended up taking on that role instead.  The Dakotast were named Dolly's Folly, Pinocchio, and Woody Woodpecker.  Woody crashed in Pierce Lake Saskatchewan with all crew lost.  The Dakota could stay in the air for hours and train multiple pilots on the CF-104 radar.  The only downside was flight speed, which obviously didn't match the jets. I believe Germany and possibly other NATO allies flying the F-104 also had modified DC-3s for that purpose.  (Mike Siemens)

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota "Pinocchio", KN979, (Serial No. 12959), C/N 15196/26641 was flown, along with "Dolly's Folly" and "Woody Woodpecker" to train CF-104 pilots in the intricacies of NASAAR radar. Each had a large ground-power unit installed in the rear fuselage, the nose radar from the 104, and training consoles for the students. "Woody Woodpecker" was written off in 1963 on the Primrose Lake range.

(Craig Lowe Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota "Pinocchio" (Serial No. 12959), C/N 15196/26641, now mounted on a pylon.

(DND Photo via James Craik)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. KN676).

(Author Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12950), from No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, supporting the Canadian Forces Parachute Team, the Sky Hawks, ca. 1977.  (We knew her as "Myrtle, the Aluminum Turtle").

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. 1000), coded VC, No. 412 Squadron.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. 1000), No. 412 Squadron, RCAF Air Transport Command.

(DND Archives Photo, PC-832)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. 1000), No. 412 Squadron, RCAF Air Transport Command.

(DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, CAF (Serial No. 12950), 16 Hangar, Winnipeg ca 1970s.

(DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12939), "Southern Comfort", No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron.  

The last nine serving CC-129 Dakotas in Canadian military service with No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron were nicknamed:

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12937), "Southern Comfort".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12938), "Dolly's Folly" (also "Electric Dak").
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12944), "1/4 Time".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12950), "Gimli Goose".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12957), "Millenium Falcon".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12959), "Pinocchio".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12907), "Miss Piggy".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12933), "Old Faithful".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12963), "Manitoba Flyer".

(DND Archives Photo, WGT85-613-12)

Douglas CC-129 Dakotas on the tarmac at Winnipeg, including Pinocchio from Cold Lake, in 1985.

(DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

DouglasCC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12968).

(US National Archives Photo via Graham Caroll)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12963), "Manitoba Flyer".  Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Don Sutherland, Photographer, 14 May 1990.

(DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Douglas CC-129 Dakotas from No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron that went on a road trip across Canada in 1989 to help celebrate the retirement of the type from Canadian military service.  Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12963) was nicknamed "Manitoba Flyer", and painted in the colours of the Second World War "'Canucks Unlimited", (Serial No. FZ658/P).  Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12944) nicknamed "¼ Time" was painted in the colours of the Second World War (Serial No. FZ671), coded Z2-B, including D-Day stripes.

(DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12963) was nicknamed "Manitoba Flyer", and painted in the colours of the Second World War "'Canucks Unlimited", (Serial No. FZ658/P).  

(The A-Team Photos)

Douglas Dakota Mk. III(Serial No. ), FZ671, C/N 12256, later  (Serial No. 12944), in the markings of No. 437 Squadron, RCAF, coded Z-2B, painted as a Second World War camouflaged transport.

FZ671 was delivered to the No. 48 Squadron, RAF on 4 Feb 1944.  This Dakota made at least two flights into Arnhem for Operation Market Garden.  The first one was on 17 Jul 1944.   The Pilot Officer on the first lift was Flight Lieutenant A.C. Blythe, RCAF, who went on to win a DFC.  It also went in on the third lift on 19 Sep 1944, with Pilot Officer A.M. Smith.
It joined No. 437 Squadron, RCAF in Sep 1945 and also served with Nos. 426, 429, 435, and 437 Squadrons, No. 25 Ambulance, and No. 1 Air Navigation School through the years as FZ671.  Its Serial Number changed to 12944 with the Canadian Armed Forces in June 1970.  It was transferred to No. 429 Squadron at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in March 1975, and then to No. 429 Communications Squadron in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from 1979 to 1980.  12944 was struck off strength with the RCAF on 14 Apr 1989.  It now resides in the Heritage Air Park as Dakota EZ761.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583788)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. I, (Serial No. 663), 25 July 1945. Note maple leaf decal.

The roundel on the nose appears to be one of the officially produced 8" decals that displayed the RCAF “distinguishing emblem”. These were initially intended for use on operational aircraft overseas, but then their use was expanded to the operational aircraft on the Home War Establishment. (The photo in this post is from a photo of an actual decal that is held in the John Griffin collection at Winnipeg). (Steve Sauvé)

(IWM Photo, CE 145)

Operation MARKET III: air re-supply of British airborne forces in the Arnhem area, 19 September 1944. Burnt-out Douglas Dakota Mk. III (Serial No. KG401), of No. 48 Squadron, RAF, based at Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, which crash-landed in a field near Kessel, Holland, after parachuting supplies over Arnhem.  The aircraft had just dropped its supplies from 700 feet when it was met with intense anti-aircraft fire.  The tail unit, rudder, port aileron and engine, the starboard auxiliary fuel tank and all the gyro instruments were either damaged or put out of action, and one of the Army despatchers was mortally wounded. The captain, Flying Officer L.R. Pattee, RCAF, and his co-pilot, Flying Officer A.C. Kent, RAF, flew the crippled aircraft back to the British lines, through three more areas of enemy flak, where they sustained further serious damage, including a five foot hole in the starboard wing which caught fire, and complete electrical and communications failure.  Once over the British lines, Pattee gave the crew and despatchers the opportunity to bale out, but they refused and the pilots then made a successful belly-landing in the field.  No sooner had they all quit the Dakota, than it was engulfed by flames.  The unfortunate despatcher died soon after the landing, while the others were taken to Brussels and the crew returned to Down Ampney.  Sixteen aircraft of No. 48 Squadron participated in MARKET III, flying through intense flak with no fighter escort.  Many aircraft were hit and two, (KG401 and KG428), failed to return.  Over the following four days the Squadron lost another six Dakotas on re-supply missions to Arnhem.

In the post-war period Dakotas served with No. 123 Rescue Unit/121 Composite Unit at Sea Island, BC and Comox, BC. They also served with No. 442 (Transport & Rescue) Squadron out of Comox, BC.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584324)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IIIR (Serial No. KG320), coded DG-F, 19 Dec 1949.

Work commenced in February, 1948 to convert the aircraft to a Dakota Mk. IIIR radio trainer by Northwest Industries Limited in Edmonton, Alberta. No. 2 Radar and Communications School Flight was based at RCAF Station Centralia where it supported the Air Radio Officers School housed at R.C.A.F. Station Clinton as that station did not have an airfield. There were six Dakotas basted at RCAF Station Centralia (1954 -1957). These aircraft were apparently equipped with the British H2S radar. (Chris Charland)

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