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By Harm J Klomp
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About

                                              FZ 647

This is a story about a part of Operation Market Garden – and an aircraft that flew on the second day of the Airdrop – and the men that flew in her. FZ 647 is one of two remaining aircraft that flew over Arnhem.

She is currently standing in Cape Town - as a static display - and has to be removed as the park is closing it's doors - we would wish to avoid it being scrapped .

The intention is to re-locate the aircraft as a Static Display on the grounds of the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek Netherlands …..Open to the public. This way, future generations will be able to see the story of this aircraft as an important part of the history of the Battle of Arnhem

In Cape Town
In Cape Town

                                                    FZ 647  

as she was in 1944
as she was in 1944

 As a homage to those that flew in her in 1944 – and to those that paid the highest possible price for a freedom that we should never take for granted – we feel that this aircraft should be visible to the public.

Just like veterans from the Battle of Arnhem, who still are buried with their comrades at the Airborne cemetery in Oosterbeek, The Dakota should find its final resting place in Oosterbeek.

                                         --------------------------

Operation Market Garden (17–25 September 1944) was an Allied Military operation, fought in the Netherlands. The operation was split into two sub-operations:

  • Market – the airborne forces, the First Allied Airborne Army which would seize bridges

  • Garden – the ground forces, consisting of the British XXX Corps

over 34,600 men of the 101st, 82nd and 1st Airborne Divisions and the Polish Brigade. 14,589 troops were landed by Gliders 20,011 by parachute. Gliders also brought in 1,736 vehicles and 263 artillery pieces. 3,342 tons of ammunition and other supplies were brought by glider and parachute drop.

The combined force had 1,438 C47 Dakota transports (1,274 USAAF and 164 RAF) and 321 converted RAF bombers. The Allied glider force had been rebuilt after Normandy until by 16 September it numbered 2,160 CG-4A Waco gliders, 916 Airspeed Horsa’s ( 812 RAF and 104 US Army) and 64 GA Hamicars. The U.S. had only 2,060 glider pilots available, so that none of its gliders would have a co-pilot but would instead carry an extra passenger.

  • Because the C-47s served as paratrooper transports and glider tugs and because IX Troop Carrier Command would provide all the transports for both British parachute brigades, this massive force could deliver only 60 percent of the ground forces in one lift. This limit was the reason for the decision to split the troop-lift schedule into successive days. Ninety percent of the USAAF transports on the first day would drop parachute troops, with the same proportion towing gliders on the second day.

                 

Missions

This aircraft was built in December 1943 as a Douglas C-47A-DK in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as serial number 12205 for the United States Air Force (later the United States Army Air Force) who in turn issued it the military serial number 42-92408. This serial was left unused and the aircraft was transferred to the Royal Air Force under the lend-lease programme as FZ647 "H" (The "H" was the radio call sign).

On being impressed into the Royal Air Force, the aircraft was known as a "Dakota Mark 3". On June 5th and 6th, 1944 she is confirmed as havingbeen a glider tug with no 512 squadron RAF and was used in "Operation 'Coup de Main' / Operation Tonga",  the first stage of the Airborne assault in the Normandy landings in June 1944. In between the main airborne operations of D-Day, Arnhem and the Rhine crossing, it carried out casualty evacuation and general transport duties.

Market Garden

During Market Garden the FZ647 ‘H’ flew on 18 September from Broadwell Airport in the UK to Arnhem. Pilot H. Chatfield left with 512 Squadron at 11.15 and returned safely at 15.30. 

Wing Commander B.A Coverty

Flown by - Flying Officer Hatfield.

Take off - 11.15 Zulu / Landing – 15.30 Zulu

This was the only mission she flew over Arnhem during Market Garden.

Following the end of hostilities it flew missions to the Middle East before moving to Egypt in early October 1945.  A further move that month took it to Italy, from where it flew various routes including Greece, Egypt, Romania, Austria, the UK and also within Italy.  In February 1946, it returned to the UK. After the military service she was demilitarized.

After demilitarisation - she was sold to THY ( Türk Hava Yollari ) Turkish Airlines as TC-EKE on the 25th of July 1946.  It served THY faithfully for 12 years.

She was sold in 1958 to Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She served Ethiopian Airlines for no less than thirty three years, in both war and peace. During 1969 she was leased to the Ethiopia-United States Mapping Mission to be used in the aerial photography of Ethiopia and Djibouti, based at Lidetta Airfield in Ethiopia. As one of the longest serving of Ethiopian Airlines DC-3's

In Etheopian livery
In Etheopian livery

(DC-3 is the civilian version of the military nomenclature, C-47) 

The aircraft was eventually sold in April 1991 to Swaziland based, Mozambican Airline, Scan Transportes Aéreos as C9-STF.  It carried food throughout Mozambique during the devastating civil war, mostly under command of the late Captain Oscar Hermansson.

Mozambique
Mozambique

In mid 1996 she was removed from service, stripped of useful components (to be re-used on other Dakotas) at Rand Airport, Germiston, and later transported by road to Cape Town for static display. 

There she resides today as a Static Display at Ratanga Junction in Cape Town South Africa.The aircraft will be removed from it’s current location – as the Theme Park is closing its doors in 2018.

Goal:

This initiated the project that is now being funded as we wish to bring her back to the Operational Theatre of Market Garden as she is one of two remaining aircraft in the world that flew in Market Garden.

The intention is to re-locate the aircraft as a Static Display on the grounds of the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek Netherlands ….. This way, future generations will be able to see the story of this aircraft as an important part of the history of the Battle of Arnhem.

The airplane will be located on historic grounds. The Airborne Museum was founded in 1949. It was initially in one of the annexes of Doorwerth Castle, but was moved to the former British headquarters in 1978. On 11 May of that year, the museum was officially reopened by the former commander, Major-General Roy E. Urquhart.

Airborne museum
Airborne museum

The renewed Airborne Museum is a unique experience. The beautifully renovated and modernized building houses the world’s largest collection of Operation Market Garden memorabilia. The war is brought very close to home in the Netherlands’ only battlefield museum.The monumental nineteenth-century villa – the headquarters of the British Airborne Division in September 1944 – holds 1,700 square metres of history and experience. The underground Airborne Experience (900 m2), will transport you into the very midst of the battle. If there is one thing the Airborne Museum wants to demonstrate, it is that freedom should never be taken for granted and that freedom is experienced together. It shows that reconciliation is possible.There is also much to see in the museum’s immediate surroundings, such as the Airborne War Cemetery and the memorial column on which freedom is represented by a man surrounded by civilians and soldiers. There is also a bronze statue sculpted by Jits Bakker, who was only a boy at the time of the battle. This statue (‘The Guardian’), which is set in the park near the Airborne Museum, is of an angel that accompanies Man to heaven, giving hope and offering protection with its wings. 

As a homage to those that flew in her in 1944 – and to those that paid the highest possible price for a freedom that we should never take for granted – we feel that this aircraft should be visible to the public.

Just like veterans from the Battle of Arnhem, who still are buried with their comrades at the Airborne cemetery in Oosterbeek, The Dakota should find its final resting place in Oosterbeek.

Risks and challenges

The risks are underfunding - the current funding requirements will cover the cost - but we will remain dependent on public donations via the Museum.

The majority of the funding will go to transport from Cape Town to the Netherlands. The aircraft will be taken apart into 3 major hull components and a separate crate for the engines and propellers.

Intention is to have the aircraft dismantled where she stands - and take the components to a spray paint facility - repair some damage and spray her in the WW2 colours - from where she will be shipped.

The time factor is a challenge - we would like the aircraft - on public display at the Museum - in September 2018 - with the commemoration of the event at the Museum.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €25 or more About $30

    Entry ticket Museum

    You will receive a digital entry ticket / transferable with a unique nr.

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    Pledge €50 or more About $59

    Book 'It was like this' Dutch/English

    The first 400 contributors of 50 euro or more, will receive the book:
    It was like this
    A short factual account of the Battle of Arnhem and Oosterbeek
    By Brigadier
    C.B. Mackenzie, DSO, OBE

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    Pledge €2,500 or more About $2,952

    Free use of conference space

    The first 10 contributors of 2500 Euro or more - will be allowed to use a museum conference room (max 20 participants) for one day.

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    Pledge €2,500 or more About $2,952

    Hand Cast model C 47

    The first 10 contributors of 2.500 Euro or more will receive a desk model of a C 47 aircraft (this as an alternitive for the free use of conference space as this might not be convenient for international contributors).

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    Pledge €7,500 or more About $8,856

    Name engraved on plaque

    The first 10 sponsors of 7500 Euro or more will have their name (or company name) engraved on a plaque- placed on the structure on which the aircraft is displayed at the Airborne Museum Oosterbeek.

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Funding period

- (30 days)