A C-47 called “That’s All, Brother,” that was discovered and currently being restored at Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wis. The plane carried the first paratroopers who stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II. The group, Commemorative Air Force, started a campaign to restore the relic with hopes to fly the aircraft over Normandy in 2019 for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Plane that led Normandy invasion discovered, restored

  • Dec. 15, 2017 2:30 p.m.

OSHKOSH, Wis. — A plane that led the invasion of Normandy during World War II has been saved from a junkyard and is being carefully restored in Wisconsin.

The C-47, called “That’s All, Brother,” carried the first paratroopers who were dropped behind German lines at Normandy. The aircraft led the more than 800 other C-47s also carrying paratroopers.

The plane was lost for 70 years and was accidentally discovered by an Air Force historian at the Basler Turbo Conversions junkyard in Oshkosh in 2015, WLUK-TV reported . The historian was researching Col. John Donalson, the man who flew the plane on D-Day.

“The airplane is much more than an aircraft. It’s a time machine,” said Keegan Chetwynd, the curator for the Commemorative Air Force, a non-profit that works to preserve aircraft.

The group started a campaign to restore the aircraft, raising about $380,000 in 30 days, Chetwynd said. Employees at Basler have spent more than 22,000 hours restoring “That’s All, Brother” to former glory.

“(It) provides that tangible connection for the next generation of people so that they know, when they read it in a history book, that it was real,” Chetwynd said.

Workers tested out “That’s All, Brother’s” engines for the first time in a decade on Thursday. Despite a hydraulic leak, the test was a major achievement, Chetwynd said. Crews will test the engines again today.

Their hope is to fly the aircraft over Normandy in 2019 for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

“That’s kind of why the rush is on and why we’re doing all of this in the dead of winter in Wisconsin,” Chetwynd said.

The aircraft is expected to conduct a European tour in 2019 and then will likely return to the U.S. to resume regular operations.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

107 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, 5 additional deaths

More than 1,000 cases in Alberta total

Red Deer trucker ‘nervous’ on front lines of COVID-19 fight

Patrick O’Connor is just looking for some help for the common man.… Continue reading

Gardening for food during COVID-19

“Gardening is easy, and there’s always Google”

WATCH: Update from Prime Minister Trudeau

April 3 briefing from Ottawa

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Former Obama security adviser calls on Canada to show global COVID-19 leadership

Former Obama security adviser calls on Canada to show global COVID-19 leadership

Campaigning in a time of crisis: Tory leadership candidates carry on

Campaigning in a time of crisis: Tory leadership candidates carry on

‘Thirsty, hungry, injured:’ Two women sentenced for abuse of girls in basement

‘Thirsty, hungry, injured:’ Two women sentenced for abuse of girls in basement

Alberta environmentalists oppose possible crane, swan hunting season

Alberta environmentalists oppose possible crane, swan hunting season

‘Always new expenses:’ Lawsuits filed as anniversary of Broncos bus crash nears

‘Always new expenses:’ Lawsuits filed as anniversary of Broncos bus crash nears

Pandemic forcing NBA players to work out with what’s on hand

Pandemic forcing NBA players to work out with what’s on hand

Most Read