C-47A (c/n 19345) Drag 'em Oot

N5831B at Avra Valley,AZ Sep.2002 (c) R.Pettersen

Ralph Pettersen took this photograph at Avra Valley,AZ on 28Sep02, before it was stripped of its paint; published with permission.

James Richard Covington, Jr (c) sent me this photo of N5831B, now stripped of its paint, taken on 17Oct03 at Avra Valley. Published with permission.

 

John Johnson, previous owner of N5831B, sent me this on 01Jul2013:
DC-3 N5831B

John wrote me this: "My name is John Johnson and I am the former owner of the C-47 N5831B, when it was located in Tucson, AZ.
My wife Susie and I purchased it from Reggie Hopwood in West Memphis,AR and flew it to Arizona.
Susie and I purchased N5831B because we realized how important it was to save this real battle tested warbird!  

I started the restoration of the airplane by locating and adding the astrodome, replaced the damaged vertical stabilizer, replacing all the plexiglass in the rear cargo area, stripping the 'civilian' paint job, replacing 90% of all the external screws, nuts and bolts...
We also replaced the interior flooring and cleaned the interior belly area, which was a huge job and consumed over 100 gallons of water and degreaser! 
John Johnson and his wife Susie with their DC-3 N5831B

It amazes me that people who took pictures of the airplane, while on the ramp in Marana (AZ) but did not bother to find out who owned it and was doing all the work to restore N5831B.
I would appreciate it if you could please amend your website, to fill in the missing information, as we worked very hard to restore this airplane and save it for future generations.

I had lots of offers from dubious persons, mostly from Mexico and South America, and was very happy when Mr. Paddy Green sent some engineers over to look and purchase the airplane."

Thank you John for taking such good care of 'Drag-Em Oot'!

 


N5831B was sold to a British owner and was registered on 30Jun04 to Dakota Heritage (Incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware) and left Arizona almost a year later. Departure from Arizona was on Tuesday 24May05, flying the Northern route via Great Falls,MT - Saskatoon (YXE) - Churchill,Manitoba - Iqaluit,Baffin Island - Sonderstrom,Greenland - Reykjavik, Iceland - Wick,Scotland and arriving at Liverpool,UK on Wednesday 01Jun05. Approximately 34 flying hours.
Dennis Fisher was fortunate to meet the C-47, the owner and his crew, at Saskatoon, Canada. He listened to the stories which were told and researched it further. One of the fascinating historic details is the fact that the fuselage still bears the markings of many bullet holes!
Dennis sent me these photos which are self-explanatory:

N5831B at Saskatoon (c) Dennis Fisher

Paddy Green in front of N5831B  Marking the bullet holes!
This Douglas C-47 was delivered to the USAAF on December 28th, 1943. as 42-100882
but transferred to the RAF as TS422 in Sep.1943.

C-47 'Drag 'em oot' 42-100882 is a true veteran of WWII. Assigned to the 87th Troop Carrier Squadron, 438th Troop Carrier Group, it was based at Greenham Common airfield. On the night of D-Day, 'Drag 'em oot' was to drop paratroopers from the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne to drop zone A where it was aircraft No 2 in Serial 7. Serials 1 to 6 had dropped Pathfinder teams earlier in the night to guide the main body of aircraft to the correct drop zones.

She was also fitted with Model 80 Glider pickup equipment to retrieve assault gliders from the Normandy fields so that they could be re-used for further ops. The specialised pick-up was in great demand especially for the RAF and an agreement was made between the RAF and the USAAF for a straight swap of aircraft and from the 2nd of September 1944 she was in RAF hands. For the rest of the war she participated in Operation Market Garden and Operation Varsity (the largest single airborne operation of WWII where gaining a foothold across the river Rhine was the objective). It is most likely that during these operations, she received the battle damage from flak and ground fire which is still visible inside the aircraft today.

A bullet hole! (c) Dennis Fisher   bullet

Dennis also sent me the fruits of his research:
"When the owner, Mr Green, researched the history of the C-47, he found out it was piloted by a Bill Allin who got his wings in 1943.
During World War II Allin was stationed in Greenham Common, England. He brought the wounded back to England, and delivered 5 gallon cans of gas to France for Patton's tanks. One time Patton thanked him with a case of Champagne & Gognac. The C-47 was a glider tower and had a large reel of cable. The cable would catch the gliders and pull them into the air. Allin named the plane after the job it performed : 'Drag 'em oot" He also named an engine after his back home girlfriend "Irene".

Bill Allin, in his 20's, participated in the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Dragoon and Operation Varsity. Of particular interest to you he delivered food to starving civilians in Holland! Allan flew one of the first planes over Normandy on D-Day.
Now in 2003 Allin's son Gary was doing some internet research and found a fellow who was looking into the C-47 and found out about N5831B. On May 24, a few weeks ago, Green flew the plane to Great Falls, Montana to meet up with Allin. Allin lives in Olympia,WA and he and his son flew to Great Falls to see his old plane. Green took him up and let him fly the plane. That must have been great!"
Dennis sent me the following newspaper clipping (in Acrobat Reader format) page 1 + page 2 + page 3, read all about Bill Allin's career and reunion with 42-100882.

The owner also chipped in with some information:
When I decided that if I was going to be mad enough to buy and operate a Dakota, I wanted one with a good war record. N5831B served with the lead squadron on D-Day and flew 2 missions that day, plus re-supply. Then Market Garden in September (although I need more info on this) and then it transferred to the RAF and went to Burma with 435 Squadron fighting the Japanese until August 1945.
She has about 30 large calibre bullet holes in the fuselage and wing centre section (and also alarmingly, the pilots seat!!), but whether they are German or Japanese, I don`t know.
Future plans? There will be a repaint and on to the airshow circuit and some corporate use for my company here in the UK.
Ultimate plan is to install about 12/16 seats and divide the cabin by installing a bulkhead, into a WW2 paratroop transport at the rear of the plane and a DC3 airliner at the front. 2 planes in one!
She will remain on the US register and I`ve reserved the number N747PG.
However, at a later date he changed his mind and decided the following on the tailnumber:
"I decided to drop N747PG as an option and decided on N473DC.
The new licence number acknowledges that the aircraft was built as a C-47, became a 3 and was a Douglas Commercial (DC)..."

Patrick revealed more details after he researched the history of his "Dakota":
"On 02Sep1944 (not 1943) she transferred to the RAF as TS422, a Dakota Mk 3, was assigned to No.1 Heavy Glider Servicing Unit, attached to No.38 Group RAF at Netheravon, Wiltshire. Interestingly, she was joined there by TS423, now better known as the Aces High Dakota (ex G-DAKS).
The RAF wanted to have a specialist glider recovery unit and she commenced recovering Horsa assault gliders from the Normandy beachhead as soon as she joined the RAF. Records indicate that the unit (6 Dakotas) recovered about 40 gliders prior to Operation Market Garden when they were re-used.
Almost certainly, the majority of the enemy damage on TS422 was inflicted at Arnhem and I am currently researching the group operational records at the National Archives to find out more.
The impact of the bullets on the nose of the aircraft was from above, indicating German fighter attack and the pilot of this Dakota would almost certainly have been severely wounded - or worse - by the attack. There are about 10 to 12 bullet holes around the cockpit area. Those on the photographs above are mostly of a larger calibre, indicating ground based anti-aircraft fire.
She remained in the UK and did not go to Burma as originally assumed, only joining 435 RCAF Squadron when this unit returned from Burma/India in August 1945. She did then return to Canada with the squadron and I have details of her later career with the RCAF until 1966."
Steven Martin sent me this in July 2007:
"I was excited to see your web site detailing the restoration of N5831B. I was a pilot on that airplane for about 5 years with McNeely Charter Service.
I have many hours sitting in the Co-pilot and Captain seats staring at those bullet holes while delivering baby chickens and auto parts all over the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
I knew the airplane was a historic one and am glad to see it ended up in good hands. I have many stories of engine failures, flight through thunderstorms, and crosswind landings that took place in that airframe.
One particular instance occurred when I was a new first officer almost ended in a fatal crash of N5831B back in the mid-1990's...
On take off from the West Memphis airport we experienced an engine failure of the right engine just after lift off. The Captain called for gear up, so I retracted the landing gear. The Captain then secured the engine by shutting off the mixture, and then pressing the feathering pump for the right engine. We thought at this point a single engine return to the airport would be simple. This was not the case!!!
The Captain was trying his best to keep the crippled airplane in the air, but it looked like he was going to have to put her down in a farm field, which in itself would have not been fatal, but coming up quickly was a large levy that extended the length of the field. We were heading straight for it... It would have been like hitting a brick wall at 80 miles an hour.
The Captain began yelling "we have drag, we have drag, Is the gear up?". I replied Yes, the handle is up!. He then asked, "Is the propeller feathered?". I looked out the window to see the propeller windmilling. I said, "NO, it is spinning !". He said, "feather the &*#@ thing!!". I reached up and held the feathering pump while looking out of the window until the prop stopped spinning and immediately the aircraft began climbing. We cleared the levy by feet and the captain nursed the wounded ship back to the airport.
After landing we discovered that there was no fuel in the right fuel tanks. I only checked the left tanks on pre-flight and we had 150 gallons of fuel, which was more than enough for the short 20 minute test flight we had planned.
I learned some valuable lessons that day. I always knew how much fuel was on board and where it was located from that day forward. I also learned that those solenoids on the feathering pump switches wear out.
I hope Mr. Green is successful with her on the airshow circuit."

Crew, 10May1944 The crew of C-47A 42-100882 "Drag-em-Oot", May 10th, 1944. Lt. Bill Allin Jr. is on the far left.

Click on the photo for a larger image.

Here is more on it's arrival in the UK: "Wartime Veteran touches down at New Home"
The plane found a new home at Liverpool,UK with Martin Keen's Keenair, which has provided apron parking space for her; Mark Edwards, of Edwards Worldwide Aviation, will maintain N5831B (N747PG has been reserved as a new tailnumber).
Andrew Marks saw N5831B at Liverpool on 01Jul05 and uploaded it to Airliners.net.

Gary Allin wrote: "I am the son of the American pilot, 1st. Lt. Orlando Bill Allin, who originally flew this plane during the D-Day campaign in Normandy. We were able to meet up with the new owner Mr. Paddy Green in Great Falls, Montana for a reunion while it was on the way back to England.
My father had a wonderful time seeing his old plane again and sharing his portion of its history with Mr. Green and the "new crew" who took it to its "old turf". My Dad has told me that he called the plane the "Drag em Oot" from an expression his maternal grandmother used to say. She was from the Winnipeg and Sault St. Marie areas of Canada before moving to the United States.
BTW, the girlfriend that my Dad named one of his engines after (Irene) married him after the war. The war ended while he was in Missouri and they married shortly thereafter. The airplane that Dad and I flew to the reunion in Great Falls is named Bill and Irenes Flying Machine."

John Stewart wrote me in Jan.2007:
"Thanks for the wonderful photos/news of this plane. I was a mechanic at McNeelys and I have worked on that ol' gal a lot.
I have always remembered when my son and I got the chance to ride together.
I still keep a photo of her on my desk where I work now. I also worked alot on N24320 which went to a museum. Guess I will have to "cross the creek" to see the beaver ( this was our nick name or her)...
John
Marie Warwick, ops manager of Cambrai Covers, sent me this in Mar.2006:
"I came across your website whilst doing some research on Paddy Green's Dakota N5831B. We were actually commissioned to make covers for the DC3 a couple of months ago. I have attached a couple of photos for you, they were made by Michael Whitley."
Click here   Click here
Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

 

DC-3 N5831B
Patrick Nagle sent me this photo in july 2012, he wrote: "Noticed your very detailed page on this wonderful DC-3. Attached is a photo I took of N5831B at CYFB, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada in May of 2005.
I guess this was on the ferry flight over to England."

 

(c) Roger Syratt

 

Roger Syratt visited North Weald airport in the UK on 15Apr06, to witness the progress on N5831B.
As one can see: people are hard at work here!

 

(c)Roger Syratt The cabin looks like a mess (somewhat resembles my study at times!) but I don't see any structural work in progress, so that would not complicate a participation to the DC-3 Fly In at Lelystad 27 & 28 May 2006...
(c)Roger Syratt Another look on the maintenance, which I am certain is only a part of its restoration which should guarantee years of solid performance on the air show circuit here in Europe (an initiative by Paddy Green much to be admired!)
Have a look at the identity plates Roger photographed:

(c) Roger Syratt | (c) Roger Syratt | (c) Roger Syratt

More historical information of this DC-3, after the war, can be found on my webpage the Deep South (2001)

Thanks to Patrick Green, Dennis Fisher, Ralph Pettersen, Gary Allin and James Richard Covington,Jr


Paul Pennycook made me aware of the makeover N5831B was getting at RAF Church Fenton; he and Gary Le Blond sent me photos of this transition, made during May 2006.
"Drag-em-Oot" has now been reregistered N473DC.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

(c)Gary Le blond (c) Gary Le blond(c)Gary Le Blond

(c) Paul Pennycook (c) Paul Pennycook (c) Paul Pennycook (c) Paul Pennycook
(c) Paul Pennycook (c) Paul Pennycook

(c) Gary Le Blond(c) Gary Le Blond(c) Gary Le Blond(c) Gary Le Blond
(c) Gary Le Blond (c) Gary Le Blond

And this is how it looked like, almost fully decorated, at the DC-3 Fly In at Lelystad 27 & 28 May 2006.
N473DC
Check out my report on the 2006 DC-3 Fly In at the Aviodrome for many more photos of "Drag-em-Oot"

N473DC in take off Ken Byrnes forwarded me these photos taken by (c) Donal Leahy in Nov.2006, depicting Douglas C-47A N473DC (c/n 19345) at Waterford,Ireland.

Photos: (c) Donal Leahy.

Magnificent fly by

Finding a place to park... Ken wrote: "This DC3 came into Waterford for a few hours on Saturday Nov. 11th; Paddy was saying she will now be hangared in Scotland until next spring."

Patrick "Paddy" Green kindly provided the names of the crew-
John Dodd, pilot; Peter Kuypers, co-pilot and Mark Edwards, engineer (of Edwards Worldwide Aviation).

More about Paddy Green's C-47A can be read on N5831B's History and it was present on the DC-3 2006 Fly In at the Aviodrome in the Netherlands.

Drag-em-oot
Douglas C-47A N473DC, better known as "Drag-em-Oot", is seen in splendid form dropping paratroopers over the Ginkelse Heath ('Ginkelse Heide') in the Netherlands, in memory of 'Operation Market Garden' during WW2.
N147DC Annual ceremonies during september look back to those fateful days. On 20Sep08 approximately 300 paratroopers (4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, 11th Luchtmobiele Brigade, a reannecment group The Pathfinders) jumped from various aircraft such as Lockheed Hercules and owner Paddy Green put 'Drag em Oot' to the disposal of the organisers.
More photos at Photos by Friends & Guests (15)

These photos were made by Ben Ullings, from a B-25 Mitchell bomber. Ben specialises in air-to-air photography and more of his works can be seen at www.aviationphotos.nl
I received word that N473DC 'DRAG EM OOT' has found winter (2008/2009) parking at the home of AVRO LANCASTER NX611 "JUST JANE"... She will be at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre until about April 2009. The museum (afaik, check www.lincsaviation.co.uk) is open as usual (winter hours) so you should be able to watch the engineers doing maintenance on both an Avro Lancaster and a Douglas  C47 Dakata in the hanger...

Drag 'Em Oot at Lelystad When I visited the bookfair on 21Nov09 at Lelystad's Aviodrome, I noticed C-47A N473DC "Drag 'Em Oot" was still here.
It had been participating in various WW2 commemorations in Holland, but I would have thought that a return to the UK had been the logical thing to do. It transpired that the stay wasn't voluntarily...

On 02Dec09 a replacement engine was brought in, from Miami to Amsterdam flown on a Martinair MD-11 freighter and by road to Lelystad, which was needed to replace the faulty no.1 engine... Only 18 hours after departure Miami it arrived at the Aviodrome.

Raymond wrote me: "..on 05Dec a first test to no.1 was applied, at 13hr45, followed by increased power run around 15:00 and at 15:45 a full blown test flight of 45 minutes took place, resulting in a thumbs up and a clean bill of health!"
"On 06Dec a return to Ol' Blighty should take place and we are looking at a return to the Continent next week, for commemorations of the WW2 battles fought in the Ardennes."
(Raymonds message was in Dutch, translation by the Webmaster)

Raymond also told me that DC-3 G-DAKK, next to N473DC on the photo, is still for sale, inquiries are regularly made and referred to owner Tony Holden but as yet a sale has not been made. (This was unchanged by June 2012!). =UPDATE a sale was made in 2013 and G-DAKK was moved from Lelystad.=

For more (2009) photos taken at the Aviodrome, see HERE..

 

C-47 N473DC Drag 'Em Oot

Tom Wray wrote me in May 2010:
" I attended the American Air Day at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre last Monday.
C-47 Drag-'em-oot was one of the small number of aircraft participating. Since I found your website in search of information about her, I thought you might like to see these images."
C-47 N473DC Drag Em Oot

 

Paddy Green did me the pleasure of sending photos to add to this dossier; on 23Jul2013 he wrote:
"I am attaching 2 photos of Drag 'em oot in her late 1970s passenger transport days, as C-FKAZ.
She flew for both Trans Provincial and Pacific Coastal out of Vancouver, British Columbia, following her release from the RCAF.
These were really the final days for scheduled DC-3 passenger operations in Canada, before the turbo-props completely started to to take over from the 1980s onwards. I know that Buffalo Airways still operate Daks out of Yellowknife, but then they are unique!

Still, it's good to see what she looked like when she was an airliner. We still have the 'No Smoking'-sign switch in the cockpit (along with the JATO rocket switch from the 1950s - now that would be something to see again!!).

N473DC is still flying well: more parachuting in Normandy and then 2 weekends in Holland for the Arnhem commemorations in September, so we are keeping busy."

C-FKAZ

C-FKAZ

 

 

70th anniversary D-day at Cherbourg
'Drag-'em-Oot' participated in the 70th anniversary of the D-day invasion at Normandy in june 2014 and is seen here departing from Cherbourg airport for another flight to the drop zone to deliver a parachute team.

70th anniversary D-day at Cherbourg
See my report of some of the flying done for this event at CHERBOURG june 2014

A recap of Drag-'em-Oot's history:
This Douglas C-47 c/n 19345, was delivered to the United States Army Air Force on 28Dec1943 and had serial 42-100882 assigned.
She joined operations with 87th Troop Carrier Squadron, based at Greenham Common in England.
Being equipped as glider pick up, her crew named her Drag 'em Oot (slang for 'Drag Them Out').
She participated in the air assault during D-Day when at 00:46 on 06Jun1944 she dropped 18 paratroopers of the US 82nd Airborne Division, just behind the Normandy beach heads, near St. Mere Église. She returned safe to the UK and after a second mission that very same day, she started to resupply the troops in France.

In September 1944 she was transferred to the RAF, designated a Dakota C.3 and assigned the British serial TS422.
Once with the RAF she was assigned to Number 1 Heavy Glider Servicing Unit, attached to 38 Group RAF at Netheravon, Wiltshire.
The RAF wanted to have a specialist glider recovery unit and TS422 started recovering Horsa assault gliders from the Normandy beach heads as soon as she joined the RAF. The unit recovered about 40 Horsa's prior to Operation Market Garden.
TS422 herself was, just like the Horsa's she recovered from the Normandy beaches, in action during the biggest paradropping in history: Operation Market Garden in September 1944. During this mission the pilot must have been severly wounded considering this Dakota was found to have signs of 12 bullet holes on the top of her cockpit and nose; probably caused by being attacked by a German fighter at some point.
But this Dakota warbird could take a beating, was repaired and in August 1945 she joined 435 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force which had just returned from Burma to the UK.

After the war ended the Dakota left for Canada, where she served with the RCAF as a trainer, a transport and, whilst equipped with skis and jato rockets, as a search and rescue aircraft.

After her fruitful military career she ended up in the USA, serving with various civilian companies, being registered as N5831B.
She was then grounded for a few years until, in 2004, her current owner, Paddy Green, found her in Arizona upon his search for a C-47 to be restored as a WW2 veteran.
Following an inspection (plenty of DC-3 / C-47 hulks around but most are in deplorable shape when inspected thoroughly) she was purchased and prepared to a condition suitable for the long ferry flight back to England. The flight to Liverpool took 7 days and 35 hours flying time, but occurred without any technical problems.

Once in the UK she was registered N473DC (a nice touch, don't you think?) and repainted in the livery she now appears in: the original markings as worn during her missions on D-Day 1944 with USAAF serial 42-100882 and coded 3X-P, nicknamed Drag 'em Oot (slang for ‘drag them out’) then piloted by the now 84 year old Bill Allin, as mentioned earlier on this page.
One must be very grateful for the effort, commitment and capital Mr Green has put in this admirable effort!
[-June 2014]

 

 




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