Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Corporation at Oklahoma City in Oklahoma and rolled off the production line on 31/12/1943. Aircraft was designated as a C-47A-1-DK. During the war years allocated the U.S serial number 42-92392. In January 1944 acquired by the Royal Air Force and redesignated as a Dakota III and given the serial number FZ631. Seeing war service mainly with No 24 Squadron, which was based in the United Kingdom.
From 10/4/1944 it saw war service with Military Advisor & Assistance Group whilst being flown by crews from 24 Squadron for General Maitland Wilson. Aircraft was affectionately known by the crews that flew it as 'Freedom'. Returned to 24 Squadron on 23/3/1945. Later saw service with A.C.S.E.A. Communications Unit, which was based at Ratmalana in Singapore from 12/9/1946.
Purchased by Qantas Empire Airways Ltd on 18/4/1949 from the Royal air Force at Singapore and registered VH-EAN on 11/7/1949 to the company. On 31/1/1951 it was struck off the civil register as it had been reported as being withdrawn from service and would be scrapped for spares. A reprieve came when it was rebuilt and reinstated to the civil register on 6/3/1952 to the company.
On 17/3/1955 and 18/3/1955 noted as being flown by Captain C Callander and First Officer L Murtagh both of Australian National Airways on the Sydney to Brisbane and return services operating as a freighter. On 11/4/1956 aircraft reregistered VH-EBF and reregistered VH-EBU on 20/1/1958.
On 1/9/1960 Trans Australia Airlines purchased this aircraft. Entered service with company on the same day with the registration VH-SBD. Whilst in service with company aircraft was named 'Madang' and based in New Guinea servicing the company's air routes.
On 31/10/1973 withdrawn from service with Trans Australia Airlines and sold to Air Niugini, which was based at Port Moresby in New Guinea on 1/11/1973. Later reregistered P2-SBD on 1/6/1974 and later P2-ANO on 11/12/1975.
Withdrawn from service on 31/7/1977 and placed in storage at Port Moresby. In March 1980 reregistered N5590C to Insured Aircraft Title Service Inc. with the intentions of flying Red Cross work in Thailand. In June 1981 sold to John Ford III and resold four months later to Bush Pilots Airways. Aircraft is mounted on a concrete plinth in Air Queensland colour scheme wearing the registration of VH-BPA and is located outside the terminal at Cairns Airport.
Still in existence in 2006.
© Gil White (2006)
To my page Australia 2005
"It has been a great pleasure to have known you all, but my days are now numbered." -24Jun06.
Gil White passed away on 27Jun06. He will be remembered by me as a enthusiastic (Ansett) historian and a courageous person; may he rest in peace.