If you happen to be travelling in Northern Canada in the province of the Northwest Territories, then you may stumble across either the town of Hay River or Yellowknife. The latter of the two actually being the centre of the Northwest Territories. These two towns are connected by a two routes only; one which is by road and involves a ferry trip across the Mackenzie River, or you could take the one that requires you to take an airplane. Most, sensibly, would choose the latter. However, you still have a choice to make at this stage - who do you fly with? First Air or Buffalo Airways?


                If you chose to fly with First Air you would fly across on a modern Boeing 737; however, if you wisely selected Buffalo then you would be crossing Great Slave Lake aboard a Douglas DC-3. The only remaining scheduled passenger service using a DC3 in the world…


                It is one of their aircraft that interests me the most however; it goes by the registration of   C-GWZS and happens to have been built at the Douglas factory in 1942. It rolled off the production line with the serial number of 12327 and was assigned to the Royal Air Force shortly afterwards on the 14th January 1944. It was then flown over the Atlantic as a Douglas Dakota Mark III (KG330); it touched down on UK soil at Prestwick on the 16th February 1944, before being immediately assigned to 512 Transport Command squadron, who were based at RAF Broadwell. It then participated in a number of leaflet dropping exercises across northern France until the 3.6.44 when it would have had its invasion stripes painted on the aircraft. D-Day had arrived.


                On the night of the 5th of June 1944, the aircraft had been assigned the crew, <span times="" new="" calibri;="" calibri;"="" en-gb;="" "times="" roman";="">Flight Lieutenant Matthews (Captain), the Co-Pilot was Sergeant Thompson, the navigator was WO Bromigo and it had an additional crew member named WO Tonner. It left Broadwell for Operation Tonga at preciously 23:15. (It would have been part of 512 Squadrons ‘C’ flight).