59th TCS C-47 Tail Number 639 in Operation Varsity

Discussion in 'Combat Cargo, Troop Trans., Ferry, & Gliders' started by EricJP, Aug 11, 2017 at 7:07 AM.

  1. EricJP

    EricJP New Member

    Hi All,

    I’m in the process of writing up my father’s wartime in the British 8th Battalion Parachute Regiment. I know that he was dropped over the Rhine on Operation Varsity on 24th March 1945 from what I assume was a C-47 of the 59th Troop Carrier Squadron operating from RAF Chipping Ongar. I have photos of C-47s at Chipping Ongar with the squadron code X5, which is 59th TCS. The pilot was 1stLt Sam Miles and the chalk list (chalk number 12) says the aircraft tail number was 639. However it also says the aircraft type was DC-51 (or possibly DC-57, it’s difficult to read). I have been unable to tie the tail number 639 in with an aircraft serial number or manufacturer’s number – which I need to do – and I’m mystified by the reference to a DC-51 or DC-57.

    Any help would be gratefully received.

    Many Thanks,

  2. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017 at 11:05 AM
  3. EricJP

    EricJP New Member

    Many Thanks, Every little bit of information helps build a better picture - it's appreciated - Eric
  4. Parker

    Parker Member

  5. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

    Could possibly be C-47A-30-DL 42-23639

    the person writing the caption could also be confusing / combining DC-3 with C-47 and getting DC-47.

    the reason for suggesting this serial number is that the sister ships 42-23637 & 42-23638 as being assigned to the 61st TCG

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017 at 8:32 AM
  6. EricJP

    EricJP New Member

    I have now! And found it. Many thanks Parker

    Constructed as a C-47-DL by Douglas at Long Beach, California, USA.

    Circa 1941: Taken on Strength/Charge with the United States Army Air Force with s/n 41-38639.

    To unknown owner with c/r NC65746.

    By 29 January 1973: To VASP-Viacao Aerea Sao Paulo with c/r PP-SQA (Douglas C-47 (DC-3), 4742).

    29 January 1973: Crashed. Summary: The airframe was written off. The accident occurred at Rondonopolis Airport, MT (ROO) (Brazil) while landing. Narrative: Damaged beyond repair on landing. Written off.
  7. EricJP

    EricJP New Member

    Terveurn, Looks like I could have been a bit hasty in my last post relying to Parker, I've now got two contender airframes! Your suggestion also fits the bill and in sequence with another 59th TCS airframe 42-23306 it's closer.

    May Thanks, I'll have to do a bit more delving!

  8. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

    I went though Baughers listing on the C-47's several went to the RAF, 2 went to Russia, Alaska had one of the 639's. Only one in the sequence that would have been close it 23639. Unfortunately, no history come-up in a google search.
  9. Parker

    Parker Member



    From FAA, N87605

  10. EricJP

    EricJP New Member

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the additional information. I've also been searching further for the two airframes, but like you have found very little if anything further! There is an aircraft parking diagram for RAF Barkston Heath on Stanley Edwards Jr's web page that shows a C-47 tail number 639 belonging to 59th TCS, but no further info - http://stanleyedwards.com/GroupParkingDiagram.html . There is also a formation diagram http://stanleyedwards.com/SquadronFormationDiagram.html with Stanley's 14h TCS aircraft 42-23638, and Montgomery's 15th TCS 42-23637, but unfortunately the 59th TCS don't figure in it.


  11. Parker

    Parker Member

    Well one thing we do know for sure, both of these C-47s survived the war and made it back to the US.

    42-23639 appears to have had had several owners in France before coming back to the US and if the info on ABCDLIST is correct, finally ended up with an Ethopian registration.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017 at 11:25 AM

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