By Stephen Chapis
Prior to 2015, That’s All, Brother, the Douglas C-47 that led the entire airborne operation in Operation Overlord was thought to have been lost to history. However, when Basler Turbo Conversions heard from a researcher that one of their recent acquisitions was in fact That’s All, Brother, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) struck a deal with Basler to purchase the aircraft and return it to its original wartime configuration.
Today, this historic aircraft is well on its way to becoming a benchmark in C-47 restorations for it will not be a simple cosmetic restoration as CAF Curator Keegan Chetwynd explained, “It is our expectation that That’s All, Brother will be among the best restored C-47s in the world.” To Chetwynd, and quite likely most warbird enthusiasts and military historians, a C-47 of such historical significance deserves nothing less.
Throughout 2016 the restoration, which is taking place at Basler Turbo Conversions’ facility in Oshkosh, focused on corrosion mitigation and structural work, which has been completed. In the latter the Basler team has worked hard to retain as much of the original skin as possible, so when future generations see and touch this aircraft they will be coming in contact with the same skin that was in the presence of the 15 paratroopers of the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division that jumped into the dark and deadly skies of Normandy in the early hours of June 6, 1944.
With nearly 30 years of experience in refurbishing the venerable Douglas DC-3/C-47, That’s All, Brother not only benefits from Basler’s extensive and intimate knowledge of the aircraft, but also it vast inventory of Gooney Bird parts, some of which are still in their unopened wartime packages. Currently, the team is working on reassembling the aircraft and rewiring of the aircraft’s electrical system. At the same time Basler employees, researchers and volunteers are studying both the aircraft and historical records to determine exactly how both the interior and exterior of this aircraft was finished. This attention to detail is all aimed at restoring That’s All, Brother to how it appeared on the evening of June 5, 1944 when Lt Cols Donaldson and Daniels advanced the throttles and lifted off from their base in England to begin the greatest military operation in military history. To continue That’s All, Brother support , click HERE.