|Position 2: Sgt. George H. Ratliff
18108127, below left photo:
Douglas C-47A "Skytrain" Cargo Aircraft
A.A.F. Serial Number 43-15137
|History of C-47A-80-DL 43-15137:
Craft Number: 19603
Built under A.A.F. Contract Number: AC-32725
Contract Serial Number Range: 43-15033 to 43-16132
Gross weight 29,300 lbs. Wingspan 95', length 63' 9".
Engine type: (2) Pratt and Whitney R-1830-92. Max speed 220 MPH.
Total cost $101,644 per aircraft - to include cost of aircraft, engines, propellers, and radios.
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach California
Accepted: 08 February 1944
|CHALK 40 - JUNE 6th 1944
|C-47A 43-15137 was assigned to the 306th Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS) 442nd Troop Carrier Group (TCG) 50th Troop Carrier
Wing (TCW) IX Troop Carrier Command, Royal Air Force (RAF) Station Fulbeck England (also known as USAAF station 488).
The 442nd TCG comprised of the 303rd TCS - Nose Code J7, 304th TCS - Nose Code V4, 305th TCS - Nose Code 4J and the
306th TCS - Nose Code 7H.
On June 6th 1944 C-47A 43-15137 was assigned the Airborne "Chalk" number 40. The "Chalk" number was the number
assigned to each aircraft during an operation and literally written on the side of the aircraft next to the jump door in white
chalk. On C-47A 43-15137, the number assigned was "40".
1st Lt. Buckley A. Maynard O-529480 with is his crew, Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Elmer W. Ambler O-816197, Navigator 2nd Lt. Donald J.
Markey O-697797, Flight Engineer SSgt. Francis A. Kline Jr 13145545 and Radio Operator Sgt. Vernon F. Coss 17098809 took
off under Mission "Boston", Serial 26 for Operation Overlord - the invasion of Normandy France.
|The 306th TCS formation comprised of 9 aircraft on June 6th 1944. The first "V" was formed by Chalk 37, piloted by Major
Royal S. Thompson, Chalk 38 by 2nd Lt. Billy Imboden Jr and Chalk 39 by 1st Lt. Cornell C. Houston.
The second "V" formation was lead by C-47A 43-15137. Her sister aircraft were Chalk 41 piloted by 2nd Lt. Douglas H. Lippe
and Chalk 42 by 2nd Lt. Thomas H. Mills.
The last "V" in the entire formation of Serial 26 was led by Chalk 43, piloted by 1st Lt. James M. Myers, Chalk 44 by 1st Lt.
Ardall C. Tiedeman and Chalk 45 by 2nd Lt. William J. McCormick Jr.
Only the lead plane in each "V" was crewed by a Navigator. This was done due to a shortage of Navigators available in the
306th TCS on June 6th 1944.
The 306th TCS was responsible for carrying all of "B" Company, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
Image courtesy http://www.6juin.com
|306th TCS C-47s with Nose Code 7H,
early 1945, left photo.
Note - the aircraft have had their
"invasion" recognition stripes on their
tails or wings removed from the
Normandy and Holland operations. The
lead C-47 (far left row) is 43-15137 (Tail
Letter H). The second aircraft is Tail
Letter O (S/N unreadable). The third
aircraft is Tail Letter A (S/N unreadable).
No other aircraft tail or serial numbers
were readable in this photo.
Photo from (342-FH Box 76 A18095) National Archives.
|The destination of 43-15137 (Chalk 40), as well as the other 44 aircraft for Mission "Boston" was Drop Zone T, the Merderet
Sector of the Cotentin Peninsula. The objective was Amfreville. The responsibility for this objective was trusted to the
members of the 82nd Airborne Division, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).
The order was to hold the La Fiere causeway in support of the 505th PIR (ordered to seize the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise) and
hold the defensive line between Gourbesville and Le-Hameau-Renouf.
At approximately 0244 hrs on June 6th, Chalk 40 dropped her paratroopers:
Position 1: 2nd Lt. James F. Clarke O-1294267 (KIA 13 June 1944)
Position 2: Sgt. George H. Ratliff 18108127
Position 3: PFC William J. Siekierski 12073110
Position 4: PFC Cecil W. Hindman 38232461
Position 5: PFC Steven P. Paris 36728347
Position 6: PFC Chris Courneotes 33549442
Position 7: Pvt. Audra Pritchard 20524699
Position 8: Pvt. Michael Tojchak 33077400
Position 9: Pvt. Ezio Fontanella 33264276
Position 10: Pvt. John R. Oxford 34687047
Position 11: Pvt. John M. Jefferson 32808293 (KIA 7 June 1944)
Position 12: Cpl. Robert B. Roussey 33315798
Position 13: T-5 Charles C. Peckham 32281987 (KIA 19 January 1945)
Position 14: PFC Roy V. Moeller 18017873
Position 15: PFC Paul L. Collins 14120167
Position 16: PFC Roland H. Daniel 35622178
Position 17: Pvt. Reinhold W. Bonnell 36569887 (KIA 15 June 1944)
Position 18: Cpl. Edward J. Schwartz 36152479
|When 2nd Lt. James F. Clarke was killed, his personal effects were sent to his mother Elizabeth Clarke, above left photo.
His effects included his wallet, insignia, dog tags (one early war brass and one pre-war steel style), two aircraft spark plug
shipping plugs and a lanyard made from parachute cord. His mother embroidered a gold star over the flag that she had for her
two sons that were in the service. His brother wrote on the inside cover of his pocket
dictionary: "My Brother Jim died June 13, 1944 in the invasion of France on a Tuesday with the Paratroopers", above right
To read the detailed story of 2nd Lt. James F. Clark, CLICK HERE
|CHALK 76 - SEPTEMBER 17TH 1944
|On September 17th 1944, C-47 43-15137 was again assigned the role of deploying paratroopers, but this time it was for
Operation Market Garden - the Allied invasion of Holland. 43-15137 was assigned the "Chalk" number 76, Serial A-10, Drop
Zone C. 1st Lt. Buckley A. Maynard (O-529480) was again the pilot of this aircraft, but with a different crew: Co-Pilot 2nd Lt.
John A. Bolt, Navigator 2nd Lt. Robert D. Marrington, Flight Engineer TSgt. Francis A. Aline Jr. and Radio Operator Cpl.
Joseph J. Calder.
On this mission, 43-15137 (Chalk 76) ferried the members of "I" Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st
Airborne Division to Holland:
Position 1: 1st Lt. Fred Anderson Jr. O-1283357
Position 2: Pvt. Frederick Olszewski 32673022
Position 3: Pvt. David M. Dillon 35800403
Position 4: Pvt. Edmond T. Riley 38471475
Position 5: PFC. Carmel J. Curtis 34037831
Position 6: Cpl. Harry D. Watson 16110874
Position 7: Cpl. John H. Siesennop 16096286
Position 8: Pvt. George E. Albers 36859775
Position 9: Pvt. Victor J. Deluca 36177147 (KIA 18 September 1944)
Position 10: Pvt. Merrill A. Goldsmith 39714847
Position 11: Pvt. Martin J. Descant 38486267
Position 12: Pvt. Robert A. Cerio 39535536
Position 13: Pvt. Paul J. Jackson 38599152
Position 14: SSgt. Alexander W. Engelbrecht 12138873
Position 15: Sgt. Murton J. McCarty 17108479
Position 16: T/5 Lawrence F. Lane 19127572
Position 17: (No Rank Listed) Peter C. Pzaszynski 32071402
|Currently only several days of C-47A 43-15137's wartime history are currently known. After World War Two, 43-15137 was
flown to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) Bush Field, GA on 18 November 1945. She was then registered as
NC36699 to Bruning Aviation, Hampton MS 29 January 1946; followed by Consolidated Air Transit Inc., East Orange, NJ 23
December 1947; Air Parts Inc., NY 09 November 1948; Regina Cargo Air Lines Inc., NY 14 April 1949; A.J. Williams, trading as
British Guiana Airways, Ltd., Miami, FL 13 October 1950; registered as VP-GAG 27 December 1950; Guyana Airways Corp.
1963 and re-registered as 8R-GAG 1967; East West Helicopters Inc., Harrison, OH 22 February 1979; registered to Air Service
Center, Inc., Hamilton, OH 22 February 1979 and re-registered as N9060Y 01 March 1979; registered to Hoganair Inc., Hamilton,
OH 15 June 1979 and re-registered as N89HA 01 July 1980; purchased by H.A. Hartley 25 July 1985 (registration pending to
estate of H.A. Hartley Jan 1991); registered to Aviation Consulting & Services, Mineral Wells, TX 15 April 1992 (registration
pending to Hal & Vicki Davidson, Weatherford, TX May 1994) and finally to the Confederate Air Force (Rio Grande Valley Wing),
Brownsville, Texas. C-47A 43-15137 was registered to the City of Brownsville, Brownsville TX 17 August 1998 and stored at
Brownsville, TX October 1998.
In the fall of 2006 the decision was made to sell C-47A 43-15137 at auction after six decades of hard service. At that time, her
wartime service history was a complete mystery. The high bidder was a scrap dealer. C-47A 43-15137 was cut apart to reclaim
her body for her precious aluminum.
Her remains were dragged to a scrap field. Later, a careful eye would see the only significant section still intact - the cockpit. A
deal was struck, and her cockpit was saved.
QuestMasters obtained this cockpit section during the summer of 2007. Her wartime service history is still being pieced
|C-47A 43-15137 wearing the colors of Guyana Airways, registration 8R-GAG Barbados 1969, above left photo.
C-47A 43-15137 wearing the colors as N98HA - Ohio U.S.A. 1986, above right photo.
|C-47A 43-15137 wearing the colors as N98HA, just prior to destruction - Brownsville TX 2006, above left photo.
C-47A 43-15137 after destruction, above right photo.
Her nose section is all that remains of her proud past....but, it has been saved.
QuestMasters will restore this section with her wartime paint scheme of the 306th Troop Carrier Squadron nose code 7H.
|306th Troop Carrier
Squadron C-47 with nose
code 7H, left photo.
This aircraft carries the tail
letter P. This photo was
taken after June 5th 1944,
as indicated by the five
alternating white and black
recognition stripes painted
on the tail. These stripes
were painted within hours
of the invasion of
Normandy France, June 6th
This aircraft serial number
is not currently known.
The nose of this C-47
carries the artwork of
Alberto Vargas, and what
appears to be the name:
|THE PARATROOPERS AND CREW OF CHALK 40:
|Position 1: 2nd Lt. James F. Clarke O-1294267 (KIA 13 June 1944) - Chalk Leader:
|Position 3: PFC William J. Siekierski
12073110, below center photo:
|Position 4: PFC Cecil W. Hindman
38232461, below right photo:
|Position 5: PFC. Steven P. Paris
36728347, below left photo:
|Position 10: Pvt. John R. Oxford
34687047, below center photo:
|Position 12: Cpl. Robert B. Roussey
33315798, below right photo:
|Position 13: T-5 Charles C. Peckham
32281987 (KIA 19 Jan 1945), below photo:
|Position 14: PFC Roy V. Moeller
18017873, below center photo:
|Position 15: PFC Paul L. Collins
14120167, below right photo:
|On September 18, 1944 at 15:06 HRS, D+1 of Operation Market Garden, Lt Buckley Maynard piloted a C-47A "Skytrain" over
Holland. This was his second mission for Operation Market Garden. His first was the previous day piloting C-47A 43-15137
"Chalk 76" carrying paratroopers of the I Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
On September 18th, members of the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion (AEB), 101st Airborne Division, Serial A-53, were to be
glider landed with a Willys MB 1/4 Ton Truck. 9 Minutes from Landing Zone (LZ) W near Son, Flight Officer Noel McCann
piloted a CG-4A 42-79151 Glider named "Queen City" being towed by Lt Maynard. The CG-4A was is given the nickname
‘Queen-City’, after F/O McCann's hometown and the name ‘Clara’ after his wife.
German anti-aircraft artillery targeted the CG-4A and shot it down while in tow behind the C-47A. The CG-4A crashed in
Oisterwijk, Holland. She was one of eighty gliders that had previously taken off from Chilbolten Airfield in the south of England.
The crash killed Pilot F/O Noel McCann T-122016 306th Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS) 442nd Troop Carrier Group, 1st Lt Ray
Hiltunen O-1103214 B Company 326th AEB (seated in the Co-Pilot seat), PVT Raymond L. Carson 36176352 326th AEB and T-5
Ray J Le May 36239073 326th AEB. Due to the shortage of glider pilots during war, Lt Hiltunen was assigned as the Co-Pilot to
assist during flight to check instruments and fly the glider in the event something happened to the pilot.
The cargo, a Willys MB "Jeep" serial number 313624 survived the crash and was captured and used by the Wehrmacht.
To read the story of Pilot F/O Noel McCann CLICK HERE
|SEPTEMBER 18TH 1944
|During the 1980s C-47A 43-15137 carried an unusual nick name. Skydivers often jumped from her for sport, and when they did,
she was referred to as "Kool Aid". This nick name stemmed from her service time with Guyana Airways Corporation as
8R-GAG after 1967. It was in 1977 that James Warren "Jim Jones" the founder and leader of the Peoples Temple moved his
followers to Guyana, South America. Later these followers would refer to this place as "Jonestown". C-47A 43-15137 was one
of the aircraft contracted to fly the followers to Jonestown. Jonestown would forever be written into the history books when
over 900 followers of "Jim Jones", 276 of which were children, died when they consumed a cyanide laced grape "Flavor Aid"
beverage on November 18th 1978. History would remember the beverage as "Kool Aid".
|Position 1: 2nd Lt. James F. Clarke
(KIA 13 June 1944), below photo:
|Position 18: Cpl. Edward J. Schwartz
36152479, below photo:
|Position 17: Pvt. Reinhold W. Bonnell
36569887 (KIA 15 June 1944), below:
|In August 2015, QuestMasters commissioned a painting, with the aviation artist Ron Cole, of C-47A 43-15137 as she deployed
her paratroopers on June 6th 1944. This painting is copyright of QuestMasters and Ron Cole.
It is available for purchase here: http://coles-aircraft.myshopify.com/products/c-47-chalk-40-on-d-day
|Navigator: 2nd Lt. Donald J. Markey O-697797 (Normally crewed C-47A 43-15133 "The Outcast")
|Position 6: PFC Chris Courneotes (*note
below) 33549442, below center photo:
|Note: PFC Chris Courneotes 33549442 (position 6) changed his name after WWII to Chris Kanaras.
|C-47A 43-15137 wearing the colors registered as VP-GAG (after 27 December 1950 and before offical registration of 8R-GAG in
1967), in Guyana in 1968, above left photo. C-47A 43-15137 wearing the colors of 8R-GAG at Hogans Private Airport, above
right photo. Photo credit: Win Anderson via Wally Anderson, left photo; Charlie Pyles right photo.
|C-47A 43-15137 carried 4 parapacks under the aircraft on June 6th 1944 as "Chalk 40" as documented on Form B, signed by Lt
James F. Clarke, above left photo.
Every paratrooper on Chalk 40 was assigned a parapack or bundle after deployment. The original document in the above right
photo was retained by Cpl. Robert B. Roussey. This is the bundle assignment for "Chalk 40": Ratliff, Bundle 1, Spare Barrel /
and Spare Parts; Siekierski, Bundle 1 and 2 - 1 Box Ammo / 1 Machete Spade and Shovel; Hindman, Bundle 2, 1 Box Ammo / 1
Demo Kit; Paris, Bundle 1 Machine Gun; Courneotes, Bundle 1, Tripod / Gas Alarm / 1 Box Ammo; Trojack, Bundle 1, 2 Boxes
Ammo; Pritchard, Bundle 1 and 2, 3 Boxes Ammo; Oxford, Bundle 2, 2 Boxes Ammo; Fontanello, Bundle 1 and 2, 1 Bag Rifle
Grenades / Shovel; Jefferson, Bundle 1 and 2, 2 Bags Rifle Grenades / Pick; Cpl. Roussey, Bundle 2, 1 Bag Demo. /
L.M.G. Crew in Plane 40 from 2nd. Squad: Schwartz, Bundle 3, Spare Barrel and Parts / Scoop Shovel; Collins, Bundle 3, 1 Bag.
Shovel and Machine Gun; Daniels, Bundle 3, 2 Boxes Ammo and Tripod; Bonnell, Bundle 3, 3 Boxes Ammo. in M2 Bag or in
|THE PARAPACKS OF CHALK 40:
|On September 19th 1944, the 306th Troop Carrier Squadron deployed gliders carrying B Battery and Headquarters Battery,
907th Glider Field Artillery, 101st Airborne Division, Serial A-81, in support of Operation Market Garden.
|SEPTEMBER 19TH 1944
|On March 24th 1945, the 306th Troop Carrier Squadron deployed gliders for Operation Varsity, the crossing of the Rhine River
into Germany. This was the final Airborne operation in Europe.
On March 24th 1945, C-47A 43-15137, Operation Varsity, Serial A-20, Chalk 48 deployed a glider containing the 224th Airborne
Medical Company, 17th Airborne Division. The crew of C-47A 43-15137 was: Pilot 1st Lt Rufus Y. Norris O-696654; Co-Pilot 2nd
Lt Gilbert F. Klenke O-720666; Flight Engineer S/Sgt Albert F. Meilutis 33678110 and Radio Operator Sgt Joseph J. Calder
The crew of the CG-4A Glider were F/O Laverne J. Dawson and F/O Cuthbert B. Joyner. The names the 224th Airborne Medical
Company on Chalk 48 are currently unknown.
|Chalk 48 - MARCH 24TH 1945
|C-47A 43-15137 is currently being restored by QuestMasters as of the summer of 2015. Her aluminum skin is being hand
stripped of her previous paint scheme. None of her original WWII paint is present on the outside, having been repainted
several times in the past 70 years. Her interior however has not been repainted and will remain untouched. Only original WWII
components will be replaced on the interior of the aircraft.
QuestMasters will restore this section with her wartime paint scheme of the 306th Troop Carrier Squadron nose code 7H.
Her nose art is currently unknown.
|C-47A 43-15137 wearing the colors of Guyana Airways Corporation, registration 8R-GAG, in Guyana in 1968, above photo.
Photo credit: Win Anderson via Wally Anderson.
|Guyana's Highest award for Bravery -
The Cacigue Crown of Valor:
|It would seem that C-47A 43-15137 continuously shows up in history.
Roland DaSilva was born on November 27th 1936, the first born of four sons. Roland showed a keen interest in flying from an
early age. Roland's first flight was on December 30th, 1954. After seven hours, Roland performed his first solo flight
accompanied by a British Guiana Airways Pilot Captain Julian Pieniazek. He was issued his pilot's licence on March 21st 1955.
In September 1957, Roland DaSilva became the first Guyanese to join British Guiana Airways. His first training flight was in
aircraft VP-GAG (formally C-47A 43-15137) on September 9th 1957 with Chief Pilot Johnny Wilson.
During one of the routine trips to the interior of Guyana, and on approach to Letham in VP-GAG (C-47A 43-15137) with Captain
P. Wilson at the controls, the aircraft struck a large vulture, which smashed through the windshield. Captain Wilson sustained
a nasty cut over his eye and was temporarily blinded by the blood and was incapacitated. Roland DaSilva, as the co-pilot,
promptly took control of the aircraft and landed without further incident. After medical treatment, Roland flew back to Atkinson
Field from the co-pilot seat with a temporary fix to the damaged windshield and a bandaged Captain Wilson in the left hand
The Rupununi Uprising: On Thursday January 2, 1969 during one of Roland’s routine trips to the Rupununi area, after takeoff
from Lethern with a DC-3 registration VP-GAF, Roland intercepted a radio transmission from a missionary aircraft. It was
reported that there was shooting at the Police Station at Lethern. After further discussion with Georgetown, Malcolm Chan-A-
Sue in C-47 VR-GAG (C-47A 43-15137) who was flying in the Southern Rupununi area was advised by the Georgetown ground
station to fly directly to Atkinson Field. A group of Guyana Defense Force soldiers and members of the Guyana Police Force
were assembled at Atkinson Field and they were flown back to Lethem in C-47 8R-GAF piloted by Roland DaSilva, C-47 8R-
GAG (C-47A 43-15137) piloted by Michael Chan-A-Sue and C-47 8R-GAS piloted by Jardim. The fleeing civilians were evacuated
to Georgetown to safety and relocated after the uprising was quashed. During the next 18 hours, all three aircraft flew
reinforcements and supplies for the policemen and soldiers assembled at Manari in preparation for the ground assault on
Rupununi Uprising Award: On Tuesday, June 24, 1969 Prime Minister Forbes Burnham presented awards to Roland DaSilva
and five other pilots of Guyana Airways Corporation. The awards were for their bravery and dedication to duty in the face of
fearful odds during the Rupununi uprising in January 1969. The awards consisted of plaques of polished purpleheart wood
with the insignia of the GAC Logo inlaid in polished anodized aluminum.
Major Roland DaSilva would later be awarded Guyana's highest award: The Cacigue Crown of Valor, for his part in the military
action leading to the capture of both the "Rupununi" and "Fort Jaguar" in the new river triangle, for bravery of the highest
order, in the defense of Guyana "in circumstances of great danger involving serious risk of life".
Roland DaSilva is the only person to have ever received this award.
Content obtained from www.guyanagraphic.com