USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Duchess of Dakota (The)
C-47A-DL 42-100899 (?)

440th Troop Carrier Group

Duchess of Dakota (The) Photo courtesy of William Lawler
Photo courtesy of William Lawler
Flown by Lt Murray Lawler, who hailed from Linton ND, "The Duchess of Dakota" completed an impressive number of missions which included two paratroop combat drops, four glider tows, 21 medivac flights and at least 80 cargo hauls.

Assigned to 95th Troop Carrier Squadron, the serial number has not been verified yet but is thought to have been 42-100899-A. The few records that are confirmed indicate that this C47 was flown on a practice para drop in mid-March 1944, then flew a re-supply mission to 101st Abn Div at St Mere Eglise on 7 June. In July a test hop is recorded and then it dropped members of the 376th Parachute Field Artillery on 17 September as part of the Market-Garden mission. It took a bullet hole between the pilot, Capt Morton, and his navigator. The following day it pulled and released a CG4 glider to support the troops on the ground.

At Christmas, it was hauling supplies from Chilbolton into France. As part of the Varsity mission to jump the Rhine, flown by Murray Lawler, it towed a glider full of airborne engineers and equipment.

Further records indicate that #899 was then sold to the French in 1947 and to the Burmese Air Force in 1955.

Murray Lawler also flew another C-47, 42-100509. On the day that Capt Morton took the bullet hit over Groesbeck, Lawler was flying plane #509 and the following day pulled a glider. Another glider tow mission came on 23 September and this time Lawler's plane took hits in the right wheel assembly, which had to be changed. This could be when Lawler transferred his crew to #899 and named it "The Duchess of Dakota". More research in needed.


© Ray Bowden 12 August 2022