Belgian D-Day commemoration planes

Belgian C-130H special D-Day livery
Belgian C-130H with special D-Day celebrative livery.

During the June 1944 Normandy landings (D-Day), the Belgian Air Force participated under the wings of the British Royal Air Force.

The 349 squadron and 350 started were erected in 1942 and 1941 under the wings of the Royal Air Force. After the 2nd WorldWar they became squadrons in the newly Belgian Air Force, currently flying the F-16. Both squadrons have a special D-Day F-16 with black and white invasion stripes to commemorate the 75th D-Day anniversary.

In the same time, the 525 transport squadron of the RAF was a Belgian squadron that flew overhead Normandy in June 1944. Later it merged into to the 21st transport squadron in the 15th Wing of the Belgian Air Force, currently at Melsbroek AB (ICAO: EBMB).

For the D-Day commemorations, Lockheed C-130H CH-11 was fitted with the black and white invasion stripes and it will participate in June 2019 for the commemoration flights in Normandy

On Friday May 17th the Hercules came out of the paint hangar and on Sunday May 19th it could be photographed at it’s homebase Melsbroek.


The origin of Belgian Air Force 15th Transport Wing lies with the Royal Air Force (UK).
In October 1944, more than 40 Belgian pilots were stationed at Crosby-on-Eden (Welford) where they were retrained on DC-3 Dakota. After their training period, they were re-assigned to the 187 and 525 Squadrons at Membury to gradually replace the British crews. At the end of 1944, the 525 Squadron consisted exclusively of Belgian crews. In April 1946 the 525 squadron moved to Belgium at Evere Airfield. The same year the "Belgian Flight of Metropolitan  Communication Squadron" from Hendon was also stationed at Evere. These two units merged together and were renamed the 169 Wing with two squadrons. The 366 Sqn, equipped with five DC-3 Dakotas and the 367 Sqn, equipped with nine Avro Anson, six Airspeed Oxford, four DeHavilland Dominie and three Percival Proctor.

On February 1, 1948, the 169 Wing is renamed 15 Vervoers- en Verbindingswing. The 366 and 367 squadrons become the 20 and 21 Squadron respectively. Their emblem is a Sioux Indian, on a blue or red background. "Tenacity" (steadfastness) becomes the slogan. In honor of this ‘Belgian’ RAF 525 Sqn, the 15th Wing’s Paint Shop re-painted one of their C-130 Hercules tactical transport planes. This special livery consists of the highly visible ‘Invasion stripes’ which are a tribute to all the allied transport crews who gave all they got during Operation Overlord and further on during the invasion of Europe.

Source: Dakotamuseum, Melsbroek AB.

👉 You may also like: Last flight of Belgian Hercules CH-10

Text and photos: Joris van Boven

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