RAAF Oddity #58 - Douglas C-50 VHCDJ

by Steve Mackenzie

VHCDJ C-50 36 Sqn RAAF 'Waltzing Matilda'. John Hopton photo reference P1789-0127.

The aircraft was originally built by Douglas in July 1941 as a right hand door DC-3-277D with Wright Cyclones, for delivery to American Airlines as NC33657, but was instead requisitioned direct from the production line by the U.S. Military as a C-50 "41-7698". Along with two other C-50's, it was delivered to the 5th Air Force in Australia in October 1942 for use as a Troop Carrier, and flew with the 21st TCS of the 374th TCG, carrying the radio call sign VHCDJ.

Following the re-equipment of the 374th TCG with fifty-two new C-47's in early 1943, VH-CDJ, along with another C-50 and three C-53 aircraft, were transferred to the RAAF on 28/06/43 for service with No.36 Transport Squadron, where it carried the name "Waltzing Matilda". The photo above shows it with 36 Sqn. The reason that I have included this one as an oddity is that the lower surfaces have clearly been repainted in RAAF Sky Blue, odd, as I have never seen a RAAF C-47 painted as such. Note that as a requisitioned DC-3 it has no large cargo door on the Port side, instead having the original Passenger door on the Stardboard rear fuselage of the airliners.

In 1944 it was transferred to the control of ADAT and operated by Guinea Airways operating passenger flights under military auspices. The two photos above show it with them. By this time it was stripped to Natural Metal with the call sign VHCDJ on the vertical tail and 'Guinea Airways' on the nose in Black. U.S Insignia consists of a Blue/ White Cocade with white bars added either side.

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