Provided by Pat Lewis-Bodilly, son of Don Lewis, C-47 pilot based at RAF Broadwell, England with 512 Squadron
Just before midnight on the 5th of June, 1944, Flight Lieutenant Don Lewis lifted into the night carrying his crew and the 9th Parachute Battalion of the 6th Airborne Division of the British Army. His C-47 Dakota was hit by flak during the mission, but he still managed to drop his paratroopers successfully in the area of Sword Beach and nurse his wounded aircraft back to England.
But that was just the beginning…
Don’s experience during the Normandy landings were the start of his distinguished service. At 22 years old, he received training to tow Horsa gliders and took part in Operation Market Garden in September of 1944. From there he shipped to Burma where he dropped supplies to soldiers in the jungle and would land to evacuate the wounded and deceased, all while facing the prospect of coming under Japanese fire.
Don finished the war hospitalized for an illness in Karachi, Pakistan. After losing a significant amount of weight, he eventually recovered and was demobilized in 1946.