Meet the Dakotas flying over Duxford to mark the 75th D-Day anniversary

Commemorations are underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.

Codenamed Operation Overlord, it was the greatest armada ever known.

In the first 24 hours, more than 130,000 men landed from the sea and more than 20,000 from the air.

One of the biggest anniversary events is taking place at Imperial War Museum Duxford.

  • Click below for Matthew Hudson’s report

Her name is Mayfly and she flew over the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago delivering gliders filled with troops to their target areas.

Her owner and pilot Mike Woodley will take her over the Channel again - one of nearly 30 classic Dakota aircraft taking part in the D Day commemorations.

  • Click below for more footage of Dakotas at Imperial War Museum Duxford

Mike Woodley, a Dakota owner, said: "It also was converted into a glider snatcher.

"What happened, some of the gliders were undamaged and they didn’t know how to get them back to the UK to use them again.

"So this plane would fly low over the top of the glider, which would have a rope over what was like a football field post, and it would snatch the glider and bring it back to the UK so it could be used again."

The Dakotas played an important role in the D-Day landings. Credit: ITV News Anglia

More than 12,000 people came to see the Dakotas prepare for today's (June 5) trip and to see them drop 200 plus parachutists over Duxfield airfield - weather permitting.

Daisy is another Normandy vet. She dropped paratroops from the American Easy Company, later made famous in the TV series Band of Brothers.

It was bought by the Swedish government after the war and she still resides in Scandinavia.

The Dakotas came to Duxford from all over the world. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Kjell Nordstrom, a Dakota owner, said: “It’s not like the modern planes with the supported controls, you just struggle with it and especially in the cross wind it’s a full hand.

"But just the atmosphere, you have the feeling of this old relic, this is quite fantastic.”

Dakotas have been arriving here from the around the world. It's the largest gathering in one place since the Berlin Airdrop ended in 1949.

These planes were among the workhorses of D Day. Bringing in supplies and troops, towing gliders and evacuating many of the wounded.

Sadly there was no improvement and the second planned para drop also had to be cancelled.

But for the aircraft fans who flocked here this was still a unique day to remember.

Parachutists loading into a Dakota at Duxford. Credit: ITV News Anglia