in service with GHQ
in June-July 1942. The significance of this
photograph cannot be over-emphasised, for it establishes a sequence of
three identities which were assigned to this particular DC-3. Clearly
evident on the original photograph are the following:
Between the door and the star insignia are the over-painted letters "ALW".
This establishes that the aeroplane was indeed once PK-ALW of KNILM.
On the fin and rudder are four over-painted characters. From the shape
of the over-painting there is little doubt that the characters underneath
are "1944". This is the manufacturer's serial number of DC-3 PK-ALW. This
number was unofficially adopted as a USAAF tail number. The fact that
there are only four over-painted characters indicates that the tail number
was presented as "1944" and not as "11944" as might have been the case
with an official fiscal 1941 serial number.
On the fin and rudder is the radio call-sign "VHCXE" which was assigned
to this aeroplane by the Allied Directorate of Air Transport (ADAT). Note
that the call-sign is presented without a hyphen.
Thus is established the sequence of identities:
Other noteworthy features of this photographs are:
The officer adjacent to the rear wheel of the truck is Brigadier General
(later Major General) Spenser B. Akin, head of the Central Bureau SWPA.
Visible forward of the door is the wind deflector fitted to enable the
rearmost cabin window to be used as a machine gun position.
The large dark rectangle above the windows forward of the door is the
over-painted remains of the tri-colour stripe which originally extended
the full length of the cabin windows. These markings can be seen here.
When the aircraft was camouflaged by KNILM, the stripe was reduced to
approximately half its original length beginning aft of the fourth window
and extending to the aft edge of the last window. As invasion became imminent,
the remainder of the stripe was over-painted in a dark colour.
The Sherr Photographs, MacArthur Memorial Archives (#00006486A)