2017-10-25 / Front Page

That’s All Brother!


Lt. Col. John M. Donalson, Command Pilot (438th Troop Carrier Group Commander), center, is pictured above with “That’s All Brother” and his D-Day crew. Lt. Col. John M. Donalson, Command Pilot (438th Troop Carrier Group Commander), center, is pictured above with “That’s All Brother” and his D-Day crew. As thousands of troops awaited their destiny on a moonless night over seven decades ago, one plane taxied to the front of the line, took off in the darkness and turned toward Nazi-occupied France.

In the cargo hold nervous paratroopers sat facing each other while in the cockpit of the C-47 dubbed “That’s All, Brother,” Command Pilot John Donalson checked the sophisticated radar helping him lead hundreds of planes across the English Channel.

“That’s All, Brother” ferried more than a dozen paratroopers in the D-Day invasion and returned to England later that day to tow a glider filled with more men and equipment to France. Later it participated in Operation Market Garden and dropped needed supplies to trapped men during the Battle of the Bulge.

The above account of that fateful day by Meg Jones appeared in the July 16, 2015 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“That’s All, Brother” marked its place in history on that fateful day as the first plane to fly over the beach heads into France.

The D-Day hero served in a number of roles over the decades was rediscovered just before being salvaged and is now undergoing a complete restoration to return it to the skies just as it looked in June 1944.

Of more interest to local readers, the pilot on that fateful flight, Command Pilot John Donalson, has roots in Early County.

His grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Donaldson, were among the founders of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on College Street in Blakely.

Like his plane, Col. Donalson continued a remarkable career over the decades to come.

Next week the News will take a closer look at both.

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