When it came to World War Two’s four-engined, long-range transports, the Douglas C-54 Skymaster was arguably in a league of its own — certainly, the best option for taking Winston Churchill on some of his last overseas visits as wartime Prime Minister. But its RAF service was brief
For an all-too-brief period from 1944-46 RAF Transport Command got its hands on a modern aircraft with a tricycle undercarriage, four air-cooled radial engines, a respectable payload and excellent range. With its attractive lines the Douglas C-54 Skymaster stood out alongside the command’s Avro York and Lancastrian taildraggers that were busily pounding the trunk route to the Far East and beyond. However, it was essentially a short-term, add-on extra for the units that used it, complementing their existing transport types. In the blink of an eye it had gone, whisked away again by the provisions of Lend-Lease under which it had been sourced from the USA.