Douglas DC-3 of the KLM Airline, late 1930s.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
When the DC-3 was introduced in 1936, it was the first airliner able to carry a sufficient number of pasengers in such comfort and at such a cost as to encourage and promote a healthy growth of air traffic. It was known as the 'Dakota', or 'Pioneer 'when operated for the British armed forces and by British European Airways. KLM (the national Dutch airline) began in 1919 and was the first commercial airline company in the world. The DC-3 pictured was shot down over the Bay of Biscay on 1 June 1943 while en route from Whitchurch (near Bristol) to Lisbon. Amongst the pasengers killed was the actor Leslie Howard, although it is thought that the Luftwaffe's target was Winston Churchill, who German intelligence said was on board the flight.