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Thread: WWII flights To Lisbon

  1. #91
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    I would be grateful, steve-p, if you could check the date of the excellent map you linked. I ask because there are several hangars and buildings on the north side of the airfield and I'm not sure that they had been built by 1939 (I'll come on to this more fully in a moment). Also, the area to the north of the airfield and the area between Hensgrove and Whitchurch both seem more built up than I would have expected in 1939.

    Below is a plan of the airfield as in "Air Pilot" in 1937, with North at the top. On the south side of the airfield, the hangar on the left is a showroom; to its right is the public hangar; next along, as marked, are the "Club House" and the Traffic Office" (the latter being the passenger terminal building); and, finally, just north of the "Traffic Office" is what was called the Public Hangar. Just south (more or less) of the "Club House", in the forecourt of the building complex, is another black rectangle: this was a squash court!

    In his history of Whitchurch, Ken Wakefield does not mention the erection of buildings on the north side of the airfield until the sub-section on '1943' and, only then, at the end and just before the sub-section on '1944'. His description of events does not always follow chronology strictly, so I don't know how significant the positioning of the following words is but here is what he wrote:

    "On the North Side, numerous buildings and huts were erected for use as offices and workshops by BOAC, KLM and the ATA. A Type T12 hangar was shared by BOAC and KLM and an adjacent Bellman hangar was used by the ATA. Eventually there were five hangars in this side of the airport with one of them - the most westerly - used as a depot by the Bristol Aeroplane Company".

    Here's the 1937 plan:
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 17th May 2017 at 14:48.

  2. #92
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    It looks like a letter took about a week to reach Europe using the LATI service. The cover below is from a Swiss site. It was posted in Santos, the port for Sao Paulo in Brazil, on 13 March 1940. The handstamp shows it travelled by "Condor" (to Rio) and then by "LATI" to Rome, where it arrived on 19 March 1940. Apparently, it then went by Swissair from Rome to Locarno and presumably from there to Zurich by surface mail.
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  3. #93
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    This is a letter in the opposite direction. It was posted in Bern on 11 September 1941, the postmark is a "Transit" one; from there it went to Chiasso (pencilled towards the top left hand corner), which is in the south of Switzerland, on the border with Italy. It has an international railway station. The letter then travelled from Chiasso to Rome by train and from Rome to Buenos Aires by LATI, apparently in I-BOLI though I can see no evidence for that (perhaps it's on the reverse of the cover).

    The interesting thing is that one of Hart Preston's photo shows I-BOLI landing at Natal and that is dated by some as 23 September 1941. Could it have been carrying this very letter, I wonder? Is that the evidence for saying it was carried by I-BOLI?

    Anyway, as you can see, there was even a printed air mail sticker saying 'LATI':
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 18th May 2017 at 14:18.

  4. #94
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    Here's another image of D-ARPF, the ex-KLM DC-3 [note starboard passenger door, again], not at Lisbon on this occasion:
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 18th May 2017 at 23:00.

  5. #95
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    This is another photograph in which D-ARPF is in the background. D-ARPF was 'acquired' by Lufthansa in the middle of 1940 and I have a question about this photograph of her.

    The photo is of OY-DEM [DDL's Fw-200 named "Jutlandia"] but it is not dated. However,even from the part of it shown below, 'Jutlandia' is wearing the neutrality colours that it carried from early 1940 until August 1945, so it is very much a WWII photo - which leads to my question.


    Maybe it is a trick of the light but D-ARPF appears not to be wearing the dark paint scheme we've seen in other photographs but a peacetime-like livery. Can anyone offer an explanation?
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 19th May 2017 at 15:41.

  6. #96
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    D-ARPF is the former "Valk" of KLM (PH-ALV). That was lightly damaged at Schiphol on May 10th, 1940 in a German bombardment. After repairs, it was handed over to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) on 1 June 1940, who later actually compensated KLM for it with 260.798 guilders in late 1942. The RLM assigned the aircraft to Lufthansa, who initially operated it in a natural finish c/s, later in camo. The aircraft was found abandoned at Barcelona in late 1944 and seized for KLM who had a difficult job proving ownership since it had formally been sold. The warweary aircraft was finally returned to Schiphol early 1946 and promptly sold to the UK where it was broken up for spare parts two years later.

  7. #97
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    Thank you, ericmunk, for your explanation. Do you happen to know the date (roughly, at least) when D-ARPF changed from natural finish to camouflage?

    I have a couple of other questions.

    You mentioned that KLM staff had gone on strike between 8 and 22 October 1940, so presumably made no flights to Lisbon in this period. In Post # 78, I gave a figure of 40 for the number of flights made to and from Lisbon in October 1940 and also gave information about the loads. This came from a history of Whitchurch, as I recall. If KLM were on strike for two weeks, does this mean that more than the normal number of flights were carried out on non-strike days? Or did the BOAC crews fly the KLM aircraft when the KLM crews were on strike?

    The other question is whether you have any information of the precise dates that the leasing of individual aircraft started? And the dates when the lease agreement for each aircraft ended ?

  8. #98
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    Re #97:re the strike the KLM history says that flights were flown, but only in perfect conditions, not in any bad weather that required beacons. So a reduced number of flights. No BOAC staff was allowed to fly the aircraft as a captain (there was a short spell where some flew as copilots but that did not go very well). They were KLM aircraft contracted out to BOAC with the specific stipulation they were flown by KLM crew. There are no individual aircraft leasing contracts. BOAC contracted KLM to fly a service and provide the aircraft and do the maintenance. KLM just put every aircraft it had on the service to keep the contract, as they were hopelessly short of aircraft, crew, parts, everything basically.

  9. #99
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    Thanks for your response, ericmunk.

    In Britain we would probably call that "working to rule" rather than "striking" but your explanation helps explain the conundrum.

    I should add that my question in Post # 97 was prompted by a comparison with the Stockholm Run, where the set-up was different. There, each of the Norwegian-owned Lodestars was separately leased to BOAC - at least, that is what appears to have been the situation. Another difference is that there was a great deal more flexibility as to crewing, more interchangeability. That is not to say that there were no tensions between the Norwegian and British authorities. As on the Lisbon Run, there were different priorities, with inevitable clashes. The Norwegian side, as a broad generality, was prepared to take more risks than the British side when authorising flights.


    Moving on - as KLM was contracted to provide a service, I presume that it was required to meet certain contractual obligations, which prompts a number of questions.

    >>> Did the contract specify the number/frequency of flights?
    >>> Did the contract specify any penalties on KLM for a failure to meet its contractual obligations?
    >>> Did the contract allow for mitigating circumstances that might prevent KLM from meeting its obligations?

  10. #100
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    FAO ericmunk...Do you know if the KLM staff newsletter 'De Wolkenridder' is archived (online?) anywhere. I note from the linked blog that the first issue in 1946 had an article 'De KLM vliegt naar Lissabon', though I doubt if it reveals much. I am trying to find copies of De Wolkenridder around February 1961 relating to KLM at London Heathrow.
    https://blog.klm.com/the-wolkenridde...nds-klm-staff/

  11. #101
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    Those who have been interested in this subject for some time will have doubtless seen this KLM summer timetable for 1939. My question relates to the second image, which is from the top right-hand section of the first image.

    The cabin layout on the Far East service was generous in terms of passenger space - understandably. There is space for passengers to adjust their seat to attempt to sleep - as shown in the second image. [One click on each should expand the images; a double click may make them even larger]

    My question is whether this same cabin layout was retained for the Whitchurch-Lisbon service.
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 23rd May 2017 at 11:37.

  12. #102
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    Can anyone add anything to the this story?

    In 1939, a New York broker named Norman C. Lee, made a round-the-world trip using only flights by commercial airlines. Here is his itinerary.

    He left New York for the West Coast on 21 June 1939, flying with Transcontinental. There, he caught Pan Am's China Clipper to Hong Kong. Then he flew to Bangkok by Imperial Airways (would that by one of the DH.86s, I wonder?). From Bangkok, he flew by KLM as far as Athens, then by Imperial Airways to Marseille. He fitted in a side trip to Paris before leaving Marseille on 9 July to fly back to New York on Pan Am's Atlantic Clipper. Mr Lee estimated the cost at $2100.

    This is relevant to the thread, in that he used both KLM's Batavia service and Pan Am's transatlantic Clipper service.

    Has Mr Lee's story been written up anywhere else? If so, where?

    Was this the first known example of a round-the-world trip by a fare-paying passenger using only commercial services?

  13. #103
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    Re 101: most KLM aircraft had 12 pax seats indeed. However, aircraft evacuating from Naples (on regular services) were known to carry extra (loose) foldable seats, initially six on May 21st 1940, then zeven (May21st), then 10 (May 25th) taking the total to 22 pax on the eastbound Indies service from Naples.

    The DC-2 that made it to Shoreham was not fitted with seats at all, it was a freighter. Some of the 5 DC-3s certainly initially were still fitted with the 12-seat configuration (Reiger I am certain of). Although they probably carried more people if need be. Additionally it was fitted with a 13th seat for a purser, which was not carried on the Lisbon flights. I don't know if the configuration was maintained during the war, but it is probably somewhere in Ad van Ommen's book. Certainly by the time Ibis was shot down there was a different cabin layout.

  14. #104
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    Thanks, once again, ericmunk, for your reply. I had read that they had retained their KLM interiors but, on seeing that seating layout, I wondered. I know that KLM's DC-3 carried mail and freight but the pre-war cabin arrangement seemed generous for wartime.

    May I ask if you got a chance to consider the questions I posed in Post # 99?

  15. #105
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    DDL's Summer 1939 timetable featured the Condor on the front cover:
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  16. #106
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    KLM reportedly carried 18, 000 passengers on 1600 flights between the UK and Lisbon in WWII...Roughly 11 per DC-3 (or DC-2?). As the refugee fleet in England came from the Western European fleet and the East Indies fleet the seating may have varied initially (21?-12?) and there would have been salvageable seats from the wreck of PH-ALR at Heston in 1940

  17. #107
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    This is from a newspaper column listing mail deliveries to and from New York in mid-July 1939. From this, you can see the six-day schedule for the Dixie Clipper:
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 26th May 2017 at 11:37.

  18. #108
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    Well a 13 year old thread on Flight 777 has come alive on pprune
    http://www.pprune.org/aviation-histo...ie-howard.html

  19. #109
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    The crew of the ill-fated BOAC Flight 777 flown with DC-3 G-AGBB (ex PH-ALI) on 1 June 1943 consisted of captain Q. Tepas, co-pilot D. de Koning, flight engineer E. Rozevink and radio operator C. van Brugge.
    Cornelis ("Kees") van Brugge was wellknown as a member of the crew of Douglas DC-2 PH-AJU "Uiver", which participated in the 1934 London - Melbourne Air Race. This aircraft was the winner in the handicap section in this race.

    Flight cover in my possession carried by the PH-AJU in the London - Melbourne Air Race 1934
    Jur

  20. #110
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    I meant to respond sooner, jur, but I have been otherwise engaged - and likely to be so for the next week or so, I'm afraid.

    That envelope ('cover' as the philatelists call it) is lovely piece of memorabilia to own and you must be very pleased to have it. The triangular stamp on the right looks so unusual in itself.

  21. #111
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    IGNORE THIS POST

    I've had a problem loading a set of 4 small photos and, with luck, you'll find them in a later post
    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 31st May 2017 at 23:34.

  22. #112
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    In early November, the 1st Fighter Group learned of the invasion of North Africa. On the 8th, Colonel John Stone, 1FG CO, briefed them on their next mission: a non-stop 1500 mile flight to Oran, Algeria, noting that Gibraltar would be the only possible emergency stop. Gibraltar was "only" 1200 miles away. Their planned route took them across the Bay of Biscay, near the northwest corner of Spain, down the Portuguese coast, through the Straits of Gibraltar, and then to Oran. As the airfield at Gibraltar was always over-crowded, Col. Stone emphasized that they should only stop there for critical emergencies. On November 15 at 0630, in a fully-fueled Lightning, feeling like a guinea pig, Ilfrey took off from Chivenor Airdrome in Land's End. After a half hour of low-level flight, he felt a slight jolt - one of his 150-gallon belly tanks had fallen off. Under strict radio silence, Lt. Tony Syroi edged close to Ilfrey and displayed a hand-lettered sign "ONE BELLY TANK." Ilfrey signalled his understanding and re-calculated his options. After looking at his maps, he estimated that he could reach Gibraltar. The flight of planes, led by a B-26, headed west to avoid some thunderheads. Shortly, Ilfrey realized that he had to cut loose from the flight and head toward land; he was just too low on fuel. As he turned back east, he further realized that he wasn't going to make Gibralter. He would have to choose between ditching at sea or landing in Portugal or Spain. Recalling that the Portuguese were not quite as Axis-oriented as the Spaniards (whose leader, Franco, owed his victory in the recent civil war to German and Italian aid), Ilfrey was relieved to spot an airfield near Lisbon.

    As he touched down, six horsemen with plumed hats, sabres, and pistols rode out to greet him, and gestured him toward the administration building. He did so and a crowd quickly assembled. An English-speaking official greeted him and led him into the building. The nineteenth-century style cavalrymen were ordered to watch his P-38. Inside, Ilfrey noticed a number of German airline pilots. When a big car screeched up and disgorged more officials, a real interrogation began. After an hour or so, he was informed that Portugal, as a neutral country, interned all combatant airplanes and pilots. This prospect did not appeal to Jack Ilfrey at all.

    A Portuguese Air Force pilot expressed interest in the P-38; he had never seen any American fighter plane, let alone the large, unique P-38. They planned to fly the P-38 to a military airbase and refueled it. The pilot asked Ilfrey to explain the controls to him. Feeling somewhat guilty, he did so. As the Portuguese aviator sat on the wing and hundreds of people milled around, another Lightning came over to land. The cavalry galloped off to receive it and the crowd headed toward the new arrival.

    Suddenly Ilfrey saw his moment and threw the throttles full forward. The Portuguse aviator tried to reach in to stop him, but the Lightning picked up speed and the propwash blew him off the plane. The bystanders' hats blew all over the place; Ilfrey slammed shut the canopy and headed back down the runway. As taxied and took off, he recognized the incoming Lightning as that of Capt. Jack Harman.

    Airborne again, he was relieved, but still shaken; he had no parachute, no Mae West, and no maps. In the bright sunlight, he headed for Gibraltar, ignorant of the diplomatic firestorm he had just touched off. He spotted "The Rock" wihtout any difficulty and touched down at Gibraltar's airfield, squeezed up against a border fence where German lookouts monitored all the air traffic. He told his story, to amazed squadron mates and then to an infuriated Colonel Willis, CO of American operations at Gibraltar. Col. Willis chewed him out for not destroying the plane, for not thinking, for creating an international incident, etc. etc.

    Ifrey suspected that the authorities wouldn't throw him back to rot in a Lisbon detention center, although that possibility was greater than the optimistic, exuberant young pilot imagined. When Col. Willis informed him that indeed was Washington's directive, Ilfrey was incredulous. But Col. Willis took care of him, cabling Washington that the pilot in question had already left for North Africa. That day, Ilfrey did so. As for Jack Harman, as soon as he landed the Portuguese grabbed him by the neck and threw him in jail, with no opportunity for him to "demonstrate" his aircaraft.


    Ilfrey redeemed himself for all the trouble he had by shooting down several German airplanes. Flying a P-38 Lightning nicknamed "Happy Jack's Go Buggy," he shared credit for an Me-110 shot down returning from a strike on Gabes Airdrome on 29 November 1942. Just three days later he destroyed two Bf-109s over Gabes Airdrome, Tunisia, and on the 26th, while leading a flight over Bizerte and Tunis, he downed two FW-190s. On 3 March 1943, he achieved ace status, when he shot down a Bf-109 in the Tunis area.

    Returning to the U.S. in April 1943, Ilfrey reported to the replacement training unit at Santa Ana, California where he trained pilots in the P-38 and P-47.
    20th Fighter Group
    Promoted to captain, in March 1944 he went back to combat in England as commander of the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, based at Kingscliffe. There he scored two more victories, a pair of Me-109s downed over Elberswalde on 24 May 1944. Shot down by flak while train-strafing on 12 June, he evaded the Germans by hiding in the hedgerows that dotted the French countryside. Hidden by a French family, he eventually made his way back to the Allied lines, riding a bicycle and taking the identity of "Jacques Robert", a deaf-mute Frenchman.


    Not civilian but still a WWII flight to Lisbon

  23. #113
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    I think I've found the problem, so let me try one more time.

    I've mentioned some large photos I was given in my youth. I also got some much smaller photos, of which four are shown below. They are all of BOAC Boeing 314As. I suspect that they are quite common.

    The top two photos, consecutive shots from the same roll of film, I think, seem to show G-AGCA landing.

    The bottom two photos (the left-hand one sadly omitting the tip of the nose) show G-AGBZ at rest.

    EDIT: I don't know how to delete and replace an image, so I've repeated the image in landscape format in the next post
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 31st May 2017 at 23:29.

  24. #114
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    The PC seems to running more slowly than normal tonight - maybe that's (part of?) the problem.

    This is at least the third time of trying.

    ADDITIONAL NOTE: At last! Hurrah! Four small photos of BOAC Boeing 314As. I'll repeat the 'captions':

    The top two photos, consecutive shots from the same roll of film, I think, seem to show G-AGCA landing.

    The bottom two photos (the left-hand one sadly omitting the tip of the nose) show G-AGBZ at rest.
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 31st May 2017 at 23:34.

  25. #115
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    That's a great story, Duggy, and completely new to me - and a great photo, too (also new to me). The title of the thread is "WWII flights To Lisbon" and that's what it was.

    I have this image in my mind of a P-38 moving swiftly along taxiways towards a take-off runway hotly pursued by a posse of six horsemen in plumed hats, all waving their sabres. It could have been a Hollywood film - it probably was.

    And do you know why the second Lightning had to land in Lisbon?
    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 2nd June 2017 at 07:59.

  26. #116
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    Thanks, but sorry I do not know the exact reason for the second P-38 flown by Capt. Jack Harman, but I would imagine fuel starvation being the reason as a P-38 could fly on one engine.
    Regards Duggy.

  27. #117
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    Thank you for your reply, Duggy. Your suggestion sounds very likely.

    The image below shows another aircraft that , in a very different way, did not reach its 'destination'.

    It's a DC-3 that was originally ordered by KLM (as PH-AXH Havik) but not delivered. The photo shows it in 1945 at Chicago Municipal Airport in the colours of United (N25675). Again it looks as though it had a starboard-side passenger door, though it's not absolutely clear. (I suppose, had it been delivered, it could have ended up on the Lisbon run).
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  28. #118
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    Another pic of it here https://www.flickr.com/photos/batman60/27678568390 when it was pressed into service. It would appear indeed a RH-door, but with the engines changed over from R-1820 to R-1830. The 1945 pic was taken just before it hit Elk Mountain just below the crest in January 1946 killing all 21 on board.

  29. #119
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    Likely completed (or converted) as a DC-3A (Pratt and Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasps) before hand-over to United...their pre-war DC-3As all seem to have had the RH door and United had corporate connections with P&W

  30. #120
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    Thank you, both ericmunk and longshot, for your contributions. I really enjoy getting additional information like that.

    The caption for the LIFE photo that ericmunk posted says that it is 43-38327 and a C-48-DO, not a designation with which I am too familiar, I have to say. The caption also says that it is c/n 2147 and a DC-3A-149H, which supports the comment made by longshot.
    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 2nd June 2017 at 10:34.

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