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  • longshot
    Rank 5 Registered User

    WWII Flights To Lisbon

    ericmunk.... There's a great one on the BOAC Lissabon line too: Sluipvluchten naar Lissabon by Ad van Ommen. Also details some Lib ops, lots of photos too.
    longshot..... Does Sluipvluchten naar Lissabon have much detail (and photos?)of the operations to Lisbon-Sintra grass airfield which was used by the short-lived KLM direct Portugal service from the Netherlands April/May 1940, then by the BOAC/KLM service until October 1942?
    ericmunk*.......Yes, Longshot. To some extent. It details the entire war and post-war ops of KLM's DC-3's. Starting with the 5 DC-3's and 1 DC-2 that met up in the UK. One had escaped from Schiphol on May 13th, 1940 (PH-ALI), another was stranded in the UK on May 10th, 1940 on a regular commercial flight (PH-ARZ). PH-ALR and PH-ARB were inbound and outbound on the East India route and were flown to the UK in mid May 1940. PH-ARW and DC-2 PH-ALE were in Lissabon on May 10th, 1940 and were flown to the UK instead of Schiphol.The book greatly details the politics behind the start of the Lissabon line from firsthand interviews with all involved. This includes financial arrangements, and the like.On Sintra, it says that Parmentier (chief of the Lissabon line) was unhappy with the field. He found it short, and the grass strip was very often boggy after rain. He campaigned in vain to fly on Espinho near Porto, a grass strip too but more useable after wet weather. Alverca and Ota were in use as deviation fields in bad weather or low fuel.Inbound flights to the UK left from Sintra. It was usually done with a limited amount of fuel in bad airfield conditions, for a short hop to Porto where it was fueled for the trip across the Bay of Biscany. Outbound flight sometimes landed in Porto, but only by exception.Sintra is surrounded by hills, and had a weather system of its own. Tricky apporaches. Weather forecasts in England on Portugal were non-existant in 1940 and early 1941 and one KLM flight limped into Porto in the midst of a full-blown hurricane. The winter of 1940/1941 wreaked havoc with flight schedules, also due to wet and boggy conditions at Whitchurch and Sintra. Chivenor and Porto were used instead in some cases. Radio-ops at Sintra were very unreliable. It did have have a great butcher's shop near the airfield where the crew bought wholesale to bring back as luggage to the UK! Crews overnighted in the Grand Hotel in Lissabon.Alverca BTW was short too. Two runways of only 500 and 600 metres. This against the 900 metres the USAAF used as a guide for C-47 ops on landing... KLM was the only operator around in those days that standard did 3-pointer landings that required only 500 metres, this against a 2-pointer requiring 200-300 metres more depending on speed.
    Last edited by longshot; 29th April 2017, 22:49.
  • longshot
    Rank 5 Registered User

    #2
    ( ericmunk.....Another two books (in Dutch): Londen of Berlijn, by Jan Hagens. THis extremely well-researched two-book series details the entire history of all KLM ops and pilots during 1939-1945. It includes the Lissabon line, some info on the RFS, but also the West Indies and East Indies operations)

    The little known direct overwater flights by orange painted DC-3s from Amsterdam to Portugal just before Holland was invaded have always fascinated me. They enabled a route from Holland (and, theoretically Germany) to New York by connecting with the new Clipper service

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    • longshot
      Rank 5 Registered User

      #3
      American ambassador arrives 1941 (from Lisbon) https://youtu.be/t27RTNYY-4I
      Last edited by longshot; 30th April 2017, 00:15.

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      • longshot
        Rank 5 Registered User

        #4
        KLM DC-3s at Schiphol in neutrality orange as used to Shoreham (for London) and the short-lived direct Amsterdam to Portugal route in 1940 https://www.flickr.com/photos/8270787@N07/16476630568

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        • ianwoodward9
          Rank 5 Registered User

          #5
          It was a good idea to separate this thread out from the "BOAC/Liberator/Prestwick/Return Ferry Service" thread.

          The links above were great. If you followed one of them through, you came upon this colour image of G-AGBE (ex:PH-ARZ), which crashed in France on 18 November 1946:
          Attached Files

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          • adrian_gray
            Which idiot let HIM in?

            #6
            G-AGOZ in the background looks like a Whitley, but what on earth is the other aircraft to the right of the image with the upturned tailplane?

            Adrian
            "Snow clearing equipment has been found under snowdrift" - message sent from RNAS Hatston, Orkney, 1944.

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            • longshot
              Rank 5 Registered User

              #7
              The puzzling upturned dark area is actually the shadow of the starboard fin projected on the blanked off tail turret of that BOAC Whitley, the distant one is G-AGDZ. More tantalizing is the taildragger type just visible under the DC-3...it's a camouflaged BOAC DH Albatross (Frobisher class)...

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              • ianwoodward9
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #8
                The presence of the Whitleys in BOAC colours and the sunshine suggest the summer of 1942. The Whitleys were 'civlianised' in April-May 1942 and returned to the RAF in January 1943. They worked the Gibraltar-Malta route until August 1942 and two of them were then allocated to the Stockholm Run from mid-August for about 4 - 6 weeks.

                EDIT: Sorry, I should have been more specific - it was G-AGDZ that was returned to the RAF in January 1943 along with 'GEA and 'GEB. Other Whitleys were returned to the RAF later in 1943.

                FURTHER NOTE: Peter Moss stated that the BOAC Whitleys, having been first allocated to the UK-Lagos route (engines over-heated in the tropics), flew the Gibraltar-Malta night run from 11 June 1942 until 2 August 1942 but as a stop-gap arrangement when Rommel overran Gambut in the Western Desert, where the Cairo-based Lodestars had refuelled on the Malta service. From 3 August 1942, the Whitleys were restricted to the UK-Gibraltar run.
                Last edited by ianwoodward9; 3rd May 2017, 10:19.

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                • ianwoodward9
                  Rank 5 Registered User

                  #9
                  By the way, is that Whitchurch, does anybody know?

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                  • longshot
                    Rank 5 Registered User

                    #10
                    Yes, Whitchurch ca.1942...
                    Interesting couple of ramp shots at Lisbon during rare snow, 1945?
                    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Ae...mgrc=_&spf=168

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                    • longshot
                      Rank 5 Registered User

                      #11
                      BOAC/KLM used a DC-2 on the UK-Lisbon service in addition to the DC-3s...rare photo of it here (1943ish....note the interned P-39 parked behind)
                      https://www.flickr.com/photos/biblar...29233/sizes/o/

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                      • ianwoodward9
                        Rank 5 Registered User

                        #12
                        Thanks for those images, longshot.

                        Are you able to scan any interesting images from those Dutch books, ericmunk?

                        Meanwhile, this colour drawing comes from the modellers' page of an old copy of FLYING REVIEW (around early-mid 1960s). It was probably the first time that I was aware of neutrality colours. The author was trying to encourage modellers to look beyond using just WWII camouflage for their models and presented a page of colourful DC-3 drawings but, sadly, without any more commentary than you see below. The registration of the printed colours is not that exact but I thought it worthy of inclusion here.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by ianwoodward9; 3rd May 2017, 14:36.

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                        • ianwoodward9
                          Rank 5 Registered User

                          #13
                          I believe that this image of DC-3 PH-ALI, taken at Croydon before WWII, shows KLM's colours (or lack thereof) prior to the adoption of the neutrality markings shown above:
                          Attached Files

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                          • ianwoodward9
                            Rank 5 Registered User

                            #14
                            As noted earlier and shown in the image above, the passenger door on KLM's DC-3s was on the starboard side.

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                            • ericmunk
                              Rank 5 Registered User

                              #15
                              Yes, the KLM DC-2's and DC-3's were polished aluminium until September 1939. The lack of paint was an economically motivated choice: less weight equals more payload. The incident with the Mees in September 1939 was the reason Danish, Swedish, Belgian and Dutch authorities adopted the orange neutral-scheme with large black lettering over the windows and under the wings to avoid a repeat of incidents.

                              The incident of the Mees on September 26th, 1939 involved a regular flight from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. It was attacked over the Northsea 120 km from Helgoland by a Luftwaffe Heinkel (115) seaplane. Three crew and nine passengers. The Mees was piloted by Jan Moll (later captain in the RFS, see the other thread), and he managed to take evasive action and escape the attacker. A 38-year old Swedish civil engineer called O.R. Lamm was fatlly injured in the attack, which left 65 bullet strikes on the aircraft. Photos here: http://www.hdekker.info/Nieuwe%20map/1939.htm In his autobiography Jan Moll also vividly describes the incident, which they were lucky to get away with (fuel tanks holed, propeller blades hit, elevator cables severed save one thread of steel).

                              The orange colour scheme also meant that quite a lot of KLM aircraft were destroyed in the German bombardments of Schiphol in May 1940 as they stood out quite well against the green grass background. The military aircraft on the field fared a lot better.

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                              • longshot
                                Rank 5 Registered User

                                #16
                                I believe the attack on PH-ASM Mees was also the reason for fitting automotive style rear view mirrors as in the camouflaged photo of Zilverreiger post#5.
                                Interesting1945? KLM/Fokker/DC-3 photo just went through ebay...RH aircraft is a pre-war DC-3 being sign-written after removal of wartime paint , LH is a Dakota. http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/yZcAAO...Rl/s-l1600.jpg
                                Last edited by longshot; 3rd May 2017, 22:34.

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                                • ericmunk
                                  Rank 5 Registered User

                                  #17
                                  Good selection of prewar Schiphol photos here: http://beeldbank.amsterdam.nl/beeldb..._van=1935-1941

                                  This is the Amsterdam city archive.

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                                  • ericmunk
                                    Rank 5 Registered User

                                    #18
                                    There's a fair number of photos in Jan Hagens's books. G-AGBE in front of the hangar at Whitchurch with technicians working inside on another DC-3. An image of a piece of mail carried by KLM through Lisbon. The raising of the flag at Whitchurch on 31 August 1942 by a small group of people to celebrate the Dutch Queen's birthday. With a DC-3 lurking in the background. The Duke of Kent awarding a medal to captain Tepas on 6 February 1942. An interior shot of the station master's office at Whitchurch, Pilots in front of a DC-3 posing. Close-up of the rearview mirrors fitted to all DC-3s after the first dogfight enroute. Damage to the Ibis in November 1942 following another interception. The first landing of an international airline on the new Lisbon airfield (G-AGBD) on 15 October 1942. Engineers loading liferafts on the Buizerd. 1000th flight group pose on 18 April 1944. Group photo of the 1944 ground crew staff at Whitchurch. Engineer working on a DC-3 engine at Whitchurch. DC-3 taxyiing at Whitchurch. Plus several chapter of personal stories and interviews on the KLM in England during the War.

                                    Ad van Ommen's book has pictures of KLM pilots riding their bikes through Bristol. Groups photos of ground crews. ROute charts. That kind of stuff.

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                                    • ianwoodward9
                                      Rank 5 Registered User

                                      #19
                                      Thanks for the additional information, ericmunk, and for the link.

                                      My memory is that KLM took a unilateral decision regarding the 'neutrality' paint scheme - its design and application - and suggested that the other neutral airlines do the same. ABA and SABENA followed the suggestion but, at first, DDL did not. A little later, however, the British authorities made it a condition of agreeing to DDL flights into the UK (to Shoreham, I think) and DDL then complied. DDL continued to use the same 'neutrality' paint scheme throughout the rest of the war.

                                      There is a well-known photograph of aircraft from three of those four airlines wearing their neutrality colours at Schiphol. I'm sure you'll all have seen it but, in case not, I'll try to find, scan and post it here later
                                      Last edited by ianwoodward9; 3rd May 2017, 23:18.

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                                      • adrian_gray
                                        Which idiot let HIM in?

                                        #20
                                        The puzzling upturned dark area is actually the shadow of the starboard fin projected on the blanked off tail turret of that BOAC Whitley, the distant one is G-AGDZ
                                        Thank you longshot, much appreciated!

                                        Adrian
                                        "Snow clearing equipment has been found under snowdrift" - message sent from RNAS Hatston, Orkney, 1944.

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