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Post Info TOPIC: Operation Plainfare [The Berlin Airlift]


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Operation Plainfare [The Berlin Airlift]


See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Blockade



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I was nine years of age when The Berlin Airlift was underway, my father was stationed on ASF as a Flight Sergeant at RAF Upper Heyford at the time, I don't think there were Hastings in use at UH more the Avro Yorks

I am reliably informed that those Hastings that were used to ship coal to Berlin retained coal dust in various parts of the aircraft for the rest of their days

When Bob Clarke [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Clarke_(historian) ] was writing up his story for his book on the Berlin Airlift he sent me a picture of TG510 doing a 'wheels up', 510 was at this time with 47 squadron

hastings bob clarke TG510 wheels.jpg





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Hastings TG521: This aircraft had a serious accident with a truck on the ground during the Berlin Airlift where 4 people died, the aircraft was repaired see here http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=74419



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The Berlin Airlift (26th June 1948-12th May 1949) can only be regarded as one hell of a baptism for a new RAF Transport/Freighter aircraft, no sooner was the Hastings introduced into service when the Soviets had blockaded Berlin and the only way through from the West was via Air Corridors. The HP Hastings aircrews only had a few flying hours each to their credit, the ground crews likewise regarding maintenance, yet over 1300 tons of food were flown daily into Berlin by the RAF, to put this into perspective that is 65 X 20 foot shipping containers fitted onto flatbed lorries you may see on the road everyday in Britain. The flights (24 Hastings were used at the height of the crisis, 7 of them in 1948) were incessant, I know this from my own experience as I was 11 years of age at the time when my father was stationed at RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, this airfield was flying Avro York aircraft 24/7.

 

The Hastings task was to take coal and other fuel into Berlin some direct from Yorkshire airfields and some from forward positions in Western Germany, I cannot imagine the dust and mess that was created to a brand new aircraft such as this. The Berliners still remember this arduous task today and to show everyones appreciation of the work that the Hastings and its crews contributed to that effort TG503 now sits in a Berlin museum in honour of that achievement.

Hastings Squadrons involved in the Berlin Air Lift were 53, 99, 297 and 511



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1949

 

By the end of January 14 Hastings aircraft were employed in the Berlin Airlift followed by a further 10 in July.



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