The Express arriving soon...

Currently at Goose Bay waiting to head across 'the Pond', ten years after TF-51 "Miss Velma" made her journey, is P-51B "Berlin Express" flown by Lee Lauderbeck. Scheduled to arrive on 4th July at Duxford in preparation for Flying Legends 2017.

After departing Texas on June 28, Lauderback will pilot the “Berlin Express” to Paducah, Kentucky, Dunkirk, New York, Bangor, Maine, Goose Bay, Canada, Narsarsuaq, Greenland, Keflavik, Iceland and Wick, Scotland before arriving at Duxford Airfield.

Image Stallion 51

It will be nice to see a "B" model with the Malcolm Hood in the UK - a personal favourite of mine. 

The progress of Berlin Express and her KingAir escort/support aircraft can be followed here - LINK

Photo updates can be viewed on Ed Shipley's FB page - LINK

Hopefully Ed Shipley won't suffer being fog bound in Wick for days as happened in 2007!


On this day...

As it's Armed Forces 'weekend', an entry from the logbook of Sqn Ldr John Niven DFC*, OC 485 (NZ) Sqn - 

June 25 1944, Spitfire IXB NH321, Target Support Cover, 1hr 50m, 0815hrs - Patrolled 20000' Abbeville, Amiens area covering 3 gaggles - 100 Halifaxes, 100 Lancasters. 100 Halifaxes - Noballs at Gorenflos + Montorgueil. Intense flak. 2 Halifaxes collided + exploded in last gaggle. Bombed on target indicators dropped by Mosquitos + Lancasters. 1st lot good, 2nd + 3rd indifferent.

 ("Noball" – attacks on V-weapons launch sites and related targets.)

From Wikipedia - 
June 25, 1944323 aircraft - 202 Halifaxes, 106 Lancasters, 15 Mosquitos - of Nos 1, 4, 6 and No 8 Group attacked 3 flying bomb sites. The weather was clear and it was believed that all 3 raids were accurate. 2 Halifaxes of No 4 Group were lost from the raid on the Montorgueil site. No 617 Squadron sent 17 Lancasters, 2 Mosquitos and 1 Mustang to bomb the Siracourt flying-bomb store.

S/L Johnny Niven (centre) with other 485(NZ) pilots in front of NH321


Mossie for East Kirkby!

New Home for De Havilland Mosquito HJ711 Following many years residence at its current home of the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Tony Agar plans to move his de Havilland Mosquito NF.II HJ711 to a new home at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. The move will be taking place by November, and planning for the move is already underway. Information on the move, including, for those who would like to be present to welcome HJ711 to her new home, when it will take place will be found on the HJ711 Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Mossiehj711 on the Mossie.org website at http://www.mossie.org/HJ711 or on the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre website at http://www.lincsaviation.co.uk closer to the move date.

More at http://www.lincsaviation.co.uk/news/latest-news/de-havilland-mosquito-hj711-coming-to-east-kirkby.htm


73 years ago my uncle landed...

An extract from the memoirs of my uncle, 7941218 Trooper Jones R, Driver/Mechanic in 'B' Squadron, 24th Lancers who was involved in the D-Day landings - 

"We went from Milford to a holding camp at Winchester where we fed by the Americans but had the chance to explore one of England's oldest cities. After one false start we went to Southampton and embarked in a whale of a ship called the "John I. Jones", an American owned and manned ship. Ours was the last tank to board. The food was American and strange to my tastes, things like peaches and meat, a spoonful of potatoes and a little bread. Gallons of coffee. They were very kind to us for the four days we were on board.One day the heavy guns of the Navy were enough to deafen anyone and the air was filled with aircraft in their thousands going back and forth. By two o'clock the ship had gone as near the shore as she could and we waited while a large raft came alongside and started loading. The lorries first of all, then the tanks. We drove slowly on to the barge in case it capsized. The raft was so long the helmsman had great difficulty in keeping it heading for the shore, but land was slowly getting nearer. The co-driver and I were sealed in and eventually the order came "Start up, Taff" and into the water we went and slowly drove on to dry land. I believe our tank was the first of our regiment to land. We landed at 6.30 on June 6th. Our D-Day had arrived!What was the reaction? Fear certainly with the heart pounding away. The bodies floating in the sea were proof that this was no child's play, but you had to hide your fears and listen carefully to the tank commander's directions as we were still under seal and could see very little ourselves. The vision through the periscope was minimal and we had to rely on someone who could see what was going on. I saw a row of men coming to meet us with their hands on their heads - these were the first POWs for me to see. We went out of the village into a large field to wait for the regiment to assemble. In the next field a cow lay feet up to show that everything was endangered here."

This day 73 years ago...

Image courtesy Niven Family
73 years ago S/L John Niven DFC*, OC 485 (NZ) Squadron, spent the day flying Spitfire MkIXB MK862 on "Beachhead Patrol" - his logbook entries for the day...

05.35 First day fighters on patrol. Cloud over coast 7/10 1500' & hazy. Our troops approaching shore for first landing. Warships bombarding shore & Le Havre. Patrolled out to sea. No flak, no Huns.
10.35 Weather improved slightly. Landings made in St.Aubin area. Transports & tanks ashore. Heavy shelling from ships. Patrolled 1-6000'. No air activity.
18.50 Weather over beaches very clear with high cloud. Masses of bombers heading inland. Many gliders on ground near Bavent. Terrific bombing SE Caen. (Badly knocked about) On way home passed glider train stretching from Le Havre - 10 m. S Worthing.