Hello All,

The Davidstow Link (https://archive.is/www.rafdavidstowmoor.org in another thread) has opened a sort of Ali Baba’s Cave for me! I am currently re-investigating ferry flights from Portreath to Gibraltar. There is much info in the Crash Logs. Some support my putative theories, but some torpedo them below the waterline! It was ever thus!

One entry, though, caught my eye. It was:-

14/07/1942 Bristol Beaufort II AW307 1 OADU RAF Portreath on a ferry flight to Gibraltar had engine failure and ditched off Motril, Spain.

I had assumed(!!!) that Motril, Spain, was either north of the Spanish/Portuguese border, or east of the Portuguese/Spanish border but before Tangier and the Straits of Gibraltar. Wrong! When I checked, Motril turned out to be nearly 100nm east of Gibraltar? Now these UK>Gib ferry flights tended to take off around midnight so as to avoid the Luftwaffe on the Brest Peninsular, and arrive at Gib in daylight. AW307 seems to have overshot Gib by some considerable amount! – what was the Nav doing? This is on the assumption that the ferry flights respected Spanish/Portuguese “neutrality”, and went the ‘sea route’ keeping 12nm from neutral coastline(s)?

Question? Did some ignore the neutrality bit and overfly Spain directly to approach Gib from the east? It shortens the flight-path/time by quite a bit! If AW307 had done the coast route then, if my calculations are any good, he would have been flying “on the fumes” as far as fuel consumption was concerned!

Is there a simple answer to this - or is it a 'can of worms'?

Peter Davies