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Thread: 70th Aniversary of the Berlin Blockade

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    Default 70th Aniversary of the Berlin Blockade

    My father flew the record number of sorties during the Blockade of any pilot, civilian or military, of any nationality. He flew Avro Yorks for 206 squadron.
    The story goes that my dad's CO at 206 squadron noticed that the Americans were assigning one pilot in particular to more duties than any other in order to say that their pilot had flown the most sorties of any nationality, however they were counting their flight from to berlin as one trip and their flight back as a second. Just so we weren't going to be beaten by the Americans, my dad's CO started assigning my dad the lions share of flights and made sure that he flew more sorties than them even though we were counting Wunstorf to Gatow and return as 1 trip. I believe the American pilot notched up 402 trips and so my dad ended up with 404 sorties which makes 808 in the American counting system. My dad was awarded the AFC for his part in the Airlift to go with his DFC awarded for his tour on Lancasters in 1944.
    I have often wondered that, if he had been an American pilot, he might have been as well known as Gail Halvorsen, but as he was English this record has slipped into obscurity.
    I contacted a number of air museums in Britain including Duxford who have one of the Yorks my dad flew, and none of them are planning to celebrate the anniversary with any displays or such like. I think that is a shame. I have offered to loan some of my dad photos and his airlift log book to the Allied museum in Berlin for a display to mark the occasion. I guess it was more important to the Berliners than to us

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    Forget it. Nobody cares about the past now. Even BoB Hall was demolished in a national aviation museum recently. Berlin Airlift certainly deserves a proper monography, and I would be very eager to read it. My late friend flew the first and I think the second airlift.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    BigRob,

    Far from forgetting it, people (including a few "Nobodies"), might care to take a look at your work:

    http://www.vickersvaliant.com/berlin-airlift.html

    Col.

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    Col
    Let's face it. The interest in the history is dying. There is a small group of researchers, and as they pass away, they are not replaced by new generations. I am certainly not going to denigrate Rob's work on the website, I highly applaud it and find it extremely interesting, and I would wish it got bigger and bigger.
    This is particularly valid for post-1945 history. As I am interested in post war activities of the Polish airmen, who served in various air forces and commercial companies, I find notoriously, that there is simply nobody to ask.
    Of course, we can discuss the reasons, but the facts are as they are.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Thanks for the plug of my website Col :)
    The reason I wrote it was because I had a big box of logbooks, papers and photos in my loft doing nobody any good. I realised that this information belongs to all of us and should be out the in public eye.
    There must be families of my dad's crewmates that have never seen these pictures of them or seen there name mentioned in an op, although I'm beginning to loose hope in finding anyone.
    I felt I needed to get what info I had milling about in my brain written down before I shuffled of this mortal coil and that too is lost. I wish more people would share their stuff in their loft boxes, but alas most seem to hoard it never to be seen by others. It is a shame, there is nothing sadder than an old photo in which there is no place nor person identified and no where to start looking. This will happen more and more as these hoarded loft boxes turn up in house clearances :(

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    Back in the seventies I read a book about the airlift, I can't recall which one, but it was difficult to put down.

    Thinking about lofts and history, it is a shame there is nothing in this Facebook/Twitter era that allows you to upload documents and photos that may be of interest to others. I know Flickr allows this but it is geared to photos and not the information in them. As for Log Books, they can contain more information than unit records and can fill gaps in unit histories where the compiler has not entered any detail.

    Uploading Log Books will keep them preserved as a record even if the original has long gone.

    As for history not being looked at by the new generations: This maybe true for the bigger picture but at a detailed level Family History is booming. This can only be good as people will be looking into context at some point down the line.

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    Well, this is a serious problem. Unfortunately, such documents when handed to national collections often disappear on shelves, and are not easily accessible, and sometimes fees requested for copies are prohibitive. On the other hand, if they end in private collections, they are often inaccessible, but it is still better than junk.
    I think the best solution is to make HQ scans of all the stuff, put them on the web, and pass copies to any museums and archives that could be interested. Originals could be kept with the family, gifted to a good collection or whatever you find appropriate.
    As to website, it is worth to tag pictures with plenty of details, so they could be found via search engine. An easy method of adding comments is also well seen, I often give up, if I cannot make an easy method of communication.
    BTW
    Are there any Polish names in the logs?
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Quote Originally Posted by PNK View Post
    Back in the seventies I read a book about the airlift, I can't recall which one, but it was difficult to put down.

    Thinking about lofts and history, it is a shame there is nothing in this Facebook/Twitter era that allows you to upload documents and photos that may be of interest to others. I know Flickr allows this but it is geared to photos and not the information in them. As for Log Books, they can contain more information than unit records and can fill gaps in unit histories where the compiler has not entered any detail.

    Uploading Log Books will keep them preserved as a record even if the original has long gone.

    As for history not being looked at by the new generations: This maybe true for the bigger picture but at a detailed level Family History is booming. This can only be good as people will be looking into context at some point down the line.
    Could be Bridge in the Sky by Frank Donovan, published in 1968.

    Regards

    Finn Buch

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    Many thanks, it was "Bridge in the Sky", I recognised the cover in one of the online book shop listings. I couldn't recall the title or author so didn't know what to search.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski View Post

    BTW
    Are there any Polish names in the logs?
    Franek,
    Nothing in any of his logbooks but the 206 squadron ORB's mention a couple of Polish sounding names the month before they join the airlift: Pilot 1st class Krzysztofinski and Warrant Officer Zarebski
    Also I seem to remember coming across a couple of names when my dad was flying Hurricanes for 1690BDFT but I've mislayed the ORB's somewhere at the minute.

    I need to find somewhere to move my web page to though as when I go and stop paying the current host all info will be lost forever. I wonder if the IBCC or such like would be able to host it?
    PM me if you want the 206 ORB

    Rob

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