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Thread: 1943-45 Mediterranean Transport Services MATS/216 Group

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    Default 1943-45 Mediterranean Transport Services MATS/216 Group

    All,

    I'm looking for information on the transport services operated in the Mediterranean area by various RAF/SAAF/USAAF squadrons between 1943 and 1945. I believe that initially these were organised by 216 Group RAF involving 117, 216 and 267 Squadrons. Following Operation Torch and the appearance of USAAF 34TCS and 43TCS, a new organisation called MATS (Mediterranean Air (or Allied) Transport Service) was formed in July 1943 as a joint RAF/USAAF activity. Subsequently, the USAAF units moved to the UK, 117 & 267 Sq moved to India and their place was taken by 28 and 44 Sq SAAF. Between them they operated a network of regular (routine) transport services in North Africa and places further north, changing with the Allies' progress in the Mediterranean area.

    I am looking for a listing of these routine schedules with their service numbers - 216 Group allocated 3-letter codes (e.g. MCA Cairo W - El Adem - Malta - Tunis, daily; source AIR 27/1360 Oct 43), whereas MATS allocated service numbers, usually with a separate number for each direction (e.g. 478 Castel Benito - Malta - Catania - Naples, daily, with return numbered 479 - source AIR 27/340/1 SAAF 28 Sq). Some of the squadron ORB's refer to 'the latest timetable' suggesting that something of this nature must have existed at the time.

    It is possible that some information exists in TNA files AIR 51/178 and AIR 51/179, although I have not been able to view these microfilmed files at Kew. I note there was some dialogue on this Forum back in 2016 about the MAAF microfilm files in AIR 51 and I wonder if any progress has been made since then?

    Any information gratefully received.
    Alan

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    Default Re: 1943-45 Mediterranean Transport Services MATS/216 Group

    Don't think 2 Wing SAAF (31 & 4 Sqd) post June '45 - end '45 would have been included but they were involved in Prisoner/Troop repatriations with their Lib BMkVI's primarily to UK on a ad hoc basis

    PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)

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    Default Re: 1943-45 Mediterranean Transport Services MATS/216 Group

    No. 24 Sqn RAF (not SAAF) often flew from England with Hudsons and Dakotas.
    No. 28 Sqn SAAF took over "regular" lines (as Casablanca-Gibraltar-Oran-Algiers) from No. 512 Sqn RAF in November 1943. In May 1945 No. 28 Sqn SAAF was complete at Maison Blanche, and in June has detached 4 planes with 6 crews for the Cairo West-Kisumu line.
    No. 44 Sqn SAAF flew from February 1945 regularly 3 times a week Bari-Vis island, later extended to Prkos (Zadar, Croatia), plus many trips to Zemun, Sofia, Budapest etc.
    No. 187 Squadron RAF flew from Bari in 1945-46 (and Poona, Mauripur, Merryfield, Almaza, Membury, Schwechat, and Netheravon).
    Zoran

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    Default Re: 1943-45 Mediterranean Transport Services MATS/216 Group

    Zoran,
    Many thanks for your information. I hadn't realised that No. 187 Sq were operating from Bari in 1945, so I shall have to look at the ORB.
    I have information on the other squadrons already. The Casablanca-Gibraltar-Oran-Algiers service was MATS nos. 62 (out) and 63 (return) when operated by No. 512 Sq. As you say, it was transferred to No. 28 Sq. SAAF with a slightly revised route of Casablanca-Rabat-Gibraltar-Algiers and given MATS service nos. 370 and 371. This route also has a 216 Group reference of NAS.
    Many of these services and routes can be found in the respective squadron ORB's, but whether these are complete is unknown to me.
    I was hoping to locate a summary list of services or timetable (e.g. in AIR 51), but in the meantime I shall carry on working through the individual squadron ORB's.
    Alan

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