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Thread: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

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    Default RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Gents
    It is well known that following the Normandy landings, new markets opened. it was relatively easy for the airmen to get more or less contraband here and there. One of the main black market centres was Brussels. Does anybody know, what has been smuggled from and to the UK during the period? I guess watches, cameras, quality liquors made to the UK, but what was going the opposite way?
    TIA
    Franek
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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Franek

    I'm not sure this helps as it does not really answer your specific question, but my father was posted to RAF Schleswig in 1946 (Mum and I followed the following March when I was 5). Obviously far too young to remember details, but I have this memory of a young German family being extremely grateful for a tin or jar of coffee which, at the time, was simply not obtainable from other sources. I don't know what, if anything, we received in return.

    Everything was in short supply and I remember that our young dog was stolen as a source of meat. I guess what I'm saying is that it was the basic necessities of life which were in greatest demand.

    Brian

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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Franek,
    I should think that good quality Scotch Whisky was a very saleable commodity on the newly liberated Continent. Always somebody who can find the Ways & Means to "export" stuff!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Thanks Gents!
    Coffee was much sought in Germany, indeed, and one of the main sources of black market coffee was Brussels, I guess from the US Army stocks. Whisky, hmm, and the other way Cognac and Brandy. I know that Nylons were much appreciated, but I am not sure if they were available during the war, as the production restarted just after it. I am not sure if any stocks survived the war, unless there was a limited production for female military personnel. German cameras, especially Leicas sold well. I guess films and photo papers as well.
    A fascinating topic, which I do not see covered in detail. Most of newspaper reports cover the later period, though.
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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Quite a few got caught and fined very heavily . If you read “ nightfighter over Germany “ - I think - there’s quite a bit in there about post war smuggling

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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Do you mean the one by Graham White?
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    That’s the one !

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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Thanks, I have had a look. Still looking for more!
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Not really relevant here, but I still have the steel model of a Vampire presented to him by his German staff on his next posting to RAF Butzweilerhof (Cologne).

    Brian

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    Default Re: RAF contraband to and from the UK 1944-45

    Cigarettes were common currency in post-war Germany. Whether this was more a matter of individual stocks rather than contraband I don't know, but a mix appears likely.

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