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Thread: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

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    Default Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Any info, please Captain Gerry Durrand whose Catalina escorted the Voodoo glider flight to the UK in 1940. He was a New Zealander by birth

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Hi Robin:

    According to Carl Christie's Ocean Bridge, the flight in question took place in mid-1943, Waco CG-4A Hadrian 'Voo-Doo' FR579 (FR580 was the reserve aircraft) and its Dakota tug departing Dorval for Prestwick via Goose Bay and BW-1 on June 24 and arriving on July 1 (Phil Butler in Air Arsenal North America quotes June 30) after 28 hours in the air. Not surprisingly, the exercise was not repeated. Christie quotes the principle Hadrian and Dakota crew member names if you are interested.

    Not clear if Durrand was a Ferry Command pilot but if he was his Ferry Command records are likely on file with DHH in Ottawa. Christie notes the support Catalina but there are no further details.

    Robert
    Last edited by robstitt; 25th October 2020 at 16:26. Reason: minor edit

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    cheers Robert. I know the Catalina went on to RAF Helensburgh as a trials aircraft

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    What was the Catalina's serial, Robin?

    Do please let me know if you find out more about Durrand. If he doesn't have a rank, as your subject line suggests, then he was most likely a civilian Ferry Command pilot.

    Robert

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Will do. The Catalina crew didn't share in the limelight following the Voodoo landing. Other ferry pilots I have managed to trace, Durrant remains elusive. The Catalina was on a 'special' ferry flight incase the Dakota and glider ditched. I don't think it was armed if they were attacked.

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Robin,

    I have my doubts about Durrand being a New Zealander, having found no record of him in my database of all known New Zealand airmen up to 1948, and wonder if you may have confused him with New Zealander Charles William Halliwell Thomson who co-piloted the Voodoo glider?

    Errol

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Robin,

    Note that you replied with the spelling ‘Durrant’...

    Robert

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    The three aircraft were:

    Dakota: FD900
    Hadrian: FR579
    Catalina: FP159

    Source:

    Peter Berry's listing: Trans-Atlantic Air Deliveries 1940-1946.

    Berry also gives July 1 as the arrival date at Prestwick.

    Robert
    Last edited by robstitt; 26th October 2020 at 01:18. Reason: Arrival date added

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Newspapers Thames Star 7 December 1933 Page 2

    THAMES TO GISBORNE. 'PLANE FROM HASTINGS. The aeroplane ZK—ACY, which flew over Thames yesterday morning, was piloted by Captain Durant, of Hastings, who had with him as a passenger Mr. L. Martin, of Gisborne, brother of Mrs. Geo. Price, Thames. The latter was paying a brief visit to see his sister. The 'plane left Hastings at 4 a.m. yesterday, arriving an hour later at Gisborne. It left there at 6 a.m. and landed at the Parawai racecourse at 9 a.m. On the return flight the 'plane took only 1 hour 50 minutes to complete the journey from Thames to Gisborne, a distance by direct air line of about 170 miles. The pilot then had to leave Gisborne for Hastings to take part in the welcome to Mr. C. T. P. Ulm in the afternoon.

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Looks likely that this is the man Robin refers to, though I have no knowledge of him being called 'Jerry' or if he is connected in any way with the 'Captain Durant' (note spelling) mentioned in Paul's post.:

    From Colin Hanson's By Such Deeds Honours and awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923 1999:

    DURRANT, Wing Commander Lindsay Edward, OBE, mid.
    NZ2379; Born Feilding, 17 Feb 1915; RAF 8 Jan 1940 to 31 Jul 1944, 910670 & 88457; RNZAF 1 Aug 1944 to 13 Jun 1946; Navigator.
    Citation Mention in Despatches (NY1945): For distinguished service and devotion to duty. Excellent service in many theatres of war has been given by this very capable officer, who enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in January 1940, as an AC2, and was commissioned as an Air Observer that same year. He saw service in Europe, Burma and the Middle East as a navigator, flying latterly on four-engined Skymasters. As a Squadron Leader, RAF he applied for transfer to the RNZAF and in August 1944, he was commissioned in the rank of Flight Lieutenant, rising to the rank of Wing Commander before he was posted to the Reserve.
    Citation Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (NY1946): This officer is employed as Group Navigation Officer. Prior to joining 229 Group he served with 179 Wing and has been mainly responsible for building up a most efficient briefing organisation along the air line and ferry routes within India. He has trained and organised a fine team of Briefing Officers throughout the Group Units. He has also produced an excellent route pamphlet for the use of crews. Wing Commander Durrant has worked unremittingly towards securing better navigational aids for transport aircraft and has succeeded in building up a safe and reliable organisation which should prove of the utmost value during the monsoon periods.
    Before joining the staff of 229 Group Wg Cdr Durrant flew one tour of operations with 21 Sqn RAF (Blenheim/Ventura) from the UK, then two tours with 45 Sqn RAF (Blenheim) in the Middle East and Burma. On 19 Nov 1941 his aircraft was shot down and forced-landed in the middle of a tank battle in the Western Desert, but the crew made their way safely back to base two days later. Died Palmerston North, 4 Apr 1999.
    ---------

    Lindsay's younger brother, Reginald Walter Durrant won the DSC while serving with the FAA during WWII.

    Errol

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