Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    4,165
    Thanks
    43
    Thanked 58 Times in 57 Posts

    Default Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Hi all,
    I would like to ask if there is known which squadrons took part in transporting of Primer Minister Churchill and his staff to Yalta in January-February 1945?
    I have found he was flying on EW999 and that there were casualties in his staff after 511 Sq York MW116 ditching. But I am unable to find anything more in 511 Sq ORB and also I have found nothing in 24, 246 and Metropolitan Communication Sq ORBs.
    So am I blind or those records has been simply omitted for security reasons?

    TIA

    Pavel
    Last edited by CZ_RAF; 11th January 2021 at 21:57.
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Stockholm
    Posts
    1,265
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 50 Times in 48 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Hi Pavel,

    https://winstonchurchill.org/publica...time-journeys/

    On Christmas Eve 1944, Churchill boarded the Skymaster for Athens, where he mediated the Greek civil war. His pilot was now RAF Wing Commander “Bill” Fraser.His next important wartime trip was to the Big Three conference at Yalta in February 1945. The Skymaster flew first to Malta, and then, adding fighter escort, across Turkey and the Black Sea for the Saki airport serving Yalta. Fraser parked her next to the Sacred Cow, and both planes were guarded by the Red Army; even their crews had difficulty gaining access.
    Regards,

    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    280
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 47 Times in 43 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Not omitted for security.

    See my account for W/O William Wright, ex 211 Sqn, and one of the 511 Sqn wireless ops who lost his life in York MW116.
    In part quoting 511 Sqn Ops Record Book.

    http://www.211squadron.org/w_wright.html#511Sqn
    Sources as noted in text & Sources block

    I've now re-checked for the TNA online 511 Sqn set today.
    Missed it, somehow, Pavel. See Form 540 image 1 here
    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/D8413770
    and Form 541 image 1 here
    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/D8413771
    Couldn't spot an Appendix set though.
    I used this thread/post #3 to the TNA spreadsheet here - quick way into the TNA holdings via RH col TNA links, hover and click on the link pop-up.



    A very sad event...but one of so many such.
    Last edited by Don Clark; 11th January 2021 at 20:25.
    Toujours ŕ propos

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    4,165
    Thanks
    43
    Thanked 58 Times in 57 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Hi Don, thank you for your reply. I am sorry but it seems to me I have lay down my question incorrectly.
    Yes I have found details about York MW116 tragedy in 511 Sq ORB but I was expecting there would be more aircraft not only one with his staff and other supporting personnel? So I am looking for those others - if there were any?
    Also I have not find any record about the EW999 flight in any ORB...

    Pavel
    Last edited by CZ_RAF; 11th January 2021 at 21:57.
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    280
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 47 Times in 43 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Thanks Pavel, yes I see. Cannot help further there.

    Now EW299...that's a Liberator, 547 Squadron, a/s duties.
    EW299 lost with all aboard on 28 October 44 - F/O Lewcock & co

    That date doesn't seem to line up with Yalta (4 to 11 Feb 45) nor any other Big Three meeting in 1944. Serial no error, apparently?

    The 547 Sqn Ops Record book, tracked though the EW299 & 547 Sqn entries in the db here, records the EW299 loss on the last page of the Oct Form 540
    (summarising) as FTR from op sortie Bergen Skagerrak on an antisubmarine patrol.
    AIR 27/2034 Image at
    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ils/r/D8414923

    Not sighted as an entry in the AIR 27/2034 Form 541 daily record here.
    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ils/r/D8414924
    Last edited by Don Clark; 11th January 2021 at 21:56.
    Toujours ŕ propos

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    4,165
    Thanks
    43
    Thanked 58 Times in 57 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Sorry Don that I have wasted your time. I have not my day today:-(
    Another mistake - Churchill's C-54 had serial EW999. (I have corrected also my previous posts to prevent any further misundestandings).

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    280
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 47 Times in 43 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Quite OK, Pavel - some days, eh!

    EW999 Douglas Skymaster I (ie, aka C54) del Jun 44, Lyneham, ex 43-17126, for use of Prime Minister
    (Halley RAF Aircraft EA100 EZ999 (AB 1988))

    To VIP Flight 246 Sqn
    http://www.rafcommands.com/database/...php?uniq=EW999

    Here, by the same chain of links noted my #3 above, is the 246 Sqn ORB for Feb 45 though I think you've already looked.
    Poor Quality, only skimmed, there are entries for returns from Special Service but could not see EW999 in the murk. Wider time span check maybe?
    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/D8396807
    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/D8396808

    Besides, in a massive oversight of my own, failed to see under AlienEyes #2 brief quote, the link to ICS/Getting There
    The summary narrative, had I looked, clearly id'd EW999!

    Also, potentially more useful, includes this source:
    Lavery: Churchill Goes to War: Winston's Wartime Journeys

    Looks to be very substantial at 300+ pages & blurbed as
    "meticulously researched in terms of its historical and technical reference"
    Looks likely the Notes and Bibliography might be a real help - the snippet view doesn't get that far, of course.

    Someone here may have it, or if you've got Kindle, the price at Amazon is more reasonable...
    https://www.amazon.com.au/Churchill-...0412707&sr=8-1

    Good luck with this Pavel, feel I should have read yr & AEs posts more attentively.
    Tak zatím mějte se...
    Last edited by Don Clark; 12th January 2021 at 06:13. Reason: addnl ref more inglorious scribbling
    Toujours ŕ propos

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    280
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 47 Times in 43 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Pavel,
    Long story short, in fixing a technical hitch here, I've ended up with a working eReader and now an ePub of
    Lavery Churchill Goes to War: Winston's Wartime Journeys

    Blackboxery being what it is, I can't link or c+p text but I can t/s some relevant detail and refs at least.

    The Chapters, as you might expect are in more or less narrative style and focussed much on WSC & the senior staff etc.

    However, in the Yalta ch I did spot some more detail arising in the section on the loss of York MW116.

    "Ch XVII The Ways to Yalta

    ...Two Yorks were ready at Northolt in the morning of the 31st to take passengers to Malta.
    EW623 took off on time but EW617 had engine trouble and could not go.
    However there was another aircraft, MW116, which was getting ready at Lyneham..."

    EW623: Liberator, 232 Squadron
    EW617: Liberator, 246 Sqn then 232 Sqn (no dates)
    Squadrons are not listed in the text or Index - I checked Halley RAF Aircraft EA100-EZ999 re the Liberators.

    I regret to add that (quite apart from the complex relationship between 232 and 246 Sqn late 44- early 45)
    the 232 Sqn Summary (Form 540) at AIR 27/1428/73 is, to my eyes, effectively illegible for the period of interest, if probably entirely irrelevant anyway.
    Finally, on 246 Sqn I checked the Appendices set: AIR 27/1486 again near illegible assessment of Halifax development and irrelevant.

    Notes & Bibliography
    Refs to the following TNA AIR files for this Ch
    AIR 8/841 Accident to York Lampedusa
    AIR 20/313 Operation ARGONAUT
    AIR 29/475 Airfield at Saki
    among other refs
    These files I take it remain inaccessible under current pandemic restrictions

    That's about all I can find, in agreeing with Pavel that the records re other Yalta flights remain elusive for whatever reason.
    Still, just perhaps some of the above of some little assistance...
    Last edited by Don Clark; 14th January 2021 at 06:22. Reason: AIR 27/1428 illegible
    Toujours ŕ propos

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    4,165
    Thanks
    43
    Thanked 58 Times in 57 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Don thank you very much!
    I was able to find both EW617 and EW623 in 246 Sq ORB even it is really poor scan! And also two more Liberators!

    Thank you also for TNA references, unfortunately due to the term of my research + actual closure I will be not able to check them.

    Anyway what I have found so far is enough for me so thank you once more for pointing me into the right direction!

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    7,025
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 133 Times in 127 Posts

    Default Re: Churchill and his staff trip to Yalta Jan-Feb 1945

    Hello,

    The following will give you some idea of the effort required to get the team to and from Yalta:

    From Brian Lavery's, Churchill goes to war.

    p.332.

    Aircraft began to converge on the field (Saki), from Malta, Naples and Athens. For security reasons each had to fly over the control tower, make a 90 degree turn to identify himself to the Soviet anti-aircraft gunners, then land. Twenty four engine planes landed in a space of five hours, all within seconds of their estimated time of arrival. Over the course of the day there were 13 British transport aircraft carrying 139 passengers and 70 crew, and ten American with 120 passengers and 80 crew. Among them was Churchill's Skymaster EW299. Jack Payne (flight engineer), struggled with the block and tackle arrangement used to lower the aircraft's steps, and the party disembarked.

    p.345 (14 Feb, 1945).

    Churchill inspected a large guard of honour of 200 NKVD troops, using his usual method of looking each man straight in the eye. At midday they were in the air, heading for Athens.
    With the departure of EW 999 [sic], Staging Post 150 could begin to wind up its operations, even though there were still a dozen American Dakotas and Skymasters waiting to leave. They calculated that in all they handled 120 British and 152 American aircraft movements, including 20 dispatch-carrying Mosquitoes, three dozen Skymasters, 52 Dakotas and 20 Yorks.

    See:
    Churchill goes to war Winston's Wartime Journeys
    Lavery,Brian.
    London:Conway,2007.
    pp.332 & 345.

    And from, Churchill's Navigator:

    The call we expected we expected surely came when we learned that another 'Big Three' conference was in the offing, code-named Operation Argonaut. Stalin would not leave Russian soil whilst there were still Germans on his land, and so once again we would be going to him. At our preliminary planning meeting in Westminster, we discovered that as well as our Skymaster, the four aircraft that now comprised the York Flight would also be used, including Ascalon which was now under the command of Squadron Leader Ozzie Morris* and his 511 Squadron crew our out of Lyneham.

    * https://www.theguardian.com/film/201.../oswald-morris

    See:
    Churchill's Navigator.
    Mitchell,John Air Commodore, LVO, DFC, AFC, with Sean Feast.
    London:Grub Street,2010.
    p.124.

    Incidentally, the correct TNA reference for the Operation ARGONAUT file is AIR 20/2313, not AIR 20/313.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 15th January 2021 at 05:42.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •