15 – COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS DURING WW2

I have started my final rewrite of “An Absolute Secret” which will go to the publisher at the end of August. During the writing I noticed that I was making a mistake about civilian flights to neutral countries from England. During the war it was impossible to fly directly from London to Stockholm or to Zurich or to Madrid. Direct flights were stopped in 1940 and didn’t resume until after the war.

For instance, to get to Sweden, you had to fly BOAC from RAF Leuchars in Scotland to Stockholm through the Skagerrak (the strait between Norway and Denmark). During the war the Swedish ABA airline lost two civilian DC3s on this route which were shot down by the Germans.

To fly to Lisbon, you flew BOAC from Bristol Whitchurch or from Shannon in Ireland way out into the Atlantic Ocean to avoid enemy attacks. Remember that the actor Leslie Howard (Gone with the Wind) was killed in 1943 while on a commercial flight between Lisbon and Bristol. Howard was aboard Flight 777, a commercial BOAC DC-3 that was returning from Portugal. It was attacked by eight German Junkers Ju88 fighters and shot down in the Bay of Biscay. There were no survivors among the 17 passengers and crew aboard the plane.

Leslie Howard, actor in Gone with the Wind

 

During the war years you didn’t fly for pleasure or for a two-week holiday in the sun. It was far too dangerous.

Next time we will talk about writing historical fiction for movies.

 

 

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