View Full Version : BOAC Mosquitoes

4th Aug 2009, 11:25
Ladies and gentlemen.

I seek information about the BOAC operations to Sweden using Mosquitoes.

My father, now long dead, was assigned to the rather innocuous Pay Corps as a Private, when he joined up in 1939. He finished up doing some rather odd things, in some rather odd Units, as the war progressed. He had a fund of very tall stories about happenings in Northern Europe towards the end of the war. I confess that during his life I treated his tales with a measure of scepticism. He claimed, for instance, that he had seen a V1 missile fitted with a cockpit; clearly nonsense, until I read that such things existed, and found a photograph of such a machine in his possessions after he died. He also claimed to have been strafed by a jet aircraft; also clearly nonsense, until I read that a few Me 262s had been equipped for ground attack.

Finally – and this is the point of my message – he claimed to have flown in the bomb-bay of a Mosquito, carrying a box containing something precious. Again, clearly nonsense, until one reads of the Leuchars – Stockholm service; so he may have been telling the truth. His description of the flight experience, complete with oxygen mask, certainly rings true. However, to the best of my knowledge, he was never stationed in Scotland, and operated from 1944 to early 1946 in Belgium, Holland, and Northern Germany.

Could he have made such a flight? Once the Allied invasion had become established, was a Mosquito service established across the Baltic from Northern Germany?


Lightning Mate
4th Aug 2009, 13:14
Hello yarnsplicer.

A book by Gann mentions a number of pilots.

He mentions BOAC Captain John Henry White who in January of 44 flew from Stockholm to Scotland, then back to Stockholm and again back to Scotland for a total of 9 hours, 36 minutes flying time with only 45 minutes on the ground, making three crossings through enemy skies, all at night and all by hand flying on instruments.

He also details a flight by F/O Gilbert Rae in a Mark VI who with his Radio Op named Payne, was flying a passenger in the bomb bay. They were jumped by FW 190s and he is able to outrun them and escape to Scotland. There is comment about the lack of exhaust shrouds gives him extra MPH that probably saved him.

Try here:

www.abebooks.com (http://www.abebooks.com)


Captain Airclues
4th Aug 2009, 13:42
The Mosquitoes were operated by BOAC on the "Ball-bearing run" from Stockholm and Satenas in Sweden to Leuchars in Scotland. The ball-bearings, vital to the war effort were carried directly over enemy territory as the Mossie could outrun the German fighters.

Thirteen Mosquitoes were operated by BOAC, of which five crashed (not due to enemy action). They were HJ898, HJ985 and LR524 (not given civilian registrations, as well as G-AGFV, G-AGGC, G-AGGD, G-AGGE, G-AGGF, G-AGGG, G-AGGH, G-AGKO, G-AGKP and G-AGKR.

GD, GF, GG and KP crashed on landing or approach. KR went missing over the North Sea in August 1944.


4th Aug 2009, 13:50
The Ernest Gann book is Ernest K Ganns Flying Circus 1976 Isbn 0340206934 which has a chapter entitiled The Ball Bearing Airline. Also worth looking for is "Merchant Airmen" the offical WW2 civil aviation history 1946 which has a chapter on these operations including the picture of the accommodation shown here...........


4th Aug 2009, 14:20
The atomic physicist Niels Bohr was extracted from neutral Sweden, after escaping from occupied Denmark, via this method in 1943. The story goes (from Wikipedia) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niels_Bohr#Tube_Alloys):

Passengers on BOAC's Mosquitos were carried in an improvised cabin in the bomb bay. The flight almost ended in tragedy as Bohr did not don his oxygen equipment as instructed, and passed out at high altitude. He would have died had not the pilot, surmising from Bohr's lack of response to intercom communication that he had lost consciousness, descended to a lower altitude for the remainder of the flight. Bohr's comment was that he had slept like a baby for the entire flight.

4th Aug 2009, 15:15
They were HJ898, HJ985 and LR524 (not given civilian registrationsI thought that the Mossies had to fly with civvie registrations and be identified as BOAC rather than RAF flights due to Sweden's strict neutrality during WW2. I think they were unarmed for the same reason. How did they get away with the RAF serials on those three or did they fly somewhere other than Sweden?

Captain Airclues
4th Aug 2009, 15:28

Those three were Mosquito T Mk 111's, the training version, with dual controls. They did not fly on operations but were only used for training.


PS. HJ985 was used Nov 1943 to Jan 1944, LR524 was used Feb 1944 to Dec 1944 and HJ898 was used April 1945 to May 1945.

4th Aug 2009, 16:37
Another reference says that the Mosquito service was terminated on November 30 1944 as it was considered safe to use DC-3s during the extended winter nights.

4th Aug 2009, 16:57
There were apparently some RAF Mosquito courier flights previous to the BOAC ones.
"Mosquito" by Sharp and Bowyer mentions DK292 in August 1942.All markings were removed and they crew wore civvies.

4th Aug 2009, 17:20
There are several accounts around of the "ball-bearing" Mosquito runs from Leuchars. They took cash eastbound (only this was acceptable, presume US dollars) and brought the bearings westbound from the factory. This achieved two things. Firstly it made them available to UK manufacturers. Secondly, and probably more important, it deprived the Nazis of getting them for their own production.

I wonder why they had to take a passenger with them ? Could the aircrew not hand over the cash and do the paperwork ? Does this cash handling fit with what the Pay Corps did ? Concerned the crew would abandon the aircraft and make off with the money in neutral territory ?

4th Aug 2009, 17:40
BOAC used almost every type in their fleet on this route,Lockheed 14,Hudson,Whitley,CW-20,Dakota,York and Liberator.
It is almost tragic that a complete history of BOAC wartime operations was never written.

4th Aug 2009, 21:16
Thank you all. It's tragic that this little episode of the war has not been properly recognised. For me. it's even more of a regret, because it seems that no-one knows if there was an operation over the Baltic from Germany in 1945. A special thank you to One11 for the picture; this fits exactly with what my father described - I can FEEL the trapped little space. It was the only flight he ever made, in all his life. He said that, in turbulence, the movement of the aeroplane was such that he could see the water below, as the bomb bay doors flexed. Lost memories.

5th Aug 2009, 16:58
yarnsplicer - thanks for bringing this subject up. I hope someone's memory is eventually jogged about Germany as it certainly seems very possible that your father was telling it exactly how it was. You are not alone in leaving it too late to find out more about the stories that were handed down to you - there are so many (less exciting but still interesting to me) things I wish I had asked my father more about and we will be in good company there, I'm sure.

On a technical note - does anyone know roughly what quantity of ball bearings they were able to carry in a Mossie? I know they're small things individually but I would have imagined the British war effort would have needed some fairly serious amounts of them. Where/how did the Americans get theirs?

If the Americans had their own domestic supply, which presumably would have also been available to the UK, then it was definitely an issue of depriving the Germans of having them rather than British need as such.

In the (almost unthinkable) event of a repeat performance in this modern globalised world of ours this sort of issue would probably bring most countries to their knees quicker than actual hostilities as so much essential production and know how is now centralised in isolated specialist centres in much the way as the Swedes had the near monopoly on European ball bearings back then.

5th Aug 2009, 20:32
It was the only flight he ever made, in all his life

Assuming this did not mean a return flight it begs the question of how your father got back and maybe supports the idea that the flight was from other than Leuchars.

5th Aug 2009, 22:48
Thank you for your kind and human remarks. Regrets when the previous generation passes away before we, young and superior, have deigned to listen to them.....affects us all, I guess.

I suppose my account was less than rigorous. I never challenged him about a round trip, but the "feel" was always that it was a trip across the Baltic and back. He said that he carried a box of money, by the way.

6th Aug 2009, 09:03
I know they're small things individually but I would have imagined the British war effort would have needed some fairly serious amounts of them. Where/how did the Americans get theirs?
There are some substantial bearing manufacturers in the USA, of course, of which the Timken Corp from Ohio was probably the market leader at the time. Likewise in Britain, and presumably Germany. The point about SKF in Sweden is that they were one of the largest manufacturers but with a very limited home market, so unlike the others they worked mostly for export. Thus they had a substantial capacity which the sudden wartime demands formed a ready market for.

6th Aug 2009, 12:12
They flew from UK to Sweden, in camo with civil registrations and the odd 'speedbird' on the tail - now and again, when required they flew couriers and agents on the outward track and returned with ball bearings and any other small cargo needed, or agents. This is not personal knowledge but arises from an interest in this odd little operation that has been with me for over fifty years, the reference to exhaust stubbs is correct, in the later years they removed the exhaust stub baffles that hid the flames and gained another 16mph, which allowed them still to have the edge over the nightfighters. - This is a shot of one of the early ones (Rescued from a BOAC unit clear out! - in with a load of Imperial Airways junk!!).

Now - of course - as a totally new member, I find that I do not know how to attach the photo - would someone please be kind enough to tell me the method. Many Thanks.

6th Aug 2009, 12:24
Hmm as an ex-pat now living in Stockholm I feel the urge to go root around in the various archives here to see what I can find on these flights. BTW, wasn't one of the Ball Bearing Bombers actually on show at Hendon for a while?

6th Aug 2009, 12:36
Try this for size. Probing further, I now see that the old man was stationed in Antwerp for a short time, and we all know what they do rather well in Antwerp.

Did the UK sometimes pay the Swedes for ball bearings with diamonds?

6th Aug 2009, 12:45
As I also do not know how to paste photos onto the site I will just post this web site, which has a picture of BOAC Mossie G-AGFV

Image: BOAC Mosquito. MAP (http://www.historyofaircargo.com/i-BOAC-Mosquito.-MAP.html)

Lightning Mate
6th Aug 2009, 16:13
Entaxei & Brit312,

Just leaving work now, but will try to PM you both this evening re. image posting.


6th Aug 2009, 16:27
An uncle of mine, now long gone, went to Sweden in the bomb bay of a Mossie. Never knew what for but all I know is he was deinitely a radio operator and had his set with him.

6th Aug 2009, 21:45
You should consult the BA Museum & Archives. They have some information on these BOAC operations and I know they have done some research for others on this topic. I suggest you start by e-mailing a query to [email protected] They should be able to gather some material together which may assist.

henry crun
6th Aug 2009, 22:43
Brit312: Look towards the top of the forum page, there is a sticky titled "Image Posting On Pprune".

7th Aug 2009, 12:26
Lightning, and Henry, thanks for your advice and I will try next time

7th Aug 2009, 13:45
The book "BOAC An Illustrated History" by Charles Woodley (Tempus Publishing, 2004, and well worthwhile getting if this area is of generally interest to you) has a page on the Mosquito ops to Stockholm, obliquely termed "Courier runs" ! Key points :

First trial run with an RAF aircraft (105 Sqn) 5 August 1942.
First BOAC Mosquito G-AGFV delivered 15 December 1942.
First BOAC run 4 February 1943.
Six Mosquitos delivered to BOAC April/May 1943. Others came later to replace losses.
Bomb bay lined with felt, fitted with reading lamp, air controls, oxygen supply, intercom, flask of coffee (doubtless a wartime luxury), reading material. No mention of sandwiches !
Outward trip took air mail, UK newspapers and magazines (to counter German ones).
Leuchars-Stockholm 800 miles, took typically 3 hours.
Originally daylight flights, switched to night after attacks.
Conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent was once a passenger, so were other VIPs.
Last operation 30 November 1944.

Losses on service :

G-AGGF lost Leuchars 17 Aug 43
G-AGGG lost Leuchars 25 Oct 43
G-AGGD lost Sweden 3 Jan 44
G-AGKR missing 11 Apr 44
G-AGFV lost Sweden 4 Jul 44
G-AGKP missing 9 Aug 44

8th Aug 2009, 17:06
Bomb bay lined with felt, fitted with reading lamp, air controls, oxygen supply, intercom, flask of coffee (doubtless a wartime luxury), reading material. No mention of sandwiches !....................... Leuchars-Stockholm 800 miles, took typically 3 hours.
Originally daylight flights, switched to night after attacks.And people today complain about seat pitch and service on Low Cost Carriers!:)

geitungur akureyrar
2nd May 2012, 11:46
Interesting. My father made the Leuchars to Stockholm flight and he was a wireless operator, the Mosquito that took him crashed into the sea a week or so later. He was kitted out with a blanket for warms and some food for the journey. I have read that on one flight the bomb doors started opening and the passenger arrived very cold and stiff as his blanket had been sucked out and he had spent the flight wedging himself into the compartment.
I did not notice mention of the fact that although flying into a nominally neutral country a lot of the passengers were connected to the war effort as part of the Norwegian Resistance.

3rd May 2012, 00:08
Several thousand Norwegian Refugees were flown out of Sweden to the UK in 1944 in the civilian registered Liberators of Bernt Balchen's Operation Sonnie to train for the liberation of Norway and later these flights brought out American aircrews interned in Sweden....these flights used a longer route than the Mosquitoes over Northern Sweden , Norway and the North Sea rather than the risky Skagerrak route

8th May 2012, 18:43
According to "Mosquito" by Sharp and Bowyer, after the Schweinfurt raids two passengers carried in BOAC Mosquitos were responsible for successfully negotiating the purchase of the entire output of Swedish ball-bearings.

21st Nov 2012, 00:11
Just found this thread so thought an extract of my fathers memoirs edited slightly to remove personal details may be of interest.
We were to Fly to Stockholm to bring back ball bearings which were made from Swedish Steel not available anywhere else. We used to get the ore via Narvik on the coast of Norway by railway from Sweden. When Norway was occupied our source disappeared. It had been planned to build high-speed ships to sail up the Skaggerack into Gothenburg but they couldn’t be built in time and our industry as well as aircraft themselves were coming to a halt. Myself and the second officer were accommodated in the Ninewells Hotel in Dundee until it became clear that we were too remote from the airfield at Leuchars and we had to find digs in St Andrews, not an easy thing in May or June. We did find them in Watson Avenue, with a Mrs Gourlay, and I believe her motive was to get access to the goodies that could be brought from Stockholm. Each day we were picked up and taken to the airfield for a briefing of the weather, which decided whether the flight was feasible. The War office then would tell us if we would be allowed to proceed. Our Captain didn’t show any eagerness to carry out his assignment and, after weeks of time delays, the Captain was recalled to Whitchurch and a much younger junior captain was appointed, Gilbert Rae by name. A second Whitley was assigned and its captain, another relatively younger and junior captain, named Ian Gollan joined us. Ian’s wife was Barbara Gollan and she became a mannequin, well-known after the war was over. Now we were able to start operating. A couple of years later and after the war was over Ian Gollan died in a crash at Hurn Airport in fog returning from a regular service. All passengers were killed.
We would set off in the late evening so that it would be getting dark as we approached the Skaggerack and reached our maximum altitude of 10,000 ft. We would keep to the middle of the channel and on seeing the Swedish coast would dip the nose and speed into Sweden. Once in Sweden our problems were lessened. The anti aircraft flak from both coasts, the Danish as well as the Norwegian ceased, and now we could see the Swedish towns lit up and navigation became by visual observation. The whole journey on the outward flight took around 5 hours, but the return journey against the wind would take much longer. At 10,000 ft. the Whitley wallowed, the controls became limp and we could become an easy prey for any fighter looking for us. We carried on and completed 3 round trips when our aircraft had to go into the engineering workshops for a check over. Our next flight started off well on a beautiful evening and we were about 2 hours out when there was an awful bang and we lost the power of one engine. Now you knew why these planes were flight-tested. We managed to continue since we were nearer land ahead than behind and fortunately we managed to reach Bromma Airport. There it was found that the failed engine had blown up and we were to be stuck in Stockholm until spares could be shipped out to us. We had to be given a daily allowance for our food but the hotel was taken care of from the BOAC office. There were things to be had in Stockholm that were not available in Wartime Britain and so we ate as cheaply as we could to have as much spending money as possible. I remember I bought a Philips 4 valve radio made in Eindhoven under German Occupation. It was a good set and lasted into the 1950s.
We continued to fly as regularly as weather and the war permitted right into November when the icing conditions became too bad for Whitleys trying to get to 10,000 ft. In August, at a dance in the St Andrews Town Hall, Gilbert Rae introduced me to your mother who was employed as Secretary to Ted Chandler the Chief Engineer for BOAC at Leuchars. Our trips to Stockholm became more and more interesting as we became more familiar with what was available in the shops and what we could reasonably afford. Swedes loved their coffee and it was in very short supply so, if we took a half a pound of beans it was possible to make a good trade. Once on returning from Stockholm we were told that Leuchars was closed because of bad weather. On reaching the Scottish coast we were ordered to fly west for half an hour. This was followed by an instruction to fly east again and as we were approaching Leuchars we were again informed that it was closed and no traffic controllers were on duty and we were ordered to fly east again. There was suddenly a gap in the cloud and we could see the airfield. Regardless of the order we signaled that we were going to land and did so without help. Meanwhile on the ground the whole of the BOAC staff were made aware that we were missing so when we appeared through a gap in the clouds there was great relief because, those in the know, knew that our fuel must be about finished. It was soon decided that conditions were not suitable for the Whitleys in winter, Shortly after that the Whitleys were replaced by De Havilland Mosquitoes, 6 in all and pilots were trained to fly them. They could and did carry one passenger in the nose or bomb aimer’s compartment and should anything go amiss the passenger would be ejected. We had carried passengers in the Whitleys. Malcolm Sargent the Music Conductor of great renown was often a passenger. On the return trip we sometimes carried airmen who had either escaped from Germany or had managed to land damaged aircraft in Sweden.

Union Jack
24th Nov 2012, 18:14
Just found this thread so thought an extract of my fathers memoirs edited slightly to remove personal details may be of interest.

It certainly is of interest, Pathfinder, and adds a wealth of fascinating detail on this intriguing subject. More would be very welcome, and you may in turn be interested in having a look at http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/329990-gaining-r-f-pilots-brevet-ww11.html since it will give you a further insight into just how interested so many members are in such wonderful reminiscences.

I should add that I was particularly interested in your mention of the Goalen family (not Gollan) since I used to go out with a much younger but very good-looking member of the family.:ok:


25th Nov 2012, 19:01
I asked him about the spelling and he knows that your spelling is correct and is unsure as to how he got it wrong. He says he will try and send me some more details of crews e.t.c. when he can get time from doing things in the house or garden. Just short of 92. I am sure that if there is anyone else still around who flew these runs to Sweden he would love to know.

blind pew
27th Nov 2012, 20:40
I flew with our future queens grand father - Pete Middleton - who mentioned that he had flown the ball bearing run in a Mossie.
Very nice bloke and a good pilot. RIP.

28th Nov 2012, 18:59
There's a slight crossover to MandyW's thread....perhaps 'oldpilot' was on the Sweden run?

1st Jan 2013, 19:14
The early ball bearing runs used Armstrong Whitley civilianised bombers. That simply meant that all the armaments and unnecessary guns and turrets had been removed. In May 1942, an Armstrong Whitley with crew of four left Whitchurch Airfield, Bristol for Leuchars R.A.F. Station. There was daily briefing at Leuchars Meteorolgical Office to be told if we could and for the Captain to decide if we would fly to Stockholm that night. The crew was Junior Captain Gilbert Rae, B.O.A.C, Second Officer, Joe Coney, RAF seconded, Navigator William Coombes, RAF seconded, Wireless Operator, Jimmy Payne, B.O.A.C. Junior captains had only two and a half rings. Gilbert Rae was soon upgraded to three whole rings.

After a few return flights a second Whitley under Ian Goalen, Wireless Operator Eric Bristow and 2 other seconded RAF personnel, a second pilot and a navigator, Peter Ludgate joined the little group. We continued until
November/December and then recalled to Bristol.

2nd Jan 2013, 01:30
BOAC Whitley photo 5 from bottom on
Did your father ever mention the Curtiss CW-20 Commando prototype 'St Louis' which was also tried on the Sweden run?

The photo-site for Gothenburg-Torslanda airfield which was used as a diversion from Bromma sometimes has a few pics of BOAC types including Mosquitoes
"ESGB" (http://www.amhult-lyse.se/torslandaflygplats/hemsida_ESGB/esgb_start.asp?xKat=flygpl39)

Sheena Cowan
24th May 2013, 18:50
New to this site!
My late father - Ian Dalgliesh was an R/O on the Leuchars to Sweden run.
He went on after the war to BEA and was for many years Chief Radio Officer, sadly he died aged 52 leaving so many questions about his war and life unanswered.
I am fortunate that my mother kept most of his career correspondence and when putting an album together came across a letter headed British Overseas Airways Corporation Airways House London SW1 Victoria 2323.
It was about the "closing of our base at Leuchars" and offered congratulations 'to you and all the others who have undertaken flying duties on the arduous and often hazardous wartime route to Sweden..." I was interested in the next paragraph "when the full story of B.O.A.C. activities during the war comes to be told you may rest assured that the Scandinavian operations will rank high amongst them..." The letter was dated 25 June 1945.
Curiosity now aroused, and having copied the many wartime entries on his passport started to search. Found your thread and others which gave me a good insight to this period of WW2. Would be interested if there are still any crew around who may remember my father, although he would have been 96 now.

25th Jun 2013, 12:51
My late father - Jimmy Miller - was an R/O on the run from Leuchars. He flew many times with Nigel Pelly . I have found a load of correspondence between him and the Museum of Aviation in Winnipeg who were researching the flights. I have been in contact with the BA Museum and they are very interested in having it all.
He once told me they never carried a single ball bearing - it was mainly people and documents. Incidentally he was very friendly (after the war )with one of the German crew who were in Stockholm at the same time . The crews used to drink coffee in the same room .

28th Aug 2013, 21:54
My grandfather is Eric Bristow, the Wireless Operator mentioned above. Many of the names mentioned in the posts above are familiar and my family and I would be so delighted to get in touch with anyone who has any further recollections or information about the ball-bearing run. My grandfather, who's now 96, went on to work for BOAC at Croydon Airport. He has great memories of serving as a temporary barman in the Red Reiver on Market Street, St Andrews. My grandparents also lived on Watson Avenue and their landlady owned a dress shop in St Andrews.

31st Aug 2013, 10:55
[Buryflier.....He once told me they never carried a single ball bearing - it was mainly people and documents.......]

That's very interesting....I always suspected that the significance of the ball-bearings or 'magnetic freight' as the Swedes called them had been exaggerated over the years. Were types other than the Mosquitoes mentioned in the correspondence?

10th Oct 2013, 17:50
Great to see the photo of a passenger in the bomb-bay of a Mosquito in one11's Jan 2009 posting and your quote on Niels Bohr. My father often talked of this but I could not visualize the difficult conditions!

My father, Captain Evald Jakobson was an Estonian ship's captain and shipowner who began to move to England from 1935 as he could see the danger of Hitler and/or Stalin taking over the Baltic States. He was established in England in 1939 before WWII broke out and worked with the Ministry of War Transport, dealing primarily with the +-20 Estonian ships which were in British territorial waters and could not or would not return to Estonia due to the Russian occupation.

He was flown up to Stockholm in December 1943 in the bomb-bay of a Mosquito, hence my interest in seeing under what conditions! He talked little of what he was doing in Stockholm where he remained till September 1944. With my brother I am researching what EJJ was doing in Stockholm during this time. The official reason on his Swedish visa application was to sort out various outstanding shipping accounts and other shipping issues but this does not seem suffcient reason to keep someone up there for 9 months. His visa was extended several times as he was ' waiting for a seat on the airplane'. My immediate question is how often were these flights scheduled? Is there a record anywhere of this and who the passengers were?

I note a Mosquito was lost in August 1944. He flew back in September 1944...

11th Oct 2013, 21:07
Hallo....The Wilson report online PDF has some statistics on the UK-Sweden route,WWII

Briefly 1940 ca. 23 return flights (Lo, J)
1941 54 return flights (Lo)
1842 169return flights (Lo, W)
1943 341return flights (Lo, Mo, Da,Lib)
1944 484returnflights (+4 oneway) (Mo,Da, Lib)
1945(1jan-1June) 167 returnflights (Mo,Da)
(Lo=Lockheed 14/18 or Hudson,J=Ju52,W=Whitley,Mo=Mosquito,Da=Dakota, Lib=Liberator)

There is a book called Blockade Runners (Nilsson,Sandberg) mainly Swedish and American activities but some on BOAC, not cheap (originally in Swedish as Kurirflyg)
There have been some articles (e.g. in Aeroplane Monthly) on the UK-Sweden route see your private messages, top right of messageboard
http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib/53/media-53838/large.jpg?action=e&cat=photographs (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210869?cat=photographs)
BRITISH OVERSEAS AIRWAYS CORPORATION AND QANTAS, 1940-1945.. © IWM (CH 20958) (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210869?cat=photographs)IWM Non Commercial Licence (http://www.iwm.org.uk/corporate/privacy-copyright/licence)

23rd Feb 2015, 23:33
For some time now, I have been researching the history of one particular aircraft that was used on the “Stockholm Run” (RAF Leuchars –Bromma Airport ) in World War II. This is Lockheed Lodestar G-AGDD, owned bythe Norwegian government-in-exile, flown mainly by Norwegian crews but operated in the name of BOAC. Lodestar G-AGDD was used on the “Stockholm Run” from August 1941 to July 1945 and was almost certainly the longest -serving aircraft on this route in the war.

I therefore found this thread very interesting and thought I might contribute a little:

1. The WWII logs for Bromma Airport, which are said to be very detailed, are held in the Swedish state archives (Stadsarkiv) but,unfortunately, I have not been able to get there to examine them.

2. There are documents at the National Archives on“BOAC and Transport Command” that cover the WWII period but, again, I have not seen them.

3. The staff at the British Airways Heritage Collection have been very helpful. The detailed information on the “Stockholm run” is in the form of entries on large maps/charts and I was told that they are not easy to handle.

4. The Curtis CW 20 made only 5 return trips on the“Stockholm run”. They took place during the May - September period in 1942.

5. The Whitleys undertook the “Stockholm run” for a relatively short period (9 August - 24 October 1942)

6. Professor Nils Bohr flew in Mosquito G-AGGG,leaving Bromma at approx. 6.30 pm on 6 October 1943 (19 days later, on 25 October 1943,
G-AGGG crashed on landing at Leuchars inbound from Bromma)

7. FLIGHT magazine (4 November 1943) reported that Captain Gilbert Rae and Radio Officer James S. Payne had been awarded the OBE and MBE respectively for “their high courage over an extended period in flying unarmed aircraft on the civil wartime air service between the United Kingdom and Stockholm”.

8. “Gibby” Rae joined the “Stockholm run” in June 1942 and flew seven different aircraft types on the route. He was close friends with Radio Operator James Payne. Just before midnight on 18 August 1944, he took off from Stockholm for Scotland in Mosquito G-AGKP, with Radio Operator Trevor Roberts and passenger Captain Bill Orton, whose own Mosquito had suffered a mishap at Bromma a few days before. On the long approach to Leuchars, in the early hours of 19 August, G-AGKP hit the North Sea waters and sank. The bodies of Roberts and Orton were recovered; that of “Gibby” Rae was not. He was 26 years old. One source says that he and James Payne had flown 150 “Mossie”trips.

9. Mosquito G-AGFV did indeed crash at Bromma on 4July 1944 but was not a write-off. It swung off the runway and its undercarriage collapsed, though perhaps its undercarriage collapsed causing it to swing off the runway. Anyway, it was temporarily repaired, flown back to Leuchars on 23 October1944 and returned to the RAF in 1945. (It was not its first incident on the “Stockholm run”. More than a year earlier, it had arrived at Bromma “riddled” with bullets and, unable to lower its flaps or undercarriage, had crashed).

10. I have one specific reference to Avro Yorks being used on the “Stockholm run” (namely that “The York G-AGJC made at least one special flight to Stockholm in 1944”) but there is no mention of Yorks in the Wilson report, to which someone referred earlier. The information in the Wilson report, while wide-ranging, is not, however, always congruent with that in other sources, which can be confusing.

joy ride
24th Feb 2015, 08:26
I remember reading an article in Aeroplane perhaps 10 years ago about the Mosquito missions. If I remember correctly, one VIP being ferried from Sweden to England suffered occasional scares when the bomb bay doors kept opening partially.

victor tango
24th Feb 2015, 18:38
panop and yarnsplicer

yOU MAY APPRECIATE the words of "The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics. It resonates for me and hope it does for you.

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got

You say you just don't see it
He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defense

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts

So Don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

31st Jan 2016, 11:21
Hello IW9,

The BOAC historian Nils Mathisrud is interesting in contacting you.

Is it possible for you to send me a private message and I can put you in contact with him please?

Thanks very much,


31st Jan 2016, 20:25
Yes of course - I will PM you

7th Jun 2016, 16:51
Very interesting chapter in WW2 nostalgia. Have there been any TV or film dramas made, based upon these exploits ?

Appie WW2
15th Jun 2016, 15:33
Since a few years I am doing a quest into the life ofmy eldest brother Henk Mos during WW2.
Henk was forced to work on German merchant ships bythe German occupation authorities between November 1942 and June 1943. On 12June 1943 he escaped from the German ship in Sundvall Sweden. Henk reported to theDutch embassy for a transfer to the UK to join up with the Dutch Armed Forces inthe UK. Depending his transfer he was sent to work in the Swedish woods.
At last, on 28 September 1944 he got his transfer fromBromma Sweden to Leuchars Scotland in the BOAC Mosquito G-AGGC flown by ArthurCarroll, pilot, and John Weir, radio operator. At that time Henk was 20 yearsold.

I learned much from the discussions in your forum onthe BOAC flights between Bromma and Leuchars, but there rest some questions forme.

About theequipment in the bomb bay.

What kind of aircontrols were fitted?
Were there greenand red lights fitted which gave information about opening the bomb bay doors?
What are thedimensions of the bomb bay?

About the route.

What was theflight path like heading, height, speed and bomb bay and outside temperatures?
Have Iunderstood rightly that the Mosquito’s always flew the Skagerakroute

About enemyopposition. What were the threats by flak and fighter aircraft?
Photographs. Wherecan I find pictures of the G-AGGC in wartime and of the crew members?
In the pictureyou see from left to right my sister Tiny, Henk and his first wife Laura. The girlshave wings on their jacks. Can anyone tell me which wings these are?

I very much enjoyed the discussions on the forum and I amvery grateful for the information it offered me.

21st Jun 2016, 10:25
Unique BOAC Mosquito Relic emerges................. - Battlefield Relics - WWII Forums (http://www.ww2f.com/topic/44743-unique-boac-mosquito-relic-emerges/)

Hi Appie WW2 ...Some of the information you seek is in the book 'Blockade Runners' by Nilsson and Sandberg which is an English translation of the Swedish book 'Kurirflyg'. Pp182-185 have text and photos on Carroll and G-AGGC.
The same photo of G-AGGC is in the above link.
I normally have no interest in the collecting of old bits of aircraft but the item linked above impressed me, and certainly looks original!..

Appie WW2
21st Jun 2016, 12:35
Thank you A30yoyo for the information and the link to the photos. I have no accessto the book 'Blockade Runners'. It is not in any library, including university libraries.

22nd Jun 2016, 10:57
Appie WW2

I have no access to the book 'Blockade Runners'. It is not in any library, including university libraries.
Do a Google search for "Blockade Runners by Lars Axel Nilsson". There are plenty of copies available to buy (at a price!)

22nd Jun 2016, 16:50
Appie WW2...Do you have anymore recollections or flight souvenirs from your brother. Am I correct that he wasn't VIP (he had waited 15 months in Sweden) so not high priority to fly to the UK (but more important than ball-bearings :-) ).
Some impressions of the Mosquito flight conditions here
RAFCommands Archive :: Researching BOAC Operations and Pilots (http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/09335.php)

Interesting that he was carried on a single passenger Mosquito when the Sonnie airlift from Stockholm to the UK using 30-passenger Liberators had been running from April 1944
Operation Sonnie: for Norwegian interest [Archive] - Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/archive/index.php?t-24767.html)

As said previously there are copies of Blockade Runners around (from about 55 euros)