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Operation Goodwill 1946 (Merged)

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Operation Goodwill 1946 (Merged)

Old 2nd Apr 2010, 19:22
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Operation Goodwill 1946 (Merged)

In July and August 1946 sixteen Lancasters of 35 Squadron went on Operation Goodwill, a trip to the U.S.A. to show the Americans some of the 'British Flyer Boys' that had helped win the war. My late father was amongst the aircrew and I have an album of photos that illustrate this trip, plus the earlier formation flying to mark the Victory Day parade in June.

I've not seen any mention of this operation in these pages, nor indeed much on the internet so I thought I could rectify that by posting some of these photos on this thread along with a few notes which come from a booklet prepared by the late Bob Hornby from notes and photos shown to him by Colin Earnshaw, who was amongst the groundcrew of Goodwill. In addition some information is taken from Alan Cooper's book 'We Act With One Accord', a history of 35 Squadron.

I hope this is of interest.

If anyone has comments or photos and anecdotes to add, please feel free of course.



As a warm up, this photo of Queen Wilhelmina's Palace, Soestdijk, was taken on the 29th April 1946. Squadron Leader T S Harris flew a plane on a 'flower dropping' mission to mark a Victory in Holland celebration. Unfortunately, the parachute failed to open - splat!



On the 4th of May a flypast over Holland was carried out: R - F/O Robinson, E - F/O Hampson, A - S/L Beetham.



Robinson's crew: W/O Sparling, F/O Wilson, F/S Angel, F/O Robinson, F/L Bullen, F/S Watson, W/O Vaughan.

Last edited by Hipper; 7th Apr 2010 at 16:14.
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Old 3rd Apr 2010, 02:20
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As an ex wearer of the forage cap for the light blues one does wonder how the hell they managed to keep them to stay put in those positions without the use of hairgrips or liquid nails.
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Old 3rd Apr 2010, 11:04
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Victory Parade Formation Practice

Perhaps they had different shaped heads in those days?

To continue, preparations were being made for a Victory Parade flypast over London to be held on the 8th June 1946. Formation practice was required. On the 28th May the squadron was filmed in practice; about three minutes of film can be seen here:

British Pathe - AIRCRAFT IN FLIGHT


On the 6th of June a final practice was carried out.



'Pete' Stockwell running up.




Line up prior to take off.



Formation over Huntingdonshire.



Echelon starboard.



More formation practice


Squadron turning over Chelmsford.


Over Chelmsford. H - F/O Lamb, B - S/L Beetham.



'Prang'.

Last edited by Hipper; 3rd Apr 2010 at 20:54.
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Old 3rd Apr 2010, 18:29
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Prang

The accident on 25 Aug 46, in which four civilians were killed, involved Lancaster TW870. The Accident Card offers a slightly different view to that published, in that the aircraft had a defective compass, which contributed to the confusion associated with the lights.
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Old 3rd Apr 2010, 19:01
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Hipper

Did the "Sqn Ldr Beetham" who was Captain of aircraft "A" later become CAS? I know the MRAF was a Lancaster Pilot from the conversations we had when I flew him in the '70s and '80s.
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Old 3rd Apr 2010, 20:27
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Yes, that is the same Michael Beetham, now President of the Bomber Command Association.
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Old 3rd Apr 2010, 20:44
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Victory Day Flypast

The Victory Parade flypast took place on the 8th June 1946. The plan involved Meteors, Spitfires and Hurricanes and each flight was supposed to be at different heights to allow the faster planes to fly over or under the Lancs. Unfortunately the weather was not co-operative with a very low cloud base which caused all the planes to fly at the same height so the faster fighters went around the outside. 35 Squadron came down The Mall at 1500 feet at a speed of 184 mph in a formation of 307 aircraft!



Over London. R - F/O Robinson, E - F/O Hampson, D - F/L Clarine, A - S/L Beetham.


F/O Cheshire over London.


Over Nelson's Column.


Winco's crew. F/L Felgate, F/L Walton, F/L Hawes, F/L Kennedy, W/C Craig, F/L Davidson, F/L Cooper.

Last edited by Hipper; 3rd Apr 2010 at 20:50. Reason: Correction
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 13:18
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Preparations for 'Goodwill'

The idea of a goodwill tour of the U.S. seems to have been born in February 1946 at discussions with General Ira Eaker, who had organised and commanded the US Eighth Air Force. Group Captain Richard Collard was put in charge of the operation which would involve sixteen Lancasters of 35 Squadron plus an Avro York.


The C in C of Bomber Command, Air Marshall Sir Norman Bottomley, visited the squadron at Gravely on the 3rd of July and carried out an inspection at which the air and ground crew were presented in front of their aircraft. The aircrew wore the new tropical lightweight flying suit whilst the groundcrew paraded in new white overalls.



3rd July 1946. Squadron inspection by AO C in C Bomber Command.



3rd July 1946. G/C Collard, Station Commander; S/L Beetham, OC A Flight; W/C Craig, OC Squadron; S/L Harris, OC B Flight.


3rd July 1946. W/C Craig, Air Marshall Sir N Bottomley, G/C Collard, S/L Beetham, S/L Harris.



3rd July 1946. Avro York.



6th July 1946. Marshall of the RAF, Lord Tedder visits Gravely. Is that Tedder on the right? Dakota is C in C Bottomley's aircraft.
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 13:29
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Gravely

Pounded the circuit there many times with a Vampire when it was a relief landing ground for Oakington. Subsequently took a Whirlwind 10 there to do the helicopter flying sequences for the film 'Robbery', the one about the Great Train robbers.

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Old 6th Apr 2010, 14:15
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Hipper,

Re. the 'Formation over Huntingdonshire' - I reckon Huntingdon is mid-picture with Wyton at the top. Huntingdon was 'host' to the HQ of the Pathfinder force, indeed the district council offices are(were?) in 'Pathfinder House'.
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Old 6th Apr 2010, 14:30
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I have a vague memory that the Victory Flypast was led by the then Gp Capt Douglas Bader in a Spitfire
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Old 7th Apr 2010, 16:56
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FantomZorbin - the caption is the only information I have of that photo.

I tried to identify the station but couldn't! Some stations, like Gravely, no longer exist and I would think most have changed over the sixty plus years. I looked for old aerial photos on the internet and Google Earth.

The only clues would seem to be the little village, bottom left, which may have a ruined church, and a possible excavation site at the very bottom left. There don't seem to be any large aircraft on dispersals but could be some smaller ones.
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Old 7th Apr 2010, 18:02
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Question.
Did they tour the US with guns still in place?
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Old 7th Apr 2010, 19:35
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Yes, as you will see later.
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Old 7th Apr 2010, 21:26
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Hipper,
I think I've been well wide of the mark! The airfield looks nothing like Wyton and I'm sure Huntingdon wasn't that small in 1946!! (damned bi-focals!!)
Huntingdonshire was never a very large county but I can't think of any of the wartime airfields that had that particular layout. Maybe the subscribers to 'Aviation History and Nostalgia' might have an idea.
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Old 8th Apr 2010, 02:06
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You've got to hand it to Mike Beetham - Very Senior Officer present, fully fuelled Lanc close by and - fag in hand!! Probably wouldn't have put up with it when he was the boss!

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Old 8th Apr 2010, 09:11
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Er, a closer inspection shows that this vice starts at the top.



You can also see that W/C Craig has a fag in his right hand. Indeed, in defence S/L Beetham, his cigarette looks more like a pen, and if it is a fag, it's not lit (the Clinton defence).
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Old 8th Apr 2010, 09:13
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just out of interest

Just out of interest, why have the Lancaster's all had their top half's re painted white?
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Old 8th Apr 2010, 09:27
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As an ex wearer of the forage cap for the light blues one does wonder how the hell they managed to keep them to stay put in those positions without the use of hairgrips or liquid nails
Lashings of Brylcream!

Just out of interest, why have the Lancaster's all had their top half's re painted white?
I may stand to be corrected, but wasn't that the colour scheme of the old "Coastal Command", or perhaps tropical attire?

Last edited by Noah Zark.; 8th Apr 2010 at 09:38.
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Old 8th Apr 2010, 09:48
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I thought it was to do with the squadron having been planned to go to the far east to finish off the war there, until 'the bomb' was dropped, 'Tiger Force'.

Alan Cooper in his book on 35 Squadron says that 'the 16 aircraft detailed for Goodwill were painted white and black and wore the squadron badge'. The colours were already there in earlier pictures (as you can see in my first post) but the badge was added, on both sides of the cockpit, just before their departure for the U.S..
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