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UN Congo airlift July 1960

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UN Congo airlift July 1960

Old 27th Oct 2020, 16:59
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: England
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UN Congo airlift July 1960

As it is 60 years since the extraordinary airlift of troops under the UN banner to Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), Congo (now DRC) perhaps some PPruners may be interested in a few photos I took while working on Accra Airport at the time.
All UN air traffic was routed via Accra where the USAF set up an emergency ATC operation. Aircraft were principally USAF C-130s plus two RAF Comet 2s and two Aeroflot Il18s.
The UN troops were initially Moroccan, Tunisian and Ghanaian Armies followed quickly by Nigerian Army.
My role was that I worked for Shell and was called in as an extra hand to help with the refuelling - hence Shell equipment features prominently. Most photos were taken on 20 July 1960 which happened to be my 24th birthday. Several stories to tell but here are the photos to whet your appetite.

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Old 27th Oct 2020, 22:07
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Join Date: Jul 2002
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My late father Ken Crossley was an ATCO in East Africa in early ‘60’s - ‘60/‘61 based in Zanzibar as the Congo disintegrated with EAA aircraft pressed into refugee service, us Zanzibari’s were held over at school in Nairobi and pressed into assisting refugee arrival at Nairobi Primary - not pleasant as 12 year old!!!

’61/‘63 he was based in Mombasa and there we witnessed numerous USAF and contractor aircraft running airlifts of various Asian countries to and from Congo - most memorable being a C-133 - Dad needed my Observers to get a guesstimate of weight to check if Mombasa runway could take the weight

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 27th Oct 2020, 22:42
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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I was in the 4th form at the Duke of York in Nairobi, and were were kept at school to complete prelims (plus the 6th form) whilst the rest of the school was given over to refugees. Although we had little contact I recall that there were some harrowing stories about escaping from the Congo. The refugees were all repatriated to Belgium in a couple of weeks.
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Old 28th Oct 2020, 11:53
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Join Date: Feb 2000
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Remember it well but with little affection. Just getting there with the Beverley was quite an enterprise. We were based at Accra and made the trek to Elisabethville - to no good purpose; nobody wanted to travel with us! The chaos at E'ville was mind boggling, especially the high speed taxying of the IL18s in a packed ramp. Four Wings company rep at E'ville was exhausted and not improved by our need for refilling the overload oil tanks - 84 gallons, in cans, up a ladder to the overwing fill point! Ahead of us on the ramp was a Cessna which took less fuel than that!. From getting up to arriving back at Accra was a full 24 hours - a time span not helped with the Captain's decision to carry out a full Radio Compass Homing and Letdown on arrival in 10/10ths (8/8ths) 'blue' weather! Possibly not one of our sharpest aviators - he had also insisted on a full backtrack for takeoff (check E'ville's r/w length!), provoking a following USAF Herc skipper into some interesting comment and taking off ahead of us from the perfectly adequate entry/exit point. Compensation was some days of relaxation on the beach.
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