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Whitchurch [Bristol] to Lisbon flight duration

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Whitchurch [Bristol] to Lisbon flight duration

Old 13th Feb 2022, 17:10
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Whitchurch [Bristol] to Lisbon flight duration

Hi,

Iím curious to know how long the flight would have taken during WWII on a DC3 going far out into the Atlantic. Iíve seen it quoted at about seven hours, but that does seem rather long even for the period, the route and the equipment.

Iím curious as my father flew to Lisbon twice in WWII, once from Whitchurch to meet an agent and another time by flying boat from Foyle en route to Accra and on toe Cairo.

Thanks, Colin Cohen
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Old 13th Feb 2022, 21:05
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Colin,

Wikipedia quotes a cruising speed of 207 mph.

Using Great Circle Mapper, I calculated 4:28 direct, so seven hours doesnít seem unreasonable, if you are taking the ďJu-88 avoiding routeĒ.

Interestingly, the maximum range is quoted as 1500 miles, which would be 7:15 at cruising speed.

I wonder if these Dakotas had extra fuel capacity.
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 09:40
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Thanks very much for that - I have little concept of speed as I've not piloted for half a century and then only in gliders and a hot air balloon!

It must have been a nail-biter though the two personal accounts I've read of the journey before the shoot-down made it sound relaxed. I think after that it was by night and I wonder how they navigated other than dead reckoning or why, if night flights were possible, they ever did it by day. As the shoot-down was at 07:35 and about three hours into the flight it must have been a dawn t/o.

Thanks again, Colin
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 09:53
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There's a good book about KLM's involvement in these flights, called 'Sluipvluchten naar Lissabon' by Ad van Ommen (1985), but unfortunately it is only available in Dutch and my copy is hiding in a box in the basement somewhere. I'm sure other books have covered this topic as well though, but I cannot think of a specific title right now. If I stumble across my copy sometime in the next couple of weeks, I will look up some details if you want.
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 10:43
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On 1st June 1943 the actor Leslie Howard was aboard KLM Royal Dutch Airlines/BOAC Flight 777, "G-AGBB" a Douglas DC-3 flying from Lisbon to Bristol, when it was shot down by Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88 C-6 maritime fighter aircraft over the Atlantic (off Cedeira, A CoruŮa).
More details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Howard
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 13:42
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Originally Posted by Jhieminga View Post
There's a good book about KLM's involvement in these flights, called 'Sluipvluchten naar Lissabon' by Ad van Ommen (1985), but unfortunately it is only available in Dutch and my copy is hiding in a box in the basement somewhere. I'm sure other books have covered this topic as well though, but I cannot think of a specific title right now. If I stumble across my copy sometime in the next couple of weeks, I will look up some details if you want.
Thanks. My dad flew out and back on G-AGBB, the one that was shot down, on 8th and 30th April 1941. I did a lot of research some years ago and noted the above title, but WorldCat shows there are only a handful of library copies and all of them in the Netherlands. If you do come on anything of interest [apart from Leslie Howard who has been researched down every conspiracy theory to oblivion] I'd be interested.

I'm curious to know why, as night flights were possible, it was not by night from the start. Security at Bristol was so tight that passengers assembled at a hotel in town and when an aircraft was ready they were taken directly to it. For the return flight of course there was no possible security as they shared the field with Lufthansa, and both SIS and the Abwher had a representative at the airport.
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 13:44
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Originally Posted by ccohen View Post
Hi,

Iím curious to know how long the flight would have taken during WWII on a DC3 going far out into the Atlantic. Iíve seen it quoted at about seven hours, but that does seem rather long even for the period, the route and the equipment.

Iím curious as my father flew to Lisbon twice in WWII, once from Whitchurch to meet an agent and another time by flying boat from Foyle en route to Accra and on toe Cairo.

Thanks, Colin Cohen
Do you have a date for the Whitchurch->Lisbon flight?

My uncle flew BOAC Dakotas on that route, I could look in his log books..

update. Just seen it was 41 which I think was before his time. Iíll check.
My uncle was lost in G-AGIR in August 1944 - he flew into the Atlas Mountains at night...
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 13:51
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How amazing! - See my that crossed with yours. I only know the details as Portuguese immigration show the aircraft details in the passport stamp, but apparently I don't have sufficient privileges to post an image.
​​​​​​​
All sorts of 'riff-raff' got diplomatic passports …
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 14:38
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Colin, I think you need to get to 10 posts on the forum to gain the rights to post images and stuff like that, so you're almost there.

I will see if I can find the book and look up some stuff. The G-AGBB shootdown is of course covered in the book but it also deals with the broader spectrum of DC-3 operations by Dutch airlines during WWII and afterwards. I see that second-hand copies aren't that common either, I was just thinking that you might be able to use something like the Google Translate app on your phone to translate the Dutch text to English on the fly, using a cheap copy, it might be somewhat readable that way even if you get a mix of Dutch and English output.
Edit: I just had a go pointing the Google Translate app's camera function at my laptop's screen with a Dutch text on it. I got a fairly decent translation to English that was readable and understandable. Reading an entire book that way is not something I would recommend, but it is certainly possible if the language is a barrier.

Last edited by Jhieminga; 14th Feb 2022 at 14:43. Reason: Experiment outcome added....
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 14:53
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Thanks very much: Amazon do have one for about £25 [with free slow delivery from South Africa!], but I think using GoogleTranslate would be fraught. I do use it into English from time to time, but I find the results very variable. I've used it from both German and French white a bit and sometimes the English leave me scratching my head. I use it into French, in which I am fluent, as it saves remembering where the accents go, but often I can see it is wrong and have to tweak the English to make it say what I mean in French! Not having a word of Dutch I think I might be up a gum tree.

Now I'm on 10 posts here is the passport - I wonder how many countries showed the registration, I think it's the only one from my dad's wartime travels.

It says:
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but I got the error saying I can't post URLs till at least 10 though it was a png.
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 16:35
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Colin
In your opening post you say that your father flew from "Foyle" to Accra and onwards. I think that this is very unlikely as Loch Foyle is at the extreme north end of the island of Ireland. The main base for flying boats operating such services during WW2 was at Foynes in the Shannon Estuary in the Republic of Ireland (despite "neutrality"). BOAC had a crew base there as did the American crews operating the transatlantic flying boat service to Newfoundland and onwards. There is a very good flying boat museum in the port of Foynes - well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 16:41
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You are quite right - I copied and pasted Foynes and the spell-checker did the rest!
I corresponded with the museum a good while back, they even had the passenger manifest.
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 19:12
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Originally Posted by ccohen View Post
but I got the error saying I can't post URLs till at least 10 though it was a png.
If you're trying to upload a PNG image, you should either drag and drop it on the upload graphic, or click on 'browse your device' and select the image. A URL is an internet link, that's for the situation where the image you want to use is already somewhere on the internet. Are you perhaps mixing up those two...?

I see your point about translating stuff through Google. Personally, I would only go down that route if you could get a £2 copy somewhere. At the prices this book is available at, it is too risky but I figured I should mention it.
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Old 14th Feb 2022, 20:34
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Thanks, I may just wait for a cheap copy!

I had done it as you say [the browse option], that's why I quoted the error message as it was unrelated to what I did.
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Old 15th Feb 2022, 12:02
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Originally Posted by ccohen View Post
How amazing! - See my that crossed with yours. I only know the details as Portuguese immigration show the aircraft details in the passport stamp, but apparently I don't have sufficient privileges to post an image.
​​​​​​​
All sorts of 'riff-raff' got diplomatic passports Ö

Here's a typical logbook entry for my uncle's flights to Lisbon.

As you can see, he frequently flew from 'JP' to Lyneham, then Lyneham to Lisbon.
Anyone know where 'JP' is...?
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Old 15th Feb 2022, 12:15
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How fascinating, sorry I have no idea about JP. Do you have anything earlier, or for G-AGBB?

This time my image has uploaded, by drag'n'drop rather than browse.
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Old 15th Feb 2022, 12:53
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Originally Posted by ccohen View Post
How fascinating, sorry I have no idea about JP. Do you have anything earlier, or for G-AGBB?

This time my image has uploaded, by drag'n'drop rather than browse.
I'm assuming that JP refers to Whitchurch, it's where he was based, he lived in Bristol.
He was seconded from the RAF to BOAC in August 1942, but initially flew Whitleys and Oxfords, by the time he moved to DC3s, G-AGBB had been lost I'm afraid...
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Old 15th Feb 2022, 13:05
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There was usually a fuel stop shown as Chivenor above.
Later St.Mawgan was used.
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Old 15th Feb 2022, 13:21
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Originally Posted by Nige321 View Post

Here's a typical logbook entry for my uncle's flights to Lisbon.

As you can see, he frequently flew from 'JP' to Lyneham, then Lyneham to Lisbon.
Anyone know where 'JP' is...?
This looks like a Pundit Code - currently I can't find it. Within a hundred mile radius of Lyneham ?

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Old 15th Feb 2022, 13:24
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From the log looks like about 25 mins from Lyneham.
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