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Biafra

Old 3rd Feb 2010, 22:47
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Biafra

It's forty years since the end of the Nigerian Civil War (Biafra).
Shouldn't somebody be recording the story of the Sao Tome / Cotonou airlifts into Uli Ihiala, and those who died in that extraordinary effort?
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Old 4th Feb 2010, 00:10
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Biafra Story

Shadows - Airlift and Airwar in Biafra and Nigeria 1967 - 1970 by Michael I Draper with forward by Frederick Forsyth ISBN 1 902109635 published 1999 available at the S American river for £29.99

Not sure if that covers your point if interest

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 5th Feb 2010, 16:51
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Biafra 40 Years On

There was 60 minute TV film made a few years ago by a Dutch company I think with Frederick Forsyth (who was a TV jounralist at the time and flew on a Super Connie from Portugal to Fernando Po or Sao Taome) detailing some of his exploits. The programme also featured the Irish priest who was the ´´fixer´´ for many of the mercy flights. I think the programme was shown on Channel 4 in the UK and probably on Discovery or National Geographic as well. I am sure it must be available on DVD somewhere. Hope this helps.
Just remembered the TV programme was called Jesus Christ Airlines!

Last edited by compton3bravo; 5th Feb 2010 at 19:02.
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Old 5th Feb 2010, 19:38
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Tony Jonsson's book dealt with Biafra. Ex CLX Chief Pilot; Icelandic gentleman.
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Old 5th Feb 2010, 20:42
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Father Byrne who was the prime ambassador in organising the food airlift is in Dublin and wrote a paperback "Airlift To Biafra" by Columba Press,Dublin 1997.
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Old 6th Feb 2010, 11:06
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Tony Jonsson

Was he the only Icelandic gentleman to fly with the RAF during
World War 2, or were there others? I met him some 10 years ago at a friends 60th birthday party and it was mentioned that he flew in the
B of B and I have to say that he looked far to young or may be I am getting far too old. Alan
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Old 6th Feb 2010, 13:08
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Tony Jonsson

I endorse what CR2 said, a real gentleman. I have a signed copy of the book he wrote " Dancing in the skies ", which recounts his RAF carreer.etc.
After training he joined 111 Sqn in September 1941, remaing there until March 1943. He finished the war with eight confirmed `kills` and was the onlY Icelender to serve in the RAF during the war. Sadly Tony passed away a few years ago. A true Viking gentleman. His book may still be available from Grub Street.

Last edited by sled dog; 13th Feb 2010 at 08:43.
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Old 10th Feb 2010, 12:30
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Quote from CR2
Tony Jonsson's book dealt with Biafra. Ex CLX Chief Pilot; Icelandic gentleman.
His Biafran exploits are in part 2 of his biography "Lucky 13".(ISBN 9979-60-425-5) Though getting hold of a copy is somewhat problematic as it was a limited publication by Air Atlanta / Cargolux to mark his retirement. Though legend has it there is at least one pallet full stored at a large European cargo hub (long haul). Axel Duch who also flew into Biafra on the airlift has recently been seeking a publisher for the English edition of his memoirs, his native Danish one is held in high regard by those who have read it.THE AIRLIFT TO BIAFRA - The TRUE Story . I believe that an Australian pilot who also flew on the airlift has written and published a book on it (or at the very least a chapter in his book), and would dearly like to know his name and the title.
In case you are wondering 13 was the number of Tony Jonsson's Icelandic pilots licence.
Hope it helps
Be lucky
David
Shadows is an extremely good read.

Last edited by The AvgasDinosaur; 10th Feb 2010 at 13:53. Reason: To add isbn number - in case it helps anyone
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Old 10th Feb 2010, 13:52
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I managed to get hold of a copy of 'Lucky 13' through contacts at Cargolux so you could try writing to CV to see if they'll sell you one. I can thoroughly recommend both Tony's books and agree with all the comments, he was a real gentleman & I feel honoured to have known him!
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Old 11th Feb 2010, 18:50
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Sao Tome Connies

I remember coming out of the terminal at Sao Tome over a decade ago and on the left hand side were two of Connies in a fairly decrepit state along with what appeared to be the remains of a small two seat jet - fuselage only no wings. The Connies had very faded paintwork but I seem to recall the words of some Canadian church group written down the side. Having checked on Google Earth I see they are still in situ.
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Old 11th Feb 2010, 19:37
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The 4 Connies were x Nordair a/c. They were purchased and operated by Can Air Relief , a church organization
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Old 11th Feb 2010, 20:28
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My uncle flew the whole Biafra airlift on DC-6 and C-97 (one of them still in good shape in Pima Museum in Tucson), I heard incredible storys....
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Old 11th Feb 2010, 20:55
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Quote Dave Clarke Fife
I remember coming out of the terminal at Sao Tome over a decade ago and on the left hand side were two of Connies in a fairly decrepit state along with what appeared to be the remains of a small two seat jet - fuselage only no wings. The Connies had very faded paintwork but I seem to recall the words of some Canadian church group written down the side. Having checked on Google Earth I see they are still in situ.
They are both L1049H models c/n 4831 CF-NAL and c/n 4832 CF-NAM. Titles were/are Canairelief and Jointchurchaid. They have been there since Jan 1970.
Hope it helps,
Be lucky
David
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Old 11th Feb 2010, 21:25
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I used to have Lucky 13, bought it while I was still at CLX. Lord know what happened to it, probably lent in to somebody.

I had the pleasure of TJ's acquaintance. A true gentleman.
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Old 12th Feb 2010, 07:47
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Quote by CR2
I used to have Lucky 13, bought it while I was still at CLX. Lord know what happened to it, probably lent in to somebody..........................
I still have mine, it is not for loan however I know a lot of folk who are very desirous of obtaining one.
Be lucky
David

Last edited by The AvgasDinosaur; 12th Feb 2010 at 07:49. Reason: spulling error
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Old 12th Feb 2010, 07:59
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Michael Drapers book is excellent and I was also involved in the filming of the documentary. Fascinating stories including a couple of characters it turned out I knew.
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Old 12th Feb 2010, 09:20
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May be something of interest here Jack Malloch :: Tango Romeo [The life and times of Jack Malloch] ,whilst not totally focused on Biafra it does touch on it.
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Old 12th Feb 2010, 10:31
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Originally Posted by The AvgasDinosaur View Post
Quote Dave Clarke Fife
They are both L1049H models c/n 4831 CF-NAL and c/n 4832 CF-NAM. Titles were/are Canairelief and Jointchurchaid. They have been there since Jan 1970.
Hope it helps,
Be lucky
David
Thanks for that info Dave...........in fact this whole thread has inspired me to purchase some books and read up about the whole Biafra incident!!
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Old 12th Feb 2010, 11:04
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When I was in stationed Nigeria, (Port Harcourt), I heard many interesting stories about the efforts of Gustaf Von Rosen. I first heard of him when I was in Ethiopia in the early '70s.

Here is a link:

Carl Gustaf von Rosen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regards

carholme
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Old 12th Feb 2010, 19:49
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Many thanks for all your info. I wonder if there are any photos around? I must explain my interest - I was Supplies and Transport Manager for Shell products distribution in Nigeria throughout the Civil War (today job title would be Director of Logistics!). We supplied bitumen in drums from our plant at Lagos to Cotonou from where it was flown in by the DC6s to Uli ihiala for the extension of the road into a runway with dispersal points etc. At Easter 1968 my wife and I were in Cotonou watching and helping loading the standard lift of CSM and Heineken when we were offered a lift in for the fun of it - to my eternal regret I refused as I knew I'd be sacked on the spot if Shell ever heard about it).
Weapons were flown in from Sao Tome except for the French Navy Neptune from Cotonou with French arms (they flew in the radar shadow of a DC6 to avoid the Feds).
The Cotonou DC6s were maintained by Field Aircraft Services with a polyglot air crews. From memory they were rated at 20,000lbs cargo and normally lifted 24,000lbs. Watching takeoffs was heart stopping - at dusk very long run then out over the sea barely climbing (anyway they kept low to cross the Nigerian coastline below radar if possibl). upt ot three flights per night (on bonuses!)
I was also responsible for fuel supplies to the ICRC aid road convoys (and to the Fed Army and Air Force - SA mercenary pilots mostly), so immediately at the end of the war I drove into Biafra and saw Uli Ihiala (and the other military only airstrip) to suss out fuel aid routes (getting road tankers etc).
I was moved by the little cemetery of some 20 crew at the end of the runway - shortly afterwards the Fed Army bulldozed it away. Driving onto the 'runway' you went through the fuselage of a DC4? that had crashed and the two halves simply pulled apart. There were burnt out Connies etc on the dispersal points. But I had no camera, so no photos.
By the way, the C97s were never used. They were flown into Lagos by the US Government at the end of the war with the idea of replacing the aid flights, as 700,000 people were dying of starvation. But the Feds refused permission. They needed 115/145 which wqe didn't have in Nigeria but there was some in Cotonou so i organised a 'reverse lift' of road tankers to truck it into Lagos (that took some organising in 24 hours I can tell you - talk about bureaucracy!).
So I had tremendous admiration for those crews - it was 'Fate is the Hunter' type story.
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