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Five years ago, that is how this blog got started. A photo without a caption shared by Cathy Swanson. She only knew her father was there.

Gil Gillis in the desert with Hawker Hurricane II C from 238 Squadron

Collection Gil Gillis

On April 24, 2019 Mark Gibson shared this page from his father’s logbook.

Collection Mark Gibson

Now, let’s turn back the clock to April 26, 1942…

Collection Mark Gibson

A.D.U. Takoradi Hurricane II BP564 Sector Recco 35 minutes

Uncrating a Hurricane at Aircraft Delivery Unit Takoradi



As the starting point of the Allied trans-African supply line to Egypt that became officially known as the West African Reinforcement Route (WARR), Takoradi became one of the most important bases for Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF). On September 5, 1940, the first shipment of a dozen Hurricane and Blenheim aircraft fighters in large wooden crates arrived at Takoradi by boat from the United Kingdom, and like many more consignments to come, they were unpacked and then assembled locally to be made airworthy for the flight to Cairo. The six-day journey was undertaken in stages with several rest and refueling stops that included Lagos, Nigeria; Khartoum, Sudan; and Luxor, Egypt. Nelson Gilboe, a Hurricane pilot, describes the Takoradi assembly plant as cut out of the dense forest with monkeys playing in nearby trees. (Simian residents of modern-day Takoradi still frolic in the trees of the Monkey Hill sanctuary.)

The first delivery flight to Cairo left Takoradi on September 20, 1940. Like the flights that were to follow, it was a journey plagued by problems. In the Sahara Desert portion of the route, sand took a severe toll on the aircraft engines. There was no map of the route, and many pilots used ominously burned-out aircraft on the ground as their guide.

In spite of these challenges, between August 1940 and June 1943, over 4,500 British Blenheims, Hurricanes, and Spitfires were assembled at Takoradi and ferried to the Middle East. Between January 1942 and the end of the operation in October 1944, 2,200 Baltimores, Dakotas, and Hudsons arrived from the United States (via the American base at Natal, Brazil, and a mid-Atlantic stop on Ascension Island), and virtually all of them were ferried in similar fashion. There were other final destinations via the Takoradi Route, including India.

Sometimes a comment goes a long way…

Having stumbled upon this blog by accident by looking at my Father’s logbook and trying to find out more about 238 squadron, since I sadly cannot ask him.
Not sure though of any interest, but in his log book he has a copy of the same photograph and names the pilots around the Hurricane.
He has recorded them from top to bottom as:
Punk, Kenya…..Self( Michael Gibson)
Robbie, Freddie, Jack, Chuck
C.O, Curly, Taffy, Eddie, Freddie, Ted, Percy, Bill, Gill, George, B-J
Ted, Nick, Bill, Chris
Any further information from anybody would be most welcome.
Mark Gibson


Sometimes a comment goes a long way…

Even more than you think…

238 Hurricane KC-G

Collection Mark Gibson


Colourised version