No caption

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 locallyto 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

No. 6 P.A.F.U. Little Rissington

This message was sent by Richard Hall last July. He had some more photos to share. I was just waiting for the end of the second beginning to post it…

To your knowledge has anyone done a blog specifically about No 6 P.A.F.U Little Rissington….Maybe I could kick one off with the first bit of Dad’s diary and appropriate photos and logbook entries….I’ve also been in touch with BBC to see if they could assist me tracking down possible relatives of WAAF “Johnnie” who gave these pictures to my Dad…He bought these back from the war so they must have held some significance for him and the mystery is killing me…

Both my parents are deceased so can’t ask them…ain’t that a familiar mantra!


Johnnie 2
Will there be a third beginning on this blog?

Just click here…


P.A.F.U. is Pilots Advanced Flying Unit

My Darling Thelma,

On Friday September 1st, 1944, Stanley Hall wrote this…

Made up a parcel to send home; a handbag for Mavis, a wallet for Ray, blouse for Thelma and dress for Robin plus a few odds and ends; lace, hair clips, nets. elastic. So I will post it on Monday. To send a parcel I have to apply through Govt export control, get a permit and hand it into the P.O. I have a cold at present; it doesn’t take much exertion to start up perspiration during the monsoon weather which is so muggy. The low cloud blots the sun and all we get is rain and hot and cold breezes.

I am expecting to go on a “jungle course” soon. It is so that we will have jungle experience if forced down and it should make a couple of interesting weeks.

I’ve still to pick up two gunners, a wireless op/gunner, a bomb aimer and a second pilot so will have eleven in my crew very soon.

On September 4th, 1944, he wrote Thelma a letter.

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 62

Flight Sgt W.S.Hall diary page 63

NZ 403315
F/SGT. W. S. HALL 4-9.44

My Darling Thelma,

At last my patient wait is over for your letter as an air letter card arrived to-day, it was written on Aug. 8th but actually reached India on the 21st and since then it has been on its way to me, so when I get settled I’m sure they will come through O.K. Thanks so much for such a sweet letter darling it’s like having something new and beautiful again after such a long 6 weeks, in fact there must still be more posted previously to that one.

To your enquiries of Jock, Tiny and Steve; I left them all behind dear they were sent to a different place to me after I left but I did see Jock again just prior to coming over here. I have a film in being developed now and I bought 2 more and have hopes of another couple in a day or so.

I was going to town to get the snaps today and also to get a permit so send a parcel which I have previously mentioned but seeing it is one section of the community’s New Year most of the places are closed, so will go tomorrow.

I have just returned from a visit to a nearby swimming pool a very spacious outdoor pool with a smaller indoor one.

There is a cafe in the grounds where we had tea and cakes so it is quite a pleasant way of passing some of the time.

The last picture I saw was “Follow the Boys” not bad but “Rythmn Parade” was really good, Ginny Simms she’s a peach!!

Had an airgraph from Mavis saying that Dick was in Auckland lucky chap. I wish they’d let me have a Lib or something to come home in occasionally, I’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to associate with the fairer sex these days so when I do get home you’ll have to smooth down the rough edges darling. I always feel a bit timid if some white woman speaks to me.

I’ve just been having a busy time selecting more chaps for my crew, quite a family now I can tell I’ll get them all together in a snap one day and you’ll have a better idea as to what a job I have on my hands. Well my darling this second honeymoon of ours sounds good, in fact much better than good, I’m always thinking of it darling, I often wish I could as soon as I arrive next year in Wgton have a really nice dinner at the very best, stay the night and then go home the next day, I’ll want you all to myself so that no one else could ask questions and interrupt us or stop me from adoring you for one minute.

Darling I really should keep these things for a self censored card but today I’m so thrilled with getting your letter so hope you won’t mind. Space is getting short dearest so I will close now. Hope you had a happy birthday, sending a cable tomorrow.

All my love and thousands of kisses for you both

God bless from Your own Stanley xxxxx

September 9th, 1944

Getting all packed up ready to be posted on a short jungle course. I have recently received a marvellous lot of mail and have been very busy now. Yesterday I made my crew up to Liberator strength and now there are eleven of us. Sent a cable for Thelma’s birthday a couple of days ago.

Last night I bought two plates. They are metal chrome finish and have beautiful working on them and the colouring is done with the powder of jewels. It is made into a paint and makes a very effective finish. I shall keep them in my tin trunk to bring home when I come.

Hope to get a pair of nice vases next pay.

This is the end of the second beginning on this blog…