BOAC Flight 777

bOAC 777

On June 1,1943 the BOAC Flight 777,a scheduled British Overseas Airways Corporation civilian airline flight from Portela Airport in Lisbon, Portugal to Whitchurch Airport near Bristol, England.The Douglas DC-3 serving the flight was attacked by eight German Junkers Ju 88 fighter planes and crashed into the Bay of Biscay, killing all 17 on board.

BOAC was a temporary wartime consortium of prewar airlines including British Airways and KLM.

Although it was a civilian flight it was not that uncommon that Civilian flights were attacked during the war. But what makes this attack special is some of the passengers on board.

bOAC

I will only go into more detail of 2 of the passnegers.

Leslie Howard

Leslie

Leslie Howard was a leading actor and figure  in the British film industry, and in Hollywood. Famous for his roles in  The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) and Gone with the Wind (1939). He was also involved in making and promoting pro-Allied films such as Pimpernel Smith (1941) and propaganda.  That’s what he  actually was was doing in Portugal, having been invited there by the British government to promote a film called The Lamp Still Burns.

Wilfrid Israel

wILFRED

Wilfrid Israel was a German-born Jew  WHO helped tens of thousands of Jews, many of them children, escape Germany during the Holocaust. He had played a significant role in the Kindertransport.

On 26 March 1943, he left Britain for Portugal and spent two months investigating the situation of Jews in Spain and Portugal; he found as many as 1,500 Jewish refugees in Spain, many of whom he aided in obtaining Palestine certificates and he proposed a plan to the British government to aid them.

The flight took off from Lisbon at 7:35 AM, five minutes late due to the late delivery of a package to Leslie Howard. A bit more than three hours later, over the Bay of Biscay, eight eight German Junkers Ju 88s appeared and began firing at the DC-3. The Dutch pilot radioed the ground that he was being followed by “strange aircraft” and then that cannon tracers and shells were ripping through the fuselage. His last words were, “Wave-hopping and doing my best.” One of the plane’s engines was severely damaged in the first salvo.

REPORT

There had been a few theories to why the Luftwaffe had attacked the flight. The most popular theory surrounding the downing of BOAC Flight 777 is that German intelligence mistakenly believed Winston Churchill was on the flight.

But there were also theories that Leslie Howard and Wilfrid Israel had been the intended targets. However the German pilots deny that they had any knowledge about the passengers on board and had actually thought it was a military plane.

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Sources

RAF

WWII Forums

IMDb

 

The bombing of a florist shop that inadvertently caused the death of 583

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On this day  42 years ago, at Tenerife-North Airport (formerly Los Rodeos), two Boeing 747’s – one KLM, the other  Pan Am – crashed on a foggy runway. 583 people were killed in what remains the biggest air disaster in history.

Neither of the planed were supposed to be there, they had both been diverted after a terrorist incident at Gran Canaria Airport,

The Canary Islands Independence Movement (CIIM), also known as the Movement for the Independence and Self-determination of the Canaries Archipelago is a defunct independent movement organization that had a radio station in Algiers and resorted to violence in attempts to force the Spanish government to create an independent state in the Canary Islands.

Mpaiac

CIIM terrorists bombed a florist shop in Las Palmas Airport on 27 March 1977, seriously injuring 8 people. Members then threatened to explode a second bomb in the airport, forcing police to shut down air traffic while they searched for the bomb.A small bomb was  detonated in the Canary Islands Airport, Spain only injuring one person.

However because of this all flights flying in to the Las Palmas Airport.

KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736 had both been redirected to Tenerife.Both of the 747′ s a were charters. Pan Am had come from Los Angeles, after a stopover in New York,  And the KLM boeing from its home base in Amsterdam.

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The two aircrafts were then both on the third runway when the incident occurred. The two flights both taxied onto the runway, with the KLM plane told to hold their position with the Pan Am flight told to follow.

The incident then occurred after the KLM flight took off without proper clearance from the airport.

It wasn’t the only problem, as the Pan Am flight also missed the turning off the runway after mistaking the exit C4 for exit C3 in the foggy conditionsThe KLM flight started to take off despite the runway not being clear and was unable to see the Pan Am flight until the last minute.

A recording from the Pan Am flight heard the captain exclaimed: “G******, that son-of-a-b**** is coming!” with the first officer then yelling: “Get off! Get off! Get off!”.

Despite the Pan Am plane attempting to turn off the runway while the KLM flight pulled up, the two planes then collided on the ground.

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One of the 61 survivors of the Pan Am flight, John Coombs of Haleiwa, Hawaii, said that sitting in the nose of the plane probably saved his life: “We all settled back, and the next thing an explosion took place and the whole port side, left side of the plane, was just torn wide open.”

Both airplanes were destroyed in the collision. All 248 passengers and crew aboard the KLM plane died, as did 335 passengers and crew aboard the Pan Am plane,[36] primarily due to the fire and explosions resulting from the fuel spilled and ignited in the impact. The other 61 passengers and crew aboard the Pan Am aircraft survived, including the captain, first officer and flight engineer. Most of the survivors on the Pan Am walked out onto the intact left wing, the side away from the collision, through holes in the fuselage structure.

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Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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