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Sqn. Ldr. A. Garretts MBE (retd) - The Berlin Air Lift 1948-1949

Berlin Air Lift Map The talk at our April meeting was given by Sqn. Ldr. A. "Garry" Garretts on the the Berlin Air Lift - as he says, "by someone who was there!"

The collection at this meeting was given as a donation to the RAF Association, Oxford and district Branch.

Sqn. Ldr. A. Garretts MBE (retd)

Having volunteered for RAF on his 19th birthday (April 1941), "Garry" Garretts was accepted into service later
that year.

Tiger Moth He then trained initially in the UK and afterwards in Canada(!) in January(!) in open cockpit Tiger Moth(!) where the runways were compressed snow(!)

He gained his wings and then was trained to carry out dead reckoning navigation over the sea, with which skills he instructed others over Hudson Bay.

On April 3rd (his birthday) 1945, four years after volunteering, he was sent to an Operation Training Unit flying Wellingtons, but half-way through the course the Germans surrendered.

He then served in various squadrons, many different types of aircraft and many RAF stations thoughout the world. In 1948-49 he was involved in flying in the Berlin Air Lift and also ferrying passengers to Singapore, gaining promotion to Flt. Lt. with a permanent commission. After more world-wide operations, he then became Senior Admin Officer at RAF Bicester from January 1961 to February 1964, where he picked up his MBE.

On April 2nd 1971, he retired from the RAF after 30 years service and moved on to other civilian roles. A fascinating life with lots of amusing tales to tell.

The Berlin Air Lift

The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control.
Douglas C-54 Skymaster at Tempelhof
The Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin.

In response, the Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the city's population.

Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing to the West Berliners up to 8,893 tons of necessities each day, such as fuel and food.

The Soviets did not disrupt the airlift for fear this might lead to open conflict.

[with acknowledgements to Wikipedia]

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Date:14 April 2016

Place:Chemistry Research Laboratory (CRL), South Parks Rd, Oxford, OX13TA

Sqn. Ldr. A. Garretts MBE (retd) - The Berlin Air Lift 1948-1949

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Cars to the Claydons - 70 ml run

Date:3rd September 2016

Place:OX18 4JP

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Blackthorn Classic Car Show

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