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In a Moon's Course ....

Lysanders in the moonlight.

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The Air Transport Auxiliary used to deliver Westland Lysanders; after all, the ATA were delivering around 140 aircraft types and the Lysander was used in a variety of roles in World War II (such as reconnaissance and Search & Rescue). Its most well-known role was the delivery and collection of personnel behind enemy lines in France for the Special Operations Executive.

My book In a Moon’s Course is titled from an epitaph, but these SOE flights were literally about flying in moonlight by dead reckoning then landing these STOL aircraft, with their automatic flaps and slats, in near darkness. The ATA Ferry Pilot Notes mention particularly the trim requirements and power settings for ‘mislandings’, always a delicate balance in this aircraft.

A simmer I stay in touch with loves the FSAddon ‘Special Ops’ package with its detailed Lysander model; so much so that he made the Tangmere airfield (the base of the secret delivery operations) his home airfield, as he has war-time memories of the area. The FSAddon package comes with 5 missions and torchlight landings in France.

Which brings me to the remarkable document ‘Infiltrations’ at http://www.plan-sussex-1944.net. Its full title is ‘Tentative (of) History of In/Exfiltrations into/from France during WWII from 1941 to 1945 (Parachutes, Plane & Sea Landings). Not exactly a name a marketing guru would love, I admit, but nevertheless it is a fascinating Adobe pdf summary of not only these Lysander drops and collections, but other aerial and naval ‘behind the lines’ missions to France.

For me it is remarkable to read some of these entries, knowing more of their history now. Take for example the 16 June 1943 entry of the delivery of “Madeleine” , real name Noor Inayat Khan*, delivered as part of a two-Lysander drop by pilots F/L Vaughan-Fowler & McCairns of RAF Squadron 161. Now we know that this SOE wireless operator, a brave and resourceful Indian woman, joined that day a Resistance unit. She was subsequently betrayed by a colleague and eventually beaten and executed in Dachau Concentration Camp. On the day of her delivery she probably had high hopes and natural fears for the work ahead.

There are, I think, a lot more missions for those who like the FSAddon Lysander (or the Alphasim Lysander model) in this document; but you will need to put the pieces together yourself … unless I get tempted to write another ebook of flight simulations on this subject!

Allan
[email protected]
http://moonscourse.blogspot.ca

*More about Noor Inayat Khan can be found in books, at the web site http://nigelperrin.com/soe-noor-inayat-khan.htm and at other sites. A recent novel by Shauna Singh Baldwin called The Tiger Claw (Knopf Canada) describes Khan’s story and her plight after capture.

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Updated 04-10-2013 at 10:51 AM by allanj12

Categories
Aviation History & Flight Simulation

Comments

  1. ians99's Avatar
    About Ms Khan check out Between Silk and Cyanide by Leo Marks, and also FS Addons recommends the excellent book by Hugh Verity: We Landed by Moonlight
  2. allanj12's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ians99
    About Ms Khan check out Between Silk and Cyanide by Leo Marks, and also FS Addons recommends the excellent book by Hugh Verity: We Landed by Moonlight
    Thanks Ian, I actually have the Verity book on order from Abebooks, so it is nice to see it recommended by the FSAddon package.

    Allan
  3. ians99's Avatar
    Allan, I really enjoyed Veritiy's book. The hard part was waiting for it to come from England for me. Thanks for your SOE link. I've been doing a lot of reading on the unconventional aspects of the war, such as the SOE, codebreaking and also on the economies of the occupied countries. The Nigel Perrin site is a good fit. Thanks.
    ian
  4. allanj12's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ians99
    Allan, I really enjoyed Veritiy's book. The hard part was waiting for it to come from England for me. Thanks for your SOE link. I've been doing a lot of reading on the unconventional aspects of the war, such as the SOE, codebreaking and also on the economies of the occupied countries. The Nigel Perrin site is a good fit. Thanks.
    ian
    Similarly, thanks for the Marks reference; my local library has a copy so I have put it on hold. Small world; he is the son of the bookstore owner Frank Marks, of Helene Hanff's '84 Charing Cross Rd' fame.
  5. allanj12's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ians99
    Allan, I really enjoyed Veritiy's book. The hard part was waiting for it to come from England for me. Thanks for your SOE link. I've been doing a lot of reading on the unconventional aspects of the war, such as the SOE, codebreaking and also on the economies of the occupied countries. The Nigel Perrin site is a good fit. Thanks.
    ian

    Ian, I have now finished the Verity Book and agree it is tremendously informative about these flights - well worth aquiring if anyone likes this sort of flight simulation. Thanks, Allan