Lysander of 138 ‘Special Duties’ Squadron - night take-off from a field in France during the mid stages of WW2. After Dunkirk Churchill, in conjunction with the US, set up a ‘special forces’ group which became known as the SOE. (Special Operations Executive - morphed into the CIA in the 40-50’s) with a remit to ‘set Europe ablaze’. This was to be achieved by providing manpower and materiel aid to the fledging French Resistance. As time went on it was realised that the Lysander was uniquely qualified for solving the problem of such supply by undertaking clandestine flights in occupied territories - slow (easy to navigate), quiet and capable of landing/take-off in tiny unprepared fields.
Hundreds of such flights were undertaken, the aircraft navigating to a lonely field somewhere in France, dropping off agents and weapons, to the waiting Resistance members, and often bringing back aircrew who had baled out over Europe and been ‘ rescued’ by the Resistance. By their very nature such flights were hazardous and 50% of the Squadron personnel were lost during these missions.
Composite of Lysander airshow image (Duxford) and landscape from my archives - with some wee additions in the form of the Resistance group.
Tags: Digitally manipulated
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