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An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

Article about: Capt. Gilbert Shepard Tobin was an American from Verona, New Jersey, who enlisted in the RCAF in Montreal before the U.S. got involved in the war…..as was the case with many American fellows

  1. #1
    drm2m
    ?

    Default An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    Capt. Gilbert Shepard Tobin was an American from Verona, New Jersey, who enlisted in the RCAF in Montreal before the U.S. got involved in the war…..as was the case with many American fellows that had previous flying experience.

    The spirit of adventure ….I guess.

    After certain training in Canada he went to England and was involved ferrying aircraft to different bases ….Spitfires …Hurricanes….and a lot of other aircraft.

    Ferry Command started flying newly manufactured U.S. (While the U.S. was still neutral) and Canadian bombers from Newfoundland and Labrador to Prestwick in Scotland. (The North Atlantic Route…cold as hell…….with serious weather problems….many air crews were lost.)

    Eventually they started flying bombers to Africa which involved flying over substantial jungle areas in Brazil and desert areas in central and West Africa to get to Cairo.
    (The South Atlantic Route……and many air crews were lost….and it was hot as hell.)

    This is some of his stuff.

    This thread may drag out a bit as there are a few chapters to this story.

    David
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  2. #2

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    This thread may drag out a bit as there are a few chapters to this story.
    David,

    Drag away!! Thanks for posting this seldom seen type of grouping. What an incredible variety of aircraft he ferried.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  3. #3
    drm2m
    ?

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    Steven M,

    The drag continues---


    A little WWII history revisited that involved "Ferry Command" to some degree.

    A caption above one of the photos;

    “The campaign in North Africa as we well remember had many ups and downs and during one of the “downs” we were called to fly in great haste, a large quantity of ammunition required for the stand at El Alamein. (Egypt)
    A large fleet of Liberators took over this work and these group pictures are of the crews that operated them.”
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    The Battle of El Alamein, fought in the deserts of North Africa, is seen as one of the decisive victories of World War Two. The Battle of El Alamein was primarily fought between two of the outstanding commanders of World War Two, Montgomery, who succeeded the dismissed Auchinleck, and Rommel. The Allied victory at El Alamein lead to the retreat of the Afrika Korps and the German surrender in North Africa in May 1943.

    El Alamein is 150 miles west of Cairo. By the summer of 1942, the Allies were in trouble throughout Europe. The attack on Russia - Operation Barbarossa - had pushed the Russians back; U-boats were having a major effect on Britain in the Battle of the Atlantic and Western Europe seemed to be fully in the control of the Germans.

    El Alamein was a last stand for the Allies in North Africa.

    By November 2nd 1942, Rommel knew that he was beaten. Hitler ordered the Afrika Korps to fight to the last but Rommel refused to carry out this order. On November 4th, Rommel started his retreat.

    Twenty five thousand Germans and Italians had been killed or wounded in the battle as well as 13,000 Allied troops in the Eighth Army.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------


    Regarding the ammunition delivery in anticipation of the Battle of El Alamein, October 23-November 5 1942, they are references in Tobin’s Pilot’s Log Book which start on July 5th 1942 and continue until July 26th 1942.

    The aircraft is a Liberator B-24-D number FL909.

    The entries are as follows;

    July 5-Compaso Swing….I don’t know what this is?
    July 7- Dorval to Mitchell
    July 8-Mitchell to West Palm Beach
    July 11-12 W. Palm to Trinidad-Waller (Field)
    July 13 Waller to Belem (Brazil)
    July 13 Belem to Natal (Brazil)
    July 14 -15 Natal to Marshall
    July 15 Marshall to Accra (Ghana)
    July 16 Accra to Kano (Nigeria)
    July 17-18 Kano to Khartoum (Sudan)
    July 18 Khartoum to Cairo (Egypt)
    July 22-23 Cairo to Kano
    July 23 Kano to Bathurst (West Africa-see map)
    July 24 Bathhurst to Gibraltar
    July 25 Gibraltar to Lyneham (England)
    July 26 Lyneham to Prestwick (Scotland)

    Capt. Tobin was involved in this mission

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Some of the other overseas locations mentioned in Tobin’s RAF log….either destinations..or stops in the course of going somewhere regarding aircraft delivery or otherwise.

    -Christmas Islands.-Greenland.-Iceland.-Nassau.-B.W.I.(British West Indies)-Bermuda. Ras el- Mar (Morocco).-Habbaniya.-(Iraq)- Azores Islands (Portuguese)-
    Rabat. (Capital of Morocco)
    -Karachi.(Pakistan)- Cairo. (Egypt)- Trinidad.- Belem (brazil)- Natal (Brazil) Ascension.(Island) South Atlantic Ocean.-Accra.(Ghana)- Khartoum (Sudan)-
    Cardiff. (Wales)
    -Bathurst.- London .-Rome.- Gibraltar.- Kano.(Nigeria)
    -Hickam. (O’ahu Hawaii-Borders Pearl Harbour)
    -Fiji.-Paris
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  4. #4
    drm2m
    ?

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    My entry into the world of the RAF in WWII started with the purchase of a Colt .45 M1911A1 pistol rig that I purchased from an American vet's family.
    The vet flew with RAF Ferry Command out of Montreal starting in October 1941.

    I am an arms collector, and my research with the help of his family has drawn me further into this fellow's flying history.

    The rig comprises a Colt 1911A1 pistol Sn. 785826 delivered to the Springfield Armory on June 25 1942.

    “W.B.” is stamped on the frame above the left trigger guard web –Waldemar Broberg, Col. U.S. Army inspector‘s acceptance marking.

    The holster is a Model 1916 light brown leather holster marked “CLINTON” 1918 F.W.T, also shown is a double magazine pouch marked R.H. LONG 5-18 ink stamped on inside flap.

    The field dressing pouch is marked with U.S. on the front, with”MIAMI AWNING CO 1941” markings on the rear.

    Some of the components of this rig 'might' suggest left over inventory from WWI.

    The holster, magazine pouch and field dressing accessories all have reference markings to Capt. G.S. Tobin who was originally from New Jersey.

    In the photo of the rear of the holster under Tobin's name there appears to be what looks like "RAFFC"....possibly for Royal Air Force Ferry Command.

    This whole exercise has been a facinating exposure to a part of the service that I knew nothing about.

    These guys have some incredible stories to tell.

    David
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  5. #5
    drm2m
    ?

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    I found this letter in the vet’s stuff along with many other photos of the WWII period....it is rather interesting








    As a point of interest, this is the story of Liberator KN751 that the vet (Capt. Gilbert S. Tobin) delivered to Dhubalia in India in June 1945 that eventually ended up in an R.A.F. museum back in England in July 1974.

    INDIVIDUAL HISTORY
    CONSOLIDATED B24 L -20-FO LIBERATOR KN751/HE807
    MUSEUM ACCESSION NUMBER 74/AF/790

    2 Jun 45 Ferried to Dorval Field, Montreal via Romulus Field, Michigan and given RAF serial KN751

    4 Jun 45 Collected by a crew from No.45 Ferry Group RAF and flown across the South Atlantic via the usual route from Dorval, via Gander in Newfoundland, Lagens in the Azores, Rabat in French Morocco, Castel Benito in Libya, Lydda in Palestine, Shaibah in Iraq, and Drigh Road in Karachi to Air Command South- East Asia (ACSEA) at Bamrauli (Allahabad), India, usually involving some 53 flying hours.

    26 Jun 45 Allocated to No. 99 (Madras Presidency) Squadron at Dhubalia, code letter 'F'. This was one of six RAF Squadrons plus a Heavy Conversion Unit using the Liberator in the bomber role in South East Asia, principally for night attacks.

    KN751 initially served as a spare aircraft, and for crew training but later flown by the Squadron's CO Wing Cdr Webster, DSO, DFC when used on detachment in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands from 17 July 1945, where it was also flown by the Station Commander Major General Durant (who was a SAAF officer with the honorary RAF rank of Air Vice Marshal) and for air - sea rescue cover on bombing raids on Japanese Forces in Burma (including Rangoon) until the Japanese surrender in mid August 1945. It probably flew in natural metal finish.


    7 Aug 45 No.99 Squadron flew its last bombing mission, attacking two airfields at Benkoelen on Sumatra with bombs and strafing runs.

    12 Aug 45 No.99 Squadrons' last wartime operational mission, three aircraft dropping supplies to Malayan Guerrillas.

    22 Aug 45 with spasmodic fighting continuing in Malaya, the squadron dropped supplies to guerrilla forces north of Singapore.
    From late August and into September the Squadron was engaged in leaflet dropping to Allied Internees and Prisoners of War, including those held in the notorious Changi jail in Singapore, and to Japanese troops.

    Feb70 Allocated by the Indian Air Force to the RAF Museum following a request by the Museum.
    At this stage there were only two aircraft that the Indians believed could be made
    flyable.


    1Jul 74Formally presented to the Royal Air Force Museum by the Indian Government in a small ceremony at the Bangalore factory of Hindustan Aeronautics.
    .
    Left Bangalore the same day bearing RAF roundels and serial number.
    Flown back to the UK via Santa Cruz Airport Bombay (departing 2 July) Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, (3rd July) Almaza, Cairo (4th July), Rome. (6th July) Crewed by Wing Cdr I M Chopra IAF retired, chief test pilot of Hindustan Aeronautics, former RCAF Wg Cdr Doug Connor DFC and Bar (who paid for the refurbishing of the aircraft) and Fg Off Pesi Daruwalla, retired IAF Flight Engineer.

    The aircraft remained on display at Cosford until 2005.

    Aug 05 1976 dismantling underway prior to moving by road to RAFM London (Hendon).












    David

  6. #6
    drm2m
    ?

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    A little WW II history about Cairo.

    Between August 1942 when Montgomery took over the Eighth Army and October-November 1942 when he won the decisive battle at al-Alemein, Cairo was almost a serious military city. But after al-Alemein, when the war left Egypt and disappeared like a setting European sun over the western horizons, the city lost almost all the fantasy and glamour which those balmy years of occupation had brought it.

    -------------------------------------------------


    WWII Excerpts from "Cairo, Biography of a City"
    by James Aldridge
    “The Turf Club swarmed with officers newly arrived from England, and a dozen open-air cinemas were showing every night in the hot, brightly lit city…We had French wines, grapes, melons, steaks, cigarettes, beer, whisky, and abundance of all things that belonged to rich, idle peace. Officers were taking modern flats in Gezira’s big buildings looking out over the golf course and the Nile. Polo continued with the same extraordinary frenzy in the roasting afternoon heat. No one worked from one till five-thirty or six, and even then work trickled through the comfortable offices borne along in a tide of gossip and Turkish coffee and pungent cigarettes…Madame Badia’s girls writhed in the belly dance at her cabaret near the Pont des Anglais.”

    History was laughing at itself, and once more Clot Bey’s brothels filled to overflowing with British Tommies. Once again, Shepheard’s and the Continental were jammed with staff officers with suede boots, fly whisks and swagger sticks. Once again the nightshirted street Egyptian began to invent a thousand new ways of getting a few piasters out of the pockets of these red-faced soldiers. But as it was before, so it was again – the street Arab got the pickings, and the European and Levantine speculators and black marketers and the rich Egyptians and the British as well made the fortunes. But Cairo blossomed. British soldiers seeing sun and desert and clean air for the first time in their lives looked hungrily at the beautiful European girls who swished their pretty legs in the streets and on the trams and in the cafes. Many of these soldiers had come from appalling conditions in the black and grimy back streets of British cities not yet recovered from the depression. Many of them had never seen before what they now enjoyed every day in Cairo, and Cairo’s Europeans were generous with friendship and help. But it was not long before the relationship between the British soldiers and officers and the European girls in Cairo became an intricate and complicated entanglement which very few escaped, and many good British marriages foundered in the those soft Cairo evenings when love rushed through the city on the wings of an exotic escape.

    Cairo filled steadily with soldiers other than Englishmen, Scotchmen, Welshmen and Irishmen. This time the Egyptian authorities asked that the Australians should be sent somewhere else, so they were sent to Palestine instead, but the Free French arrived and so eventually did Greeks, Czechs, Poles, Danes, Slavs, New Zealanders, Cypriots, Maltese, Palestinians, South Africans, Rhodesians, Americans and Indians. The British had two headquarters in Cairo: British Troops in Egypt (BTE), which was set up in the Semiramis Hotel on the Nile, and General Headquarters Middle East, which was given a large block of commandeered flats surrounded by barbed wire in Garden City. BTE was really part of the old British forces still occupying Egypt, mainly in the canal zone, but GHQ (ME) was the headquarters of the army that was facing the Italians and would pursue them into Libya. Of all the generals who fought in Egypt during the war, only Wavell (the first) and Montgomery (the last) always knew what was going on in the desert. Nonetheless Wavell’s staff officers were among the worst in their attachment to Cairo.

    The sight of these thousands of officers playing their games in Cairo and living like petty princes in the clubs and around the swimming pools disturbed the British soldier in the second war far more that it had in the first one. But in fact the situation never really changed at all until Montgomery took the Eighth Army clean out of Egypt to chase Rommel across North Africa. There were, of course, brilliant and dedicated officers and generals in the desert as well as incompetent idiots, but for most of the war Cairo was occupied by an old-boy network that kept their firm grip on it to the very end.

    All the local Europeans enjoyed the British presence because they benefited from it, excepting perhaps the Italians, who were interned whether they were for or against Mussolini. Egypt was technically not at war with the Axis until 1945, but she broke off diplomatic relations with Germany and Italy at the outbreak of the war. The Italians were therefore interned by the Egyptians, not by the British, because they were on Egyptian soil. But the Egyptians were not anti-Italian, so the internment regime was mild and the British didn’t object to it. A fair number of local Italians were Fascists, but they made no serious attempt to help Mussolini. On the whole the Italians were probably the most popular foreigners in Cairo.
    --------------------------------------

    WWII Excerpts from "Cairo, Biography of a City"
    by James Aldridge

    The real enemy agents in Cairo during the war were German, and the British secret police were very efficient in catching them. In I Spied Spies Major A.W. Sansom, who was in charge of one section of the British counterespionage security police in Cairo during the war, tells story after story of how clever the British were, almost always using – and developing as their best agents – prostitutes and petty criminals and people they deliberately got involved. Sansom’s account of Cairo in the war is one of the seamiest and dirtiest ever told, but it is also one of the most honest and informed, and it reveals a great deal about British methods in keeping Cairo safe for the British presence.

    It was Sansom, with the aid of a Jewish cabaret dancer, who unearthed a coven of German spies who came to Cairo loaded with English money and a radio transmitter and set themselves up in fabulous luxury in a houseboat on the Nile. But Cairo got the better of them. They were so delighted to be in this succulent old city with a fortune in their pockets and girls in their beds that they didn’t bother too much with their espionage, and it was comparatively easy for Sansom to catch them in a dramatic raid, though not before he had gone through all the weird and shady business of plots in low cafes and tip-offs and the usual double-faced deceptions.

    What was most significant about this raid however was that it led to the capture of a young Egyptian officer named Anwar el Sadat. The captured German spies would not talk, so Winston Churchill, who happened to be in Cairo, personally questioned them and offered them their lives if they would reveal all their contacts in Egypt. The Germans betrayed one of the Egyptians they knew – Sadat. He was arrested, cashiered from the Egyptian army, and imprisoned. But what the British police did not know then was that he was one of a group of young officers who had just formed the Revolutionary Committee, which would eventually seize power in Egypt.


    -------------------------------------------------

    Dr. K. Barradas' venerial clinic in Cairo.









    An interesting book about Ferry Command.















    A post card.







    David

  7. #7

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    What a fantastic posting and great addition to the aviation forum. A superb presentation...
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  8. #8
    drm2m
    ?

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    Thank you Steven M.

    I must tell that I don't usually frequent this part of the forum...it actually happened yesterday...almost by accident.

    I saw one of your presentations on a WWI pilot's tunic and gear.....most impressive....I really like your photography...it is supurb!

    I don't collect this stuff as a rule...and know very little about this side of Militaria collecting.

    David

  9. #9

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    Quote by drm2m View Post
    Thank you Steven M.

    I must tell that I don't usually frequent this part of the forum...it actually happened yesterday...almost by accident.

    I saw one of your presentations on a WWI pilot's tunic and gear.....most impressive....I really like your photography...it is supurb!

    I don't collect this stuff as a rule...and know very little about this side of Militaria collecting.

    David
    David,

    I am very glad you found this section, I am quite proud to Moderate it as there is some incredible history presented here. Thank you for your compliments, it is much appreciated. If you ever have a desire to venture into this fascinating part of history, there are many sources from which we can access any information or questions you may have.

    I don't know everything about aviation history, and never will - no one will. However, I am at your service in any way that you might need in this area. We can all learn together as sharing knowledge assures that these men are not forgotten.

    There are some knowledgeable people posting here and you won't find the "bow and kiss the ring" attitude from them so never hesitate to ask! Thanks again for the addition to the forum!
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  10. #10

    Default Re: An American that flew with R.A.F Ferry Command.

    Hi David, thanks for a super thread. I have seen the "Liberator" in question several times

    Cheers, Ade,

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