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Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

Article about: BEER CARRYING SPITFIRES OF WORLD WAR II In lighter moments of World War II, the Spitfire was used in an unorthodox role: bringing beer kegs to the men in Normandy. During the war, Heneger an

  1. #11
    ?

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    Brill.

  2. #12

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    Great story - I wouuld like to believe it. I know from my Dad (who flew Mosquitos and Lancasters) that the RAF lads got up to all sorts of tricks, but anyone with half a brain knows 'the Revenue of Ministry and Excise' is the invention of a halfwit. And why did someone go to the ridiculous expense/trouble of staging a picture of 'tank filling'? It looked dubious so I did some googling.

    - There was an Icelandic pilot named Thorstein Jonsson....to which, for a laugh, someone has added Elton - Elton Jon, ho ho ho.
    - I've read 4 reviews of the real Tony Jonsson's book and his Times obit. They cover his numerous adventures but not beer-carrying, which would surely have been a highlight.
    - from 1943 (before D-day or troops in Normandy), 65 squadron was flying U.S. Mustangs for the rest of the war - so the mention of them having beer-carrying Spitfires is a plain lie.
    - there is no record of a Heneger and Constable brewery on Google, or in the history of UK breweries 1800-1950.
    - even Wikipedia expresses major doubts about T. Elton J, and you can put virtually any old rubbish on there.

    So what are we left with? A couple of photos of Spitfires with barrels (of what?) attached. Sorry, but it's an elaborate hoax.

  3. #13

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    Quote by andy wright View Post
    Great story - I wouuld like to believe it. I know from my Dad (who flew Mosquitos and Lancasters) that the RAF lads got up to all sorts of tricks, but anyone with half a brain knows 'the Revenue of Ministry and Excise' is the invention of a halfwit. And why did someone go to the ridiculous expense/trouble of staging a picture of 'tank filling'? It looked dubious so I did some googling.

    - There was an Icelandic pilot named Thorstein Jonsson....to which, for a laugh, someone has added Elton - Elton Jon, ho ho ho.
    - I've read 4 reviews of the real Tony Jonsson's book and his Times obit. They cover his numerous adventures but not beer-carrying, which would surely have been a highlight.
    - from 1943 (before D-day or troops in Normandy), 65 squadron was flying U.S. Mustangs for the rest of the war - so the mention of them having beer-carrying Spitfires is a plain lie.
    - there is no record of a Heneger and Constable brewery on Google, or in the history of UK breweries 1800-1950.
    - even Wikipedia expresses major doubts about T. Elton J, and you can put virtually any old rubbish on there.

    So what are we left with? A couple of photos of Spitfires with barrels (of what?) attached. Sorry, but it's an elaborate hoax.
    Sorry Andy, but you're wrong. The transporting of beer barrels by Spitfire post D-day are entirely true. New aircraft being delivered to the continent had no need for amunition, drop tanks or bombs. The Luftwaffe was by this time non existant in that part of the ETO. Spit's were taking off from LG's and airfields in the New Forest area carrying both barrels and new drop tanks full of beer. The Ammo storage boxes in the wings were also employed to carry spirits for the officers.

    As for where the beer originated, well Heneger & Constable is a misnomer, the brewery that supplied some of the beer you refer to was actually Henty & Constable of Arundel & Chichester, the story is not a hoax.

    It reminds me a little of the Americans on Guam in the 50's and 60's. They had major problems with refrigerated storage units constantly breaking down, and as you know, our American friends don't like warm beer!

    The answer was to load up a B-52 going on an air test, with panniers full of crates of beer bottles. When the aircraft reached altitude the bomb doors would be opened and the jet would stooge around for a few minutes before returning to land at base, with ice cold bottles of beer! Excellent.....

    Cheers! Ned.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  4. #14

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    all great stuff guys.dave

  5. #15

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    Ned, all good stuff, thanks.
    I tracked down Heneger and the halfwit 'Ministry' to an aviation art website:
    Sierra Aviation Art :: World War II Aviation :: WWII - RAF :: Friendly Ordnance by Ronald Wong
    This carelessly-written piece has passed into general circulation: I received it in an email together with 'A staged shot of the Mod. XXX tank being filled'. Then someone adds the 65 Squadron Spits error and it looks worse. It appears the whole piece was lifted from spitfiresite.com who should have been more careful. (If you google Heneger and Constable, you get 7,000 results for a non-existent brewery. That's how far the error has spread).
    Inaccuracies/exaggerations like that devalue the rest of the story.

    It's worth reading the thread at 'Professional Pilots Rumour Network' PPRUNE ref http://www.pprune.org/military-aircr...r-haulers.html.
    I'm encouraged to see that someone at Friston in '44 remembers beer carriers. That would tie in with Henty's at Chichester. On that basis, I'll change my verdict from elaborate hoax to story full of errors.

    Given the healthy volume of RAF vets memoirs, documentaries etc, I'd expect to be able to find dozens of references to this attention-grabbing story if it was anything more than a one-off event. Hell, anyone half-literate would be able to turn it into a best seller! Despite much research, I've not been able to find anything prior to recent years. Was the story dormant for 50+ years?

    I'll let you know if I turn up anything more concrete.

    Regards, Andy
    PS well done with your efforts to get Scott's final words to a larger audience.

  6. #16

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    Thanks for the nice reply Andy! I am delighted to have better 'Gen than the talented Mr. Wong, an artist who I have greatly admired for many years!

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  7. #17

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    What a great thread,it cheered me up no end.
    It just goes to show,
    A Man and his Beer will never be parted
    Cheers Mick

  8. #18
    ?

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    Too right!

  9. #19

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    If I recall its was Wing Commander "johnnie" Johnsons Canadian pilots that came up with this scheme and i believe there is a picture of one of the beer carrying spits in his Book titled "Wing Leader".

    I just went and looked, yes there is a pic of one of his Mk. 9 spits with 2 barrels under the wings. and there WAS some kind of issues with carrying beer to the continent, some govt. muppets wanted thier share of the scheme.

  10. #20

    Default Re: Beer carrying spitfires of world war ii

    I'm surprised more Aussies haven't responded - but then maybe it's a case of " h'mm, why didn't I think of that?"

    Dropping kegs into the next barbie - brilliant! .....beats the beer hat any day.

    Dan
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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