The Park’s new monument honouring Ferry Command was dedicated on Sunday, September 17, 2017. We are a bit belated in telling the story here on The Park's website but we feel it needs telling as Ferry Command played such a big role in Gander's history. With reference to the year 1946, even though WWII ended in 1945 "Ferry Command continued in operation until it was formally dismantled in 1946 according to our research.". (Gerard)
Ferry Command – 1940-1946
The history of Gander’s role in the WWII effort would not be complete without a tribute to the unsung heroes of Ferry Command.
The Park’s new monument honours those brave civilian and military pilots. During the Battle of the Atlantic ceremony held on September 17, 2017 the monument was dedicated by the Reverend Wesley Oake.
Ferry Command, a collaborative effort of civilians, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and other allies, was an ambitious effort to transport combat aircraft manufactured in Canada and the United States to WWII operational airfields in the United Kingdom, and other theatres of war.
To avoid catastrophic losses incurred by sea transport, the plan was to fly the aircraft across the North Atlantic Ocean. Given that there had been fewer then 100 successful air crossings of the Atlantic Ocean, the transatlantic flights of Ferry Command were an exercise in ingenuity, determination, and immense bravery.
Over the course of the War, almost 3500 civilian and military personnel from 23 allied nations (including 1500 Newfoundlanders) played roles in Ferry Command. Of the 10,000 aircraft designated for trans-Atlantic delivery, an unanticipated 95% arrived safely. A significant number of flights across the North Atlantic departed Gander at night and during the winter months. At least 560 personnel lost their lives in these efforts.
On the evening of November 10, 1940, seven Lockheed Hudson bombers, led by Captain C.T. Bennett, departed Gander to attempt the 2100 mile crossing of the Atlantic to Great Britain. Eleven hours later all seven aircraft landed successfully in Northern Ireland.
Carol Walsh, Committee Member / February 19, 2018
Ferry Command Monument
Dedicated on Sunday, September 17, 2017
(Photo courtesy of Carol Walsh)
The following links relate to the photos found on the middle and right panels of the monument ...
- Bottom left - middle panel
Map of Routes Flown by Ferry Command found at the North Atlantic Aviation Museum Gander website page Atlantic Ferry Command
- Bottom right - middle panel
The crew members that flew the first flight of 7 aircraft found at the Gander Airport Historical Society website page Ferry Command (check out all the links within!)
- Top right - right panel
1940 - Formation flight of six Hudson's over England found at the Lockheed Martin website page The Hudson