Ocean Bridge: The History of RAF Ferry Command by Carl A. ChristieOcean Bridge: The History of RAF Ferry Command by Carl A. Christie

Ocean Bridge: The History of RAF Ferry Command

byCarl A. Christie

Paperback | October 11, 1997

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At the beginning of the Second World War there was no thought of delivering planes by air across the Atlantic. It was assumed to be too costly and too dangerous, especially in winter. Despite this initial reluctance, between the fall of 1940 and the spring of 1945, Royal Air Force Ferry Command's mixed civilian and military crews flew almost ten thousand aircraft, mainly American-built, to operational squadrons overseas. In Ocean Bridge Carl Christie provides the first full account of the genesis, history, and importance of Ferry Command.

From the pioneer transatlantic flights of the interwar period and the early attempts to initiate regular commercial service, Christie traces London's decision to have aircraft, supplies, and passengers delivered across the Atlantic Ocean from Canada and the United States. Under the inspired leadership of a handful of Imperial Airways' captain-navigators, a group of civilian airmen from Britain, Canada, and the United States undertook to fly urgently needed bombers, maritime patrol aircraft, and transports to Europe for the RAF. This informal civilian organization was augmented by graduates of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada and taken over by the RAF as Ferry Command in 1941. Some five hundred aircrew, as well as sixty passengers, lost their lives in accidents; Major Sir Frederick Banting, the discoverer of insulin, was killed in the first fatal crash of the ferry service.

Ocean Bridge chronicles an often overlooked contribution to Allied victory and aviation history. By war's end the ferry service, through its various incarnations, had created the basis for the network of international air routes and procedures that commercial travellers now take for granted.

Carl A. Christie retired as Senior Research Officer of the Department of National Defence's Directorate of History in March 1996. He now lives in Winnipeg, where he teaches military and aviation history to Canadian Forces personnel as an associate professor of the Royal Military College of Canada's War Studies Programme. He is currentl...
Title:Ocean Bridge: The History of RAF Ferry CommandFormat:PaperbackDimensions:458 pages, 8.76 × 5.5 × 1.48 inPublished:October 11, 1997Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802081312

ISBN - 13:9780802081315

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From Our Editors

An airplane flight across the Atlantic seems simple and routine now. Just over 50 years ago, it was a feat even the Royal Air Force was reluctant to attempt. But during World War II, aircraft were badly needed in England; the RAF had no choice. Ocean Bridge tells the story of the Royal Air Force's Ferry Command, which flew almost 10,000 aircraft to overseas military operations between 1940 and 1945. This is the chronicle of an essential but overlooked military service largely staffed by civilian pilots. Its transatlantic routes paved the way for modern commercial flight.

Editorial Reviews

'Christie has mastered a large body of documentation and interviews to write this historical account. Despite the enormous wealth of detail and a cast of thousands, he has managed to produce a clear narrative of interest to anyone who knows how challenging the Atlantic can be.'