© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons

459 Squadron

Radar Technician Henry Flynn

Trans-Atlantic Ferry Route to the Middle East

Canadian Wilf Darby, Radar Mechanic, recalled the sort of ferry trips that Henry was involved in.  Wilf recalled "We travelled by train to Montreal, New York and Miami, by small boat from Miami to the Bahamas.  One night of luxury - another airman and myself shared the stateroom which had been occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  This was the last luxury one was to enjoy for almost 2 years.  There were 37 of us who would be flown from the Bahamas to Egypt, staggered over 2 weeks.  At Windsor Field, near Nassau, one radar mechanic was assigned to each Ventura aircraft which were being ferried of their South Atlantic.  My particular Ventura was FP663.  I was a supernumerary, responsible for security of the radar equipment.  As we took off from Windsor field the aircraft shuddered and struggled for altitude and we cleared the trees with very little to spare.

Our crew had only just converted to Venturas, which was not good for one's confidence; but the only excitement was when we had a double engine stoppage due to problems with a fuel tank changeover.  We staged through Puerto Rico, British Guiana, Natal and Ascension Island, before flying the last leg to Accra, Nigeria.  The whole trip was flown alone;' however, we were passed by another Ventura when about 100 miles west of Ascension Island. Remarkably, I met a chap in Toronto some 40 years later who said "I've got a photo of your aircraft" - he was in the Ventura that passed us. 

At Accra I parted with my ferry crew and after several days in Accra flew by C47 [ins stages] to West Cairo.  Along the route we observed several camel caravans - it was like something out of a movie.  The total trip took 10 days, during which I spent over 7-0 hours in the air."

Unlike Wilf Darby, Ventura FP663 was not destined for service with 459 Squadron.  Aircraft movement files show that it was diverted to the South African Air Force.  However five other Canadian radar technicians who made similar ferry flights to the Middle East in November 1943 were also to service on 459 Squadron, namely Steve Daiker, Ralf Edick, Henry Flynn, Earl Tapping and Lorne Woods.  Their long months of training and world travel over, the young men from every corner of the Empire now looked forward eagerly to commencing operations with 459 Squadron in the North African desert.



Henry completed a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science at the University of Toronto, Canada.  He was closely involved in the development of satellite and space communication systems for the US Air Force.  Returning to Canada in 1967, he joined the Science Secretariat of the Privy Council, playing a leading role in the establishment of the Canadian satellite communication system.  He died in May 2006.


Henry's daughter Maureen Flynn forwarded the following photo which was felt would bring back some memories for serving members.