Operation Plain Fare
In 1948, the Chifley Government of Australia
offered a RAAF transport Squadron to assist in the airlift to Berlin.
The then Communist Government in the
USSR had decreed that Berlin was to be isolated and starved out so that
Russia could take complete control of the city. Up till then it had been
under partitioned control of Russia, USA Britain and France. The USA,
Britain and the other Allies decided to completely resupply Berlin by
air so as to avoid having to fight the Russians or to give in to them.
plate with small metal hook on the back for hanging. The front of
the plate is painted in yellow and depicts Berlin landmarks
including the Brandenburg Gate. Overhead a steady stream of
aircraft fly overhead in both directions, with a Dakota painted
prominently in the centre.
In the foreground is the Royal Australian Air
Force emblem of a wreath surmounted by a King's crown and
surrounding the letters 'RAAF'.
Below the emblem are the words 'OPERATION PLAIN
|Around the top of the
rim are the words 'The greatest bridge in the world' with the
dates '1948/49' in between. Painted around the bottom of the rim
is 'LUBECK-BERLIN-LUBECK'. On the back of the plate are numerous
signatures scratched or written in pencil.
No.86 Wing from Richmond supplied 41 Dakota
aircrew members under the command of Squadron Leader C. A. Greenwood.
Stationed at Lubeck in Northern Germany, the
first mission occurred on 15th September 1948 when Squadron Leader
Greenwood airlifted 7,300 pounds of flour from Lubeck to Berlin.
Australian crews of the RAAF operated from 15
September 1948 to 29 August 1949. In this time they carried 6964
passengers and 15,623,364 pounds of freight. This involved 6,041 flying
hours in 2062 sorties.
A number of Australian aircrew members on
exchange duty also flew with No. 24 Squadron (Commonwealth), RAF.
Berlin was "saved", the
Russians eventually dropped their claims and things returned to normal.
Eventually the Berlin Wall fell and later so did the Communist regime in
Russia and most of her Soviet States.
- It was a huge win for democracy,
without any shooting.