25 years ago: 405 Sqn flew in formation over the Netherlands to commemorate Op Manna
François Carignan , 2020
On April 29th, 1995, Capt Derek Squire and crew from 405 Squadron flew a CP-140 in formation with allied airplanes over the Netherlands to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Operation Manna. Historical notes show that between April 29th and May 8th, 1945, 405 Squadron Pathfinders flew 6 missions in support of Operation Manna. During that operation, air units from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Poland and Canada airdropped thousands of tons of food to help feed Dutch civilians in danger of starvation as the supply of food had been disrupted.
On or near VE Day's 50th anniversary in 1995, a number of commemorative events were held in various locations. 405 Squadron was invited to send an aircraft and crew to participate in an Operation Manna commemorative formation flight over the Netherlands on Saturday April 29th, 1995.
A crew was selected and the required authorizations for a CP-140 formation flight were seeked from higher headquarters.
On the day of Op Manna commemoration, multiple groups of aircraft from allied nations flew in succession over The Netherlands. Although a minimum crew was on-board the CP-140 for the commemoration flight, a full crew was deployed as the tasking was to proceed afterwards to RAF Kinloss for operations. Non-flying members of 405 Squadron dressed up in uniform and in small groups visited Dutch villages along the flight path to "show the flag".
This was a very special event and Pathfinders met the challenge with pride.
Operations Manna and Chowhound took place from 29 April to the end of World War II in Europe on 8 May 1945. These two operations–Manna by the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force (29 April – 7 May) and Chowhound by the U.S. Army Air Forces (1–8 May)—dropped a total of over 11,000 tons of food into the still-unliberated western part of the Netherlands, with the acquiescence of the occupying German forces, to help feed civilians who were in danger of starvation in the Dutch famine. 405 Squadron was one of the Canadian squadrons involved in Op Manna.
Major Jamont and MWO Lane represented 405 Squadron at Operation Manna/Chowhound Anniversary