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BryanC (RIP)

Spitfires Transporting Beer in WWII!

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
One of the lesser known stories from WWII and it appears to be true!

Edit: I should make it clear that I did not write the following text. It was sent to me in an email from a friend. An internet search revealed lots of sites carrying this story!

The underbelly of history. A lot of stories like this buried with the men who fulfilled the missions... In the lighter moments of WWII, the Spitfire was used in an unorthodox role: bringing beer kegs to the men in Normandy.
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During the war, the Heneger and Constable brewery donated free beer to the troops. After D-Day, supplying the invasion troops in Normandy with vital supplies was already a challenge.

Obviously, there was no room in the logistics chain for such luxuries as beer or other types of refreshments. Some men, often called 'sourcers', were able to get wine or other niceties from the land or rather from the locals. RAF Spitfire pilots came up with an even better idea. The Spitfire Mk IX was an evolved version of the Spitfire, with pylons under the wings for bombs or tanks. It was discovered that the bomb pylons could also be modified to carry beer kegs. According to pictures that can be found, various sizes of kegs were used. Whether the kegs could be jettisoned in case of emergency is unknown. If the Spitfire flew high enough, the cold air at altitude would even refresh the beer, making it ready for consumption upon arrival. A variation was a long range fuel tank modified to carry beer instead of fuel. The modification even received the official designation Mod. XXX. Propaganda services were quick to pick up on this, which probably explains the official designation.
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A staged shot of the Mod. XXX tank being filled. As a result, Spitfires equipped with Mod XXX or keg-carrying pylons were often sent back to Great Britain for maintenance or liaison duties. They would then return to Normandy with full beer kegs fitted under the wings.
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The Spitfire had very little ground clearance with the larger beer kegs. Typically, the British Revenue of Ministry and Excise stepped in, notifying the brewery that they were in violation of the law by exporting beer without paying the relevant taxes. It seems that Mod. XXX was terminated then, but various squadrons found different ways to refurbish their stocks, most often done with the unofficial approval of higher echelons. In his book Dancing in the Skies, Tony Jonsson, the only Icelancer pilot in the RAF, recalled beer runs while he was flying with 65 Squadron. Every week a pilot was sent back to the UK to fill some cleaned-up drop tanks with beer and return to the squadron. Jonsson hated the beer runs as every man on the squadron would be watching you upon arrival. Anyone who made a rough landing and dropped the tanks would be the most hated man on the squadron for an entire week.
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Updated 29th Jun 2013 at 11:52 AM by BryanC (RIP)

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  1. new2nscale's Avatar
    Hey: my name is "new2nscale", and recently commented on a long blog I posted. I would be very interested in hearing your opinion re my sitch. I alluded to you in my blog, with what you are going thru, I hope you dont mind. Read my 3 posts, and comment directly or on a blog. Btw, my Dad, stll alive at 90 (just turned), was IN WW2 as a wireless air-gunner with the RCAF here in Canada. He patrolled off the coast of BC & Washington, way out in the Pacific Ocean, looking for enemy Jap submarines...I will show him what you posted about beer running ! Thanx. Oh, another btw, my wifes Mom passed away from breast cancer about 10 yrs ago now. It was hell 4 both of them...take care, new2nscale
  2. BryanC (RIP)'s Avatar
    Hi new2nscale:

    I read your three blog entries although I have to admit that reading the second one wasn’t easy! It is long and with no paragraphs it makes it really tough! Anyway, I did read it.

    There is really not much I can comment on. You spent most of the time stating how things, from your perspective, have deteriorated over the years and how you believe it will be difficult for you to provide your children with the same benefits that you received growing up.

    You don’t really seem to spend too much time talking about “your sitch”! All I can say is to hang in there and try to have a positive view about everything. Treat each day as an opportunity to enjoy your life; no matter how bad you think you have it, if you take the time to look around, there are many who have it a lot worse than you!

    Interesting about your Dad! Not sure if you know but I spent several years in the RCAF as a navigator chasing submarines around the North Atlantic! They were just changing over to the unified CAF when I left. A big mistake in my opinion!