OUTLOOK FROM ‘THE ROCK’

A Halifax Met.6 of 224 Squadron patrols over ‘the Rock’, circa 1950. The extensive seawall of the harbour is underneath the Halifax, the hills in the background are within Spain. ALL AUTHOR’S COLLECTION

HALIFAX CREWS ROUTINELY RISKED THEIR LIVES TO ACQUIRE VITAL WEATHER INFORMATION. KEN ELLIS DESCRIBES THE WORK OF GIBRALTAR’S LAST ‘MET SHIPS’

It was exacting work, maintaining an accurate flight profile, and then at regular intervals collecting and transmiting vital data. Sorties were staged in all conditions, day and night, regular as clockwork. The information gathered could be crucial for operations and exercises, but more than that, it might save lives.

Until the advent in the 1960s of balloons with telemetry and highflying commercial jetliners providing updates and later still satellites, the RAF, Royal Navy and civilian agencies relied on meteorological flights to bring back the statistics upon which weather forecasts were based. The aircrew carrying out these sorties have always been unsung; yet they risked their lives routinely.

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