Documentary – 1 hour
Producers: Paul Pope, Tiffany Martin
Writer / Director: John W. Doyle
Key Researcher: Monique Tobin
Cinematographer: Mark Thompson
Editor: Lyly Fortin
They were a ragged band of flyers – barnstormers, bush pilots, crop dusters, Hollywood stunt pilots. They came from the United States, Canada, Britain, and Europe. The only thing they had in common was courage. Together they altered the course of the war and launched a new era in aviation.
It was the summer of 1940. France had fallen and Hitler’s armies were massing for the invasion of England. Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew that only air power could stop the Nazi advance, and Britain was quickly running out of planes. New bombers were rolling out of American factories but delivery by ship across the U-boat infested ocean was impossibly slow.
Senior cabinet minister Lord Beaverbrook hatched a desperate plan to fly the new bombers across the sea. Royal Air Force commanders were scathing – few aircraft had ever flown the North Atlantic and none had done it the fall or winter. The distance was too great, the weather too severe and unpredictable.
Beaverbrook was unstoppable. With the help of the world’s most experienced aviator, Australian Don Bennett, he organized an all-civilian operation to ferry bombers from the California factories through Canada and across the North Atlantic to Britain. By war’s end they had delivered some 20,000 aircraft, turning the tide of victory and opening up the North Atlantic air route which would unite the old and new worlds as never before.
Ferry Command tells this remarkable story through the first-person accounts of surviving ferry pilots – men in their eighties who have lost nothing of the passion that drove them to attempt the impossible in a desperate time. Their gripping narratives are supported by previously-unseen archival footage.
Produced in Association With
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Television Fund
Newfoundland and Labrador film and Video Tax Credit
Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation
Ontario Film and Television Credit
The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit
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