The World's First Air Hijack!

Discussion in 'Stories' started by v2, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    Over the last few decades eand specially after the September 11 hijackings of aircraft seem like common occurrences. This astonishing story is about the first known occurrence of a hijacking of an aircraft and took place in WW2 by my Grandfather Ted Strever.

    Ted Strever was a Royal Air force pilot and was based in Malta during the spring of 1942. Ted took off in his Bristol Beaufort bomber on one particular mission in late July to intercept an Italian supply ship. He was shot down at sea after scoring a direct hit on the supply ship, which managed to do enough damage to Ted’s plane before sinking.
    Not long after scrambling into their dingy after the crash Ted and his crew where picked up by an Italian sea plane and made prisoners of war.
    It did not take them long to learn that they would be taken to Taranto in Italy where they would spend the rest of the war as prisoners.
    The thought of their approaching doom spurred them into taking action against their captors. With the watchful eyes of the guard on them and limited communication the worlds first skyjack swung into action.
    They started straight for the radio operator, clearly to make sure no contact was made to the base and successfully took him out. They then overpowered an unexpected guard and managed to get his weapon off him. The first part of their attack was successful but the turning point came when the co-pilot pulled a pistol on them. Luck was on their side however as it was one the Italian’s own comrades that knocked the weapon from his hands in the frantic struggle to regain control. It was after that bit of fortune in the frenzied chaos that they knew the plane was theirs, and Ted wasted no time in taking over the controls.
    New problems now became apparent. The first and more immediate issue was that they were fast running low on fuel. After asking the Italian Engineer kindly (at gunpoint) to switch to reserves and by changing their route, flying rather to their base at Malta instead of the African coast, this first problem was quickly taken care of. Next was the problem of flying an Italian plane. Ted’s experience was sufficient to fly an Italian plane but to the allies this was an enemy aircraft fast approaching the Malta coast. Soon there were spitfires gunning them down. Normally the sight of spitfires off the wing of his torpedo bomber would have been comforting, however this was clearly not a Bristol Beaufort bomber and with holes being shot in his tail this was definitely not comforting. Ted hurled the first pilot back into his seat and ordered him in hurried sign-language to land in the sea.
    One of the men then whipped off his shirt and took his vest — the only white article he had — and waved it out of the window making it clear that they had come to surrender — albeit to their own side!
    The first wave of spits managed to do fair damage to the plane but they landed safely and the worlds 1st skyjack was over.
    Astonished to see four RAF’s in the Italian plane a member of the launch team towing them back to St Paul’s Bay said “We thought it was old Mussolini coming to give himself up!”

    Ted Strever received a DFC for his achievement in the war. He died in Haenertsburg, South Africa in 1997 at the age of 77.

    source: BBC
     
  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Great story V2!

    also found this:

    The very first hi-jack within Maltese air space, and possibly around the world, took place during the Second World War, when the crew of a Beaufort that had been shot down near Greece, were being flown to Italy on board a Cant Z.506B (MM.45432). The RAF crew, Lt E.T. Strever (SAAF), Plt Off W.M. Dunsmore (RAF), Sgt J.A. Wilkinson (RNZAF) and Sgt A.R. Brown (RNZAF) of No. 217 Squadron overpowered the Italian crew and diverted to Malta. The date was 28 July 1942.

    Front Page
     
  3. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    It's a story from BBC- that's all...Njaco
     
  4. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Good story.
     
  5. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Sorry, V2, I corrected it. The way it read I just thought........
     
  6. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    No problem Njaco. I corrected it too....
     
  7. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi V2,

    >Astonished to see four RAF’s in the Italian plane a member of the launch team towing them back to St Paul’s Bay said “We thought it was old Mussolini coming to give himself up!”

    The incident is also mentioned in Patrick Gibb's "Torpedo Leader", p. 151:

    "We listened, spellbound, to this amazing story, hardly knowing whether to believe it or not; but it was, we were assured, true; it had really happened. Here before our eyes were Strever and his crew, in Kalafrana Bay an Italian three-engined flying boat lay at anchor; the incredible was fact. For many days afterwards the Island buzzed with the story, and the squadron's joy knew no bounds; that night we entertained the returned captives in the Mess, the next day I sent them on a week's leave."

    I believe the Italian seaplane was used as a rescue aircraft by the RAF afterwards, though I'm not sure of the source for that right now.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  8. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    THX HoHun. I have known only a parts of this book.
     
  9. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I heard about that story (or read about it) years ago. Comes back to me now.

    As I recall, the Co of the Spitfire Squadron chewed out his pilot for being lousy shots.
     
  10. eddie_brunette

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    Very nice story thanks.

    "Ted Strever received a DFC for his achievement in the war. He died in Haenertsburg, South Africa in 1997 at the age of 77."

    I grew up close to that little town. It is high up in the mountains, beautiful place

    edd
     
  11. Bigxiko

    Bigxiko Member

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    nice storie, i could have end up badly
    but it didn't and that's all that matters
     
  12. <simon>

    <simon> Member

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    Great story isnt it V2?
    Thats incredible that your grandfather is Ted Strever! A man literally famous in the WW2 aviation world!

    I have a book with a much larger version of that story
    One thing not mentioned was when the were flying along the ememy coast, several JU-88's formed on their wing, obviously suspicious.
    After some tense moments and the allies dipping their aircraft's side guns in salute, the 88's flew off.
    After being captured by the italians the allies were treated like kings, with a their first decent meal in months and a bed to sleep in!!

    When they were safely back in Malta, one of the aircrew (possibly even Ted) felt sorry for the prisoners a dished up the best meal he could come up with
    -bully beef!!!

    Moral of the story eh?
     
  13. missplaced2

    missplaced2 New Member

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    Researching additional information around the BBC story "The Worlds First Hijacking".

    I am well versed to this story because my father was John Wilkinson (1919-1975). Trying to find Ted Trevers Grandson, Andrew Strever who posted the story. This would be great if decendants of WWII personal could link up and share what each has.

    We should NEVER forget those who fought and defended freedom !
    Ian W.
     
  14. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Good luck, missplaced!
     
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