Out investigates the disappearance of actor Leslie Howard
Out returns to our screens this Monday, fronted by popular presenter
series has become a favourite with West viewers for its varied reporting
on heritage, history and some extraordinary characters around the
the first programme, Tessa looks back to war time Bristol to uncover
what happened to much loved actor Leslie Howard.
the 60th anniversary of his death she
investigates the shooting down of the Ibis, one of the small fleet
of Dakotas based at Whitchurch airfield in Bristol that made regular
flights to neutral Portugal. It was the so called spy-flight.
1 June 1943 Leslie Howard was on board the Ibis, a Dakota aeroplane,
rmaking the return journey from Portugal.
was well known for his part in Gone with the Wind and had just starred
with David Niven in The First of the Few, the story of the Spitfire.
was noted for his anti-Nazi broadcasts and had gone to Portugal
to fight the spread of fascism.
Dakota was heading back to Whitchurch on the outskirts of Bristol.
the old airfield has largely disappeared under houses, but in 1943
it was Britain's only non-military international airport, and the
Avon Gorge Hotel in Clifton was airline BOAC's temporary wartime
was a dangerous journey. The Ibis had twice before come under attack
from Nazi fighters.
was well known that this was the route back home for escaping prisoners
day, departure had been delayed because Howard was waiting for a
consignment of silk stockings to take back to his wife. She was
never to receive them.
the Bay of Biscay the Ibis came under attack. The pilot "mayday-ed"
back to Whitchurch to report the attack.
radio operator heard the pilot say "we are being followed by
an unknown aircraft. We are under attack by enemy aircraft".
next day, BBC news reported that Leslie Howard had died, shot down
over the Bay of Biscay.
then, conspiracy theories have grown. Were the Germans determined
to stop Howard's anti Nazi broadcasts? Did they think there was
a spy on board the Ibis?
even, did they believe Churchill was one of the passengers?
the 60th anniversary of Howards death, Tessa Dunlop steps
aboard a surviving Dakota to unravel the mystery of the last flight
of the Ibis.
Out begins at 7.30pm on Monday (2 June), BBC ONE (West) for six
Dunlop can be seen presenting History Hunters, BBC ONE daytime,
Oddie is on the History Hunt (21.05.03)
seeks out weird and wonderful - BBC ONE North West (30.05.03)
connoisseur faces his critics in the north - BBC ONE North East
& Cumbria (02.06.03)
radiation fears of North Yorks base - BBC ONE North East & Cumbria
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