Operation Exodus (WWII operation)

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Operation Exodus was an Allied operation to repatriate Allied prisoners of war (POW)s from Europe to Britain in the closing stages of the Second World War.

The operation[edit]

Liberated prisoners with an Avro Lancaster of No. 635 Squadron RAF at Lübeck, Germany, 11 May 1945. The Lancaster at right is fitted with the AGLT "Village Inn" tail turret

After the end of hostilities in Europe, orders were received on 2 May 1945 that 300 repatriated prisoners of war were arriving by air at 1100. All arrangements were made for their reception at RAF Oakley, Buckinghamshire, and the provision of refreshments laid on in the Social Club. The arrival was, in fact, postponed to later in the day.

Seven Dakotas landed with repatriated POWs on the following day and more throughout the month, until by the end of May, 72 Dakotas had brought 1,787 PoWs. Operation Exodus was in full swing and May 1945 was even busier with 443 Avro Lancasters, 103 Dakotas, 51 Handley Page Halifaxes, 31 Consolidated Liberators, 3 Short Stirlings, 3 Lockheed Hudsons, and 2 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses bringing 15,088 personnel.

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