(Congo 1960)

International Operation Name: not applicable

International Operation Dates:  not applicable

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  Africa

Location:  Congo

Canadian Operation Name: (Congo 1960)

Canadian Operation Dates: 1960/07/18 to 1960/08/17

Mission Mandate: To deliver humanitarian assistance to Congo and evacuate Canadians

Mission Notes:

As a result of the breakdown in transportation system in the Congo, food became scarce in many inland areas.  On 15 July, the United Nations asked the international community for food aid.  Air Transport Command alerted No. 426 Squadron with its North Star aircraft, pending Cabinet approval.  This was forthcoming on 16 July, with the announcement that the RCAF would fly 20,000 lbs of canned pork and 20,000 lbs of whole milk powder to the Congo.  The North Stars would also evacuate refugees, with priority being given to Canadian citizens. 

The food shipments arrived in Trenton on the 17th and 18th.  Forty-five minutes after approval was given to proceed on the 18th, the first North Star was underway, with three others following.  They reached Léopoldville on July 21st having delivered 23,584 lbs of pork and 20,570 lbs of powdered milk.  While the aircraft were enroute, the UN asked the Canadian government if they could borrow the North Stars to ferry troops between Europe and Congo, and if they could carry food instead of refugees.  The Cabinet approved both requests on the 21st.

On the 23rd and 24th, the three North Stars flew a total of nine flights to Luluabourg, a three-hour flight east of Léopoldville.  Tunisian troops were flown east, and refugees were brought back on each flight.  The internal transport of troops within the Congo was not authorized, and both the Minister of External Affairs and the Minister of National Defence quickly sent telegrams ending this aspect of the humanitarian flights.  As the UN did not have an immediate requirement for transport external to the Congo, the North Stars were idle, the last eventually leaving for Canada on 12 August.  These aircraft were then used for Operation MALLARD, the airlift of Canadian military personnel to the Congo (see separate entry).

The UN asked for Canadian humanitarian airlift assistance on one further occasion in the early part of the Congo operation.  Two North Star flights were flown between Pisa, Italy and Léopoldville carrying medical supplies, members of the World Health organization and other UN personnel.  The first flight left Pisa on 10 August, with the second leaving on 17 August.


Congo Telephone System ... A Congolese fisherman demonstrates for two Canadian Signallers the way that they play the native tom-tom drums for sending messages from one village to another. This system is still in use in most of the Congo and the sound of the drums can be heard for a long way on a still night.  pl. Gerald Jennex, left, and Cpl. Ralph Jukes were on a visit to a local fishing village located outside of Coquilhatville in the province of Equator in the north west Congo. They are members of the detachment of No 57 Canadian Signal Unit which provides the communications between Coquilhatville and the United Nations Headquarters in Leopoldville by means of a radio teletype circuit.

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