Operation Pageant

This was a British operation to ship crated Hawker Hurricane fighters to Takoradi in West Africa for assembly and subsequent self-delivery to the Middle East theatre (March 1941).

Deliveries across the Sahara had started on 19 September 1940 in the first stage of ‘Monsoon’, when the first convoy of aircraft to use this West African Reinforcement Route, comprising six Hawker Hurricane fighters led by one Bristol Blenheim light bomber carrying a navigator, left Takoradi in the Gold Coast to cross Africa to Abu Sueir in Egypt. The aircraft covered the route in eight days, arriving at No. 102 Maintenance Unit at RAF Abu Sueir on 27 September. The West African Reinforcement Route had been created to enable aircraft manufactured in the UK or acquired via Lease-Lend to be ferried to the Mediterranean and Middle East theatres without having to brave the dangerous passage through the Mediterranean, or make the longer sea passage round the Cape of Good Hope.