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June, 1947
By Lieutenant Colonel Ted Allan Morris, United States Air Force (Retired)
Copyright 2007


Battle Harbour, Labrador.
About as isolated a Station as there was in June, 1947.

Battle Harbor Labrador LORAN Station, 1947

ABOVE:  The USCG LORAN Station, Battle Harbour, Labrador, as seen from the cockpit of a US Coast Guard PBY-5A Catalina bringing supplies and mail.
Battle Harbor, Labrador. USCG LORAN
                  Station main camp, 1947
ABOVE:  USCG LORAN Station, Battle Harbour.  The Mess Hall, Galley, Recreation Room and living quarters are at the near left.  LORAN transmitting equipment and electric generators are at the top right.  The two areas are connected by a covered passageway with cement block fire walls at key locations to prevent the spread of fire.  Part of the diesel supply is on the platform to the right.

BELOW:  An overhead view of the Station.  Note the braces to prevent constant winds from blowing over the covered passageway!  There is additional diesel storage at the bottom center of the photo.  There were two other diesel storage sites, making lots of work for the Station personnel manhandling the drums to the areas where they were to be used.

Parachute delivery of supplies and mail.

ABOVE:  Aircrew members heave bundles of supplies and mail attached to parachutes.  The poles in the background are part of the LORAN transmitter antenna.
ABOVE:  USCG PBY-5A flies over the drop zone as aircrew members drop supplies and mail out both blisters.
ABOVE:  The parachutes attached to supplies and mail begin to open as the PBY-5A (flying just above stall speed) makes deliveries.
ABOVE:  Mail and Supplies settle by parachute to the rocky, snow covered terrain.
ABOVE:   LORAN Station personnel rush to retrieve a parachute before the surface winds carry the cargo out of reach, perhaps into the cold waters of the bay in the background.
ABOVE:  Station personnel struggle to spill the air from the parachutes attached to the mail and supplies, which will be loaded on the dog sled (in center left of photo) for transport back to the Station.

Aerial Pickup of Outgoing Mail
and Supplies.
ABOVE:  USCG PBY-5A, trailing a 20-foot pole and attached nylon line, makes a run at the ground pickup rig at the USCG LORAN Station, Battle Harbour, Labrador.

BELOW:  This is the view from the tunnel hatch of a USCG PBY-5A as it makes the over water approach to pick up outgoing mail and the parachutes used to drop supplies to the Battle Harbour LORAN Station.  These photos from June 1947 show the ice flows in the Davis Straights that prevented water landings to resupply the Station.  Later, in July and August, sea conditions did permit water landings.

Seen in the two photos below are the 20 foot long pole and one half inch nylon catcher line.  As the PBY flies immediately over a nylon loop supported by two 20-foot poles on the ground, the spring loaded hook at the end of the catcher line will snatch the ground container off the ground, and the aircrewmen will haul it hand-over-hand into the aircraft through the tunnel hatch.  They will then re-rig the equipment for another catch run.  During these pickups, the pilots had to manually fly the plane about 20 feet above very cold, wet, and rocky terrain.

ABOVE:  Flying at just above stall speed with the retriever pole and nylon line extended from the tunnel hatch.  The aircraft is approaching the ground pickup point from the sea side of the rocky promontory at Battle Harbour.
ABOVE:  Contact between the air and ground retrieval systems!  The ground system will pull a special hook from the end of the 20-foot long pole which in turn will drag the ground container into the air.  The aircrew will haul in the retrieved cargo hand-over-hand.  Both systems will need to be re-rigged before the next pick up attempt.
 ABOVE:  The USCG PBY-5A is only about 20 feet above the rocky terrain as it makes a successful pick up of out-going mail, as well as the parachutes used earlier for cargo delivery.
ABOVE:  Another photo of the USCG PBY-5A as it approaches the ground pick up point on the rocky promontory at the LORAN Station, Battle Harbour.
ABOVE:  Another photo of the instant of contact between the air and ground retrieval system.  The special hook at the end of the nylon line on the aircraft catcher pole has grabbed the ground line.  It will drag the ground container into the air.  The ground container will be dropped to ground personnel for reuse.

Here's a photo of similar operations near Point Barrow about 1949.
The ship is the USCG Icebreaker NORTHWIND (WAGB-282).


Copyright by Ted A. Morris, 2000