An unusual airdropped item

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    Wouter
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    An unusual airdropped item

    Post by Wouter on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:52 pm

    That's right, quite unusual indeed. This is a teabag that was dropped over Holland by the RAF and RCAF. It was dropped when the Dutch East Indies were still under Dutch control, in 1941 and early 1941. The tea planters on Java had donated 4000 pounds of tea to the Dutch government in exile. Text reads: The Netherlands will rise again. Greetings from the free Dutch East Indies. Keep a good heart!

    Some of the known "tea" bombings over Holland by the Royal Air Force during 1941 are:

    March 1941: 1,020 bags over 11 cities
    April 1941: 9,770 bags over 6 cities
    May 1941: 4,470 bags over 4 cities
    June 1941: 4,585 bags over 5 cities
    July 1941: 900 bags over 8 cities
    August 1941: 10,230 bags over 2 cities
    September 1941 300 bags over Rotterdam
    December 1941 350 bags over 5 cities

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    A report on the raid was published in the Dutch East Indies magazine De Bergcultures:

    Before they returned home, these men (the air crews) were prepared to carry out an extra mission. They would fly at a low altitude over enemy dominated skies and drop "Tea from Heaven." The psychological purpose of this mission is clear: to raise the spirits of the Dutch people. "We dropped our bombs right on target and then, on the way home, laid a stick of tea bags across Amsterdam."

    Also, old grumpy Arthur Harris wasn't too big a fan of the tea droppings. He wrote to Air Vice Marshall N. H. Bottomley in 1942 and wrote:

    Can something now please be done to curb and keep within limits these uncorrelated and enthusiastic attempts to shower rubbish all over the world at the expense of the bomber effort.

    When it comes to dropping tea, Christmas presents and Easter eggs, things have really gone too far. Something now must really be done to stop this growing urge of the exiled governments and individual busybodies with idle hands to play games in wartime when we are more than too busy on serious things.

    I will not drop tea or Easter eggs anywhere unless you guarantee me that the packages are lethal...The only people who are likely to get the Easter eggs are the Gestapo, and why the devil should we feed them Easter eggs? How about quit fooling and getting on with the war? These jesters are getting completely out of hand and it is high time someone put a heavy foot on them – or behind them. I’m not cross, but I damn soon will be.

    Anyhow, this particular teabag was picked of the street by my grandmothers brother, who has since passed on. Although they are not too large, they are quite sought after on the collectors market and fetch good prices. Granddad once told me that he and his dad scooped these things out of the gutter by the dozen and picked them of the roof, then made tea of all of them and threw away the ones that were dirty and soiled. If only he had kept a few...

    Wouter


    Last edited by Wouter on Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total

    mk1rceme
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    Re: An unusual airdropped item

    Post by mk1rceme on Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:27 pm

    Thats pretty neat...never heard of this happening before. Gives a whole new meaning to being teabagged! Shocked


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    Dale
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    Wouter
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    Re: An unusual airdropped item

    Post by Wouter on Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:06 am

    Hi Dale, apparently, all of these tea bags were orange when they were dropped, but not a single orange one has ever popped up anywhere. Would all of them have faded to a somewhat neutral cotton colour or were they just this colour to start with? I think it is the latter and that they were only meant to be orange, but this wasn't implemented.

    Wouter

    GCR817
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    Re: An unusual airdropped item

    Post by GCR817 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:28 am

    Hi Wouter,

    Thanks for sharing that with us. I had never heard of the tea bombings before let along seen an example of the tea bag.
    Great to learn something new!

    Geoff

    Rob
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    Re: An unusual airdropped item

    Post by Rob on Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:55 am

    Absolutely loved the memo from Arthur "Bomber" Harris.

    Rob

    Infanteer
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    Re: An unusual airdropped item

    Post by Infanteer on Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:58 am

    Great post, thanks for sharing. I am surprised that Harris did not recognize the great morale effect of those non-lethal air drops which can be just as important as the lethal variety.

    Rob
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    Re: An unusual airdropped item

    Post by Rob on Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:01 pm

    Infanteer90 wrote:Great post, thanks for sharing. I am surprised that Harris did not recognize the great morale effect of those non-lethal air drops which can be just as important as the lethal variety.

    Despite his almost obsessional attitude towards strategic bombing, Harris probably had in mind the horrific attrition rate of bomber crews.

    Rob

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