Travel news:

The story of the Candy Bomber

On a past visit to Germany, we were intrigued by an unusual Christmas decoration.

Small multicoloured parachutes with a gift suspended below each seemed to be a key part of festive displays – especially in the eastern areas of Berlin.

image

Asked about the meaning of the decoration, Berliners told us a fascinating story that harked back to the Soviet blockade of the city during the Cold War.

Apparently, a young American pilot, who was airlifting supplies into blockaded Berlin, was touched by the plight of local children and started to drop candy from his plane as it descended to land.

Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their plane as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.

Uncle Wiggly Wings

The pilot became known by thousands of children in Berlin as “Uncle Wiggly Wings” or “The Candy Bomber.”

Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans.

In this way, a small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city, but to all those who yearned for freedom.

And that inspiring story also spawned a range of gifts and one of the world’s more unusual Christmas traditions

This black and white photograph, which is in the public domain, shows a U.S. Air Force Douglas C-54 Skymaster making a candy drop (note the parachutes below the tail of the C-54) in about 1948.

 

About Ian Roberts (266 Articles)
Ian Roberts is a veteran Australian journalist, PR man and writer/reviewer on accommodation and travel. Over many decades, Ian has travelled widely reporting and recording his experiences. His newsy columns - including Memorable Destination - have gained a big following among people seeking suggestions and objective information about accommodation, travel and destinations world-wide. Along with wife, Sue and her camera, Ian has taken up a particular challenge to help budget conscious seniors 50 and upward with travel and accommodation ideas - including suggestions for holding family reunions. Readers in Ian's home city of Newcastle Australia may also be aware of his travel and accommodation column in a local newspaper.

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