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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

#BiafraFallenHeroes: The Heroic Deeds Of Lynn Garrison In Focus

By Chukwuemeka Chimerue, Chief Editor, The Biafra Times

May 29, 2018

During the Nigeria-Biafra War (1967–1970), a westerner, Lynn Garrison joined a group of mercenaries fighting on the side of Biafrans in their effort to sustain and salvage the newly-declared independent state from the clutches of her enemies.

In May 1969, Carl Gustaf Von Rosen formed a squadron of five Malmö MFI-9 MiniCOIN, small piston-engined aircraft (armed with rocket pods and machine guns) widely known as the Babies of Biafra, which attacked and destroyed Nigerian aircrafts to the ground and delivered food aid to famished Biafran people. Garrison coordinated the attacks, destroying an Ilyushin Il-28 bomber and a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 fighter aircraft.

Garrison also introduced a supply-dropping procedure (learned in northern Canada). A bag of grain was enclosed in a larger bag before dropping. When the load hit the ground, the inner bag would rupture while the outer bag contained the contents. Many lives were saved through air drops using this simple concept by Garrison.

READ ALSO: #BiafraFallenHeroes: Reminiscing The Great Moments Of A Great Icon, Selfless Leader And Pioneer Biafra Head Of State, Gen. Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

During the Biafran war, a DC-6 operated from Shannon, Ireland to Sao Tome with food and relief supplies. It was flown by Garrison. It would fly into Uli in the present Anambra state or other spots, to drop off the loads. It would return to Sao Tome, pick up weapons, and fly these into Biafra. It would then return to Ireland for another load, sponsored by the Catholic group concern.

Garrison led the first 4 attacks at very low-level, with some successes recorded. The 5th attack was to be against troop concentrations and he declined this mission. Garrison had some vocal debates about committing the aircraft against targets of low-value.

He mapped out the tracks for the team but the formation got lost and didn’t find the target. He wanted to disrupt the Nigerian infrastructure along with that of the Shell installations. To this end, Garrison targeted a number of petroleum facilities that effectively shut down a great deal of their productive capabilities. Having grown up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada’s oil centre, he was very familiar with refineries, pipeline, pumping stations, and their vulnerabilities.

READ ALSO: #BiafraFallenHeroes: A Living Eulogy To The Bravest Biafra Pilot And Squadron Commander, Artur Alves Pereira

SHELL/BP was largely responsible for Nigerian support and hitting them made Shell reconsider its position when Nigeria had them cut off payments to Biafra for oil being exported.

The first 4 missions of Garrison are:
May 22 Port Harcourt
May 24 Benin
May 26 Enugu
May 28 Ughelli Delta

Garrison was indeed a hero of rare calibre and dexterity. And as we remember other heroes who fought on the side of justice for Biafra, we shall never forget the heroic efforts of this great icon.

The Biafra Times 2018

1 comment

  1. This was a moment in history that should have ended differently.
    It was an honour to have played some small part in an attempt to create a sovereign state - BIAFRA.
    It would seem the spirit, of the past, remains strong.
    My thoughts are with you.

    Lynn Garrison
    [email protected]


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