Freedom from Hunger

Operation MANNA, 28 April-8 May 1945, was the RAF relief effort that helped save the people of the Netherlands from starvation.

In winter 1944 German-occupied Holland became increasingly isolated as the Allies advanced. The roads and railways lay in ruins and the waterways were frozen, some deliberately damaged by the occupying forces. Import of supplies was virtually impossible and as food stocks dwindled, the Hongerwinter (‘hunger winter’) set in.

With the agreement of the occupying German forces, Operation MANNA was launched with the RAF dropping food supplies to the starving population from the air. Bomber Command aircraft made 3,100 flights over ten days with a further 2,200 by the USAAF, dropping a total of 1,000 tons of food. Sadly, 20,000 people starved to death before the war ended. Without MANNA this number would undoubtedly have been higher.