March 27, 1968

First airlift into city of Port Harcourt, organized by Father Anthony Byrne, who also managed the Catholic relief operations in Biafra

Irish Father Anthony Byrne was working as a missionary in eastern Nigeria during the Nigeria-Biafra War and was instrumental in organizing airlifts throughout the war. He was nicknamed “Green Pimpernel” and directed the Catholic Church Caritas Agency as well. Despite Byrne’s courageous work during the war, his actions were controversial because they defied the Nigerian blockade, which tightened by June 1968, as the Federal Military Government conquered more territory and the Biafran enclave became harder to reach.

Photo of Father Tony Byrne in the staging area of San Tome, with one of the Biafran airlift planes in the background. Source: Night Flight to Uli.
See Also:

Father Tony Byrne YouTube interview about his experience.

Byrne, Tony. Airlift to Biafra: Breaching the Blockade. Dublin: Columba Press, 1997.

Wiseberg, Laurie. “The International Politics Of Relief: A Case Study Of The Relief Operations Mounted During The Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970).” PhD dissertation, University of California—Los Angeles, 1973.

Sources: http://irishcatholic.ie/article/mission-change; https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ghosts-of-biafra-1.73370