Berlin airlift: Ceremony to mark 70th anniversary, in pictures

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EPA

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This woman’s hat had tiny US and British flag to mark the occasion

Dignitaries from around the world have gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin airlift. The USSR entirely blockaded the western parts of the German capital in June 1948, when the country and the city were divided into US, UK, French and Soviet occupation zones after World War II.Allied forces managed to wholly supply people in the city by air for nearly a year, with the USSR finally ending the closures on 12 May 1949. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall joined Mayor Mike Mueller and defence attaches from countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the US to mark the occasion.

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AFP/Getty

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Dignitaries gathered at the airlift memorial at Tempelhof airport, which closed in 2008 but was at the centre of the airlift

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EPA

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Among those present was retired US Col Gail “Hal” Halvorsen, who dropped sweets to the children of the city and became known as the “Berlin Candy Bomber”

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Getty Images

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Over the course of 11 months, Allied air forces supplied two and a half million Berliners

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Getty Images

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At the height of the airlift, a plane was landing in Berlin every minute

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Getty Images

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About 400,000 tonnes of coal, food and other supplies were brought into the city by hundreds of aircraft

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Getty Images

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Col Halvorsen organised Operation Little Vittles, which dropped gum and chocolate and was credited for boosting morale

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Getty Images

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The US airman would usually drop the sweets by parachute, but on one occasion had to hand them out at the airfield due to bad weather – prompting a scramble

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Getty Images

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While the Soviet blockade officially ended in May, the airlift continued for several months until normal supply routes were restored

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Getty Images

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Authorities later built a monument to honour the dozens of civilians and military men who died during the dangerous and complicated operation

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