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Thread: BOAC Liberator II Landing At Prestwick

  1. #121
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    Routing wise Moll flew two routes to Moscow in his junejuly trip 1944 and januaryfebruary 1944. Northern route was Prestwick-lubitzie (via the faroer) then Moscow. Southern route was Lyneham-Gibraltar way round Spain, then Cairo via the 28th parallel, then Habannya and Teheran, Astrakan, Kubyshev, Moscow.

  2. #122
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    On one trip to Moscow the to be UK ambassador to Moscow was delivered more dead than alive after the oxygen supply failed in flight.
    Last edited by Peter; 8th May 2017 at 00:32. Reason: Rule 5

  3. #123
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    Books are only in Dutch I'm afraid. There's a fair number of them. They detail certain episodes of British aviation with first hand accounts. There's a great one on the BOAC Lissabon line too: Sluipvluchten naar Lissabon by Ad van Ommen. Also details some Lib ops, lots of photos too.

  4. #124
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    Does Sluipvluchten naar Lissabon have much detail (and photos?)of the operations to Lisbon-Sintra grass airfield which was used by the short-lived KLM direct Portugal service from the Netherlands April/May 1940, then by the BOAC/KLM service until October 1942?
    Last edited by longshot; 28th April 2017 at 20:45.

  5. #125
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    Thanks, Adrian.....The original Liberator must have been one of the first designs with integral fuel tanks*, replaced as it says in the link by the 'self-sealing' tanks able to survive gunfire in the later Liberators with oval cowlings like G-AGFN to G-AGFS , the ones which BOAC nick-named 'self-leaking'....do you have any numbers for the different ceilings of the blown vs. unblown Liberators? * EDIT It says the PBY (Catalina) had integral tankage previously
    http://legendsintheirowntime.com/LiT...v_4507_DA.html
    Last edited by longshot; 29th April 2017 at 15:54.

  6. #126
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    Yes, Longshot. To some extent. It details the entire war and post-war ops of KLM's DC-3's. Starting with the 5 DC-3's and 1 DC-2 that met up in the UK. One had escaped from Schiphol on May 13th, 1940 (PH-ALI), another was stranded in the UK on May 10th, 1940 on a regular commercial flight (PH-ARZ). PH-ALR and PH-ARB were inbound and outbound on the East India route and were flown to the UK in mid May 1940. PH-ARW and DC-2 PH-ALE were in Lissabon on May 10th, 1940 and were flown to the UK instead of Schiphol.

    The book greatly details the politics behind the start of the Lissabon line from firsthand interviews with all involved. This includes financial arrangements, and the like.

    On Sintra, it says that Parmentier (chief of the Lissabon line) was unhappy with the field. He found it short, and the grass strip was very often boggy after rain. He campaigned in vain to fly on Espinho near Porto, a grass strip too but more useable after wet weather. Alverca and Ota were in use as deviation fields in bad weather or low fuel.

    Inbound flights to the UK left from Sintra. It was usually done with a limited amount of fuel in bad airfield conditions, for a short hop to Porto where it was fueled for the trip across the Bay of Biscany. Outbound flight sometimes landed in Porto, but only by exception.

    Sintra is surrounded by hills, and had a weather system of its own. Tricky apporaches. Weather forecasts in England on Portugal were non-existant in 1940 and early 1941 and one KLM flight limped into Porto in the midst of a full-blown hurricane. The winter of 1940/1941 wreaked havoc with flight schedules, also due to wet and boggy conditions at Whitchurch and Sintra. Chivenor and Porto were used instead in some cases. Radio-ops at Sintra were very unreliable. It did have have a great butcher's shop near the airfield where the crew bought wholesale to bring back as luggage to the UK! Crews overnighted in the Grand Hotel in Lissabon.

    Alverca BTW was short too. Two runways of only 500 and 600 metres. This against the 900 metres the USAAF used as a guide for C-47 ops on landing... KLM was the only operator around in those days that standard did 3-pointer landings that required only 500 metres, this against a 2-pointer requiring 200-300 metres more depending on speed.

  7. #127
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    Another two books (in Dutch): Londen of Berlijn, by Jan Hagens. THis extremely well-researched two-book series details the entire history of all KLM ops and pilots during 1939-1945. It includes the Lissabon line, some info on the RFS, but also the West Indies and East Indies operations.

  8. #128
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    I've opened a new thread on WWII flights to Lisbon (Lissabon), sampling the last two or three posts here

  9. #129
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    Good idea to open a thread on the BOAC/KLM Lisbon service in WWII, longshot.

    Meanwhile, I've been reading the various posts in this thread after a busy weekend. Forgive me if I take a while to catch my breath.

    I have found two identical photographs of AL614, neither well printed (one patchy and the other partly underexposed). I don’t know for sure but assume I got these on a visit to Prestwick and that this is the location. The image below is a combination of the two photos - see if you can spot the join(s):
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  10. #130
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    OK, Ian, I'll take a stab. I see one join, coincident with the leading edge of the port fin. Follow the line of the bottom of the fuselage in this area and you'll see the join mark. But if there's a second join, I'm stumped so far.
    "The RAF Museum show has been forensically examined and was deeply unimpressive. I knew that their whale of a story was loaded with baloney".

  11. #131
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    Yes, Matt, just about spot-on. I did it very hurriedly indeed because I wanted to post it here but, at the same time, I didn't want to mislead any eagle-eyed readers such as you.

    FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN SUCH MATTERS: a rectangle around the Lib's port fin (from the 'patchy' photo) was superimposed on the 'underexposed' fin of the other photo. The edges of the rectangle were 'cloned' and 'smudged' a bit but the 'step' in the lower fuselage was left in to make the fabrication 'obvious' - the same goes for the removal of the wire running forward from the port fin. [Incidentally, I have avoided the term 'photo-shop' because I used another, free on-line, program]

  12. #132
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    Though it doesn't really help with interpreting the MOVEMENTS BOARD in post #42, I have now seen some details of other location 'codes':-

    BASE A = Whitchurch
    BASE B = Bramcote
    BASE C = Colerne

    As already mentioned in an earlier post, BASE X was Moscow and we all seemed to agree that BASE M must be Montreal.

    Does anyone know of any similar base 'codes' used by BOAC and/or the RFS?

  13. #133
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    Ian...there's several listed in http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/firstfiles.html pages 16/17 in the BOAC fleet listings...gives Prestwick as PR...not without humour, see Vaalbank Dam code
    Last edited by longshot; 4th May 2017 at 20:18.

  14. #134
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    Thank you, longshot, for the link to the Air-Britain webpage, the existence of which I was not aware. There are some fascinating lists there.

    For those who have not perused the contents of the list of BOAC aircraft, it covers the post-war period rather than its WWII operations and that includes its 'stock' of Liberators, as at the end of 1945. Here is that list:

    EDIT: Don't know what happened there, so I shall try again (hopefully, see next post)
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 5th May 2017 at 14:44.

  15. #135
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    I'll try again:

    Thank you, longshot, for the link to the Air-Britain webpage, the existence of which I was not aware. There are some fascinating lists there.

    For those who have not perused the contents of the list of BOAC aircraft, it covers the post-war period rather than its WWII operations and that includes its 'stock' of Liberators, as at the end of 1945. Here is that list:
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  16. #136
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    Readable on the second listing
    Few post-war BOAC pics here http://aviadejavu.ru/Site/Arts/Art8737.htm
    Last edited by longshot; 5th May 2017 at 19:23.

  17. #137
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    Thanks again, longshot, for a useful link (though the cyrillic text was a bit baffling). The photograph of AM259 therein has prompted me to post these three images of AM259 (the first Liberator in the UK, I believe, and the first for BOAC). The information below is based on the 'captions' or file 'tags' attached to the images:

    (1) The first is a colour shot of AM259, its serial number identified but not the location (perhaps before delivery to the UK)

    (2) The second shows AM259 at Squires Gate on arrival in the UK (14 March 1941) - the first 4-engined aircraft across the Atlantic.

    (3) The third is from the website that longshot posted and shows AM259 in May 1941 as G-AGCD (not the best of shots in some ways but the background may hold something of interest to someone eagle-eyed who posted earlier)
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  18. #138
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    Below are a few things I've recently found on-line. They relate to a ferry pilot by the name of Tobin (Gilbert Sheppard Tobin), an American who was employed by the ATA and, later, by Ferry Command, as can be seen from the cover of his log book.

    The other images are extracts from that log book, specifically a flight across the South Atlantic in Liberator III FL909, delivering ammunition to North Africa during the first Battle of El Alamein and then, after a few days in Cairo) returning over part of the same route and then to Bathurst, from where it flew to Prestwick by way of Gibraltar and Lyneham.

    I hope that the images are clear enough (if not, I'll summarise the itinerary in a later post)
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 5th May 2017 at 22:44.

  19. #139
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    The image below comes from a book on the Liberator by Ian White; it is No. 96 in the WARPAINT series. This is from one of several sample pages on-line. The image is relevant to this thread for two reasons:

    The upper image shows what Brits would probably call a Lib I, with an American serial number and as used by the USAAC Ferry Command.

    The lower image shows (what we would call) a Lib II, with an RAF serial number (AL576), a US 'roundel' and allocated to a U.S. Bomber Group in the Far East. This mix of RAF and USAAC markings was mentioned in posts #102 to #105 (above)
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  20. #140
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    SX-DAA , a 27 seat Liberator, was sold post-war to the Greek Hellenic Airlines after service with Scottish Aviation as G-AGZI. Scottish Aviation were involved in the maintenance of RFS Liberators .Photo at Athens?

    See .....http://www.edcoatescollection.com/ac...pe/SX-DAA.html


     photo SX-DAA800_zpsirxwresy.jpg
    Last edited by longshot; 9th May 2017 at 10:01.

  21. #141
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    Thank you, longshot. I've never seen a photo of SX-DAA before, let alone in colour. I remember reading that Scottish Aviation had modified their Liberators to have a luggage compartment in the nose and, there, you can see it open and a set of steps for the baggage handler.

    The symbol in the middle of the fin looks rather like Sottish Airlines own symbol and in a similar position. Did Hellenic just copy the idea, I wonder? Or even simply incorporate it in their own colour scheme?

    Another thing: what looks like a 'picture window' in the rear fuselage, was that a Scottish Aviation innovation?

    I know I keep banging on about photos I picked up in Prestwick in the early 1960s but, somewhere, I have half-a-dozen or so photos of Scottish Airlines aircraft - Daks, Tigers, Rapides and, I seem to recall, a Liberator. I'll dig out the latter and post it here in due course.

    Meanwhile, I located a photo on-line of the luxuriously-appointed Liberator of the Emperor of Vietnam, F-VNNP. Don't you just love those white-walled tyres? This was the former G-AHYB / AM920:
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  22. #142
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    Ian, from the Oughton book, comes the history of AM920. There are three photos in the book, which I have not scanned, but the captions are included below:

    AM920 c/n 11; ex 40-2359; Floyd Bennett - Gander - Prestwick
    13-14.5.41; SAL, Prestwick 14.5.41 mods for ATFERO; RFS with
    BOAC crew; first service Squires Gate - St Hubert 28-29.5.41; to
    Ferry Command 18.7.41 but remained on RFS; maintenance at
    Dorval 17.10.41 to 12.12.41; allocated G-AGHG 21.5.43 for BOAC
    but NTU as crashed on take-off from Dorval 1.6.43 when all engines
    cut; badly damaged but visit by Frank Learman of Consolidated on
    17.6.43 resulted in decision to rebuild with C-87 nose and 'canoe
    conversion' kit for fuselage; parts sent to Dorval by rail; after
    completion defined as LB.30B/Composite and returned to BOAC/RFS
    31.12.44; regd G-AHYB to BOAC; CoR (10447) issued 19.8.46; CoA
    (8302) issued 30.9.46; radio c/s OLZL; remained in constant trans-
    Atlantic service and had completed 2,356 flying hrs by 31.3.47;
    operated by Scottish Aviation Ltd wef 1.4.49; CoA lapsed 8.10.49 and
    stored at Prestwick; regn cancelled 6.4.51 as sold abroad; ferry permit
    issued 9.4.51 for flight to Tollerton for overhaul; CdN (20428) as
    F-BEFR 25.7.51 at Orly to Sté de Transports Aériens Alpes Provence
    La Joie de Paris; CoA suspended at Marseilles 19.2.52 ferry permit
    issued 26.3.52 for flight to Bordeaux; converted at Bordeaux as VIP
    aircraft and regd F-VNNP 8.5.52 with CdN 3782; CoA issued 30.5.52
    to Service Impérial de Liaisons Aériennes, Dalat, Indochina for use by
    Emperor Bao Dai of Viet Nam; CoA issued 10.5.55 at Nice and regd
    F-OASS to Sié Commerciale d'Aviation Nord Africaine, Rabat, 13.6.55;
    sold 18.4.58 to Cie Laotienne de Commerce et de Transport, Vientiane,
    Laos; ntu; regn cancelled 20.5.59 and derelict at Le Bourget.

    PG 119 CAPTION: Liberator LB.30B AM920 following its accident at Dorval on 3rd June 1943.

    PG 119 CAPTION: After its accident, AM920 was rebuilt with a B-24D nose, a C-87 cabin and a freight door and is here seen at Malton, Ontario, in June 1946.

    PG 119 CAPTION: The former AM920, F-OASS had a colourful civilian career before ending its days with SCANA of Rabat. Note that the waist-gun hatch covers had been retained after conversion.

    Cheers,

    Matt
    "The RAF Museum show has been forensically examined and was deeply unimpressive. I knew that their whale of a story was loaded with baloney".

  23. #143
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    Here's the above-promised photo of a Scottish Airlines Liberator. It's G-AGZH (aka: AL557), a Liberator II looking very much like it's at Prestwick, from the background.

    Matt may be able to post its full history. My note simply says that it was registered on 11 January 1946 and withdrawn on 25 April 1950.

    To follow a previous post,

    (1) the Scottish Airlines fin logo is very like that for Hellenic [or, rather, vice versa]

    and

    (2) the 'picture window' can be seen on both sides of the fuselage.
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 7th May 2017 at 13:32.

  24. #144
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    Further to post # 137, here is a side view of G-AGCD (also known as AM259). As mentioned, this was the first Liberator to arrive in Britain. It also continued the non-stop Hurn to Almaza service following the shooting down of G-AGDR (its sister ship, aka AM918), which had happened on 15 February 1942 off the southern English coast, on the latter's return on the inaugural flight from Cairo to Hurn.

    This raises the question of where this (Air Ministry) photograph was taken. Hurn seems the more likely location but I guess that Whitchurch and Bramcote are also in the frame.

    Any ideas as to location, anyone?
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  25. #145
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    Ian, as requested, AL557's history:

    AL557 c/n 55; TOC Dorval 13.10.41; Dorval - Gander
    22.11.41, Gander - Prestwick 23.11.41; SAL, Prestwick, 23.11.41;
    SAL - 22 MU 14.12.41; 22 MU - SAL for installation of R.3003
    14.3.42; SAL - 120 Sqn 17.3.42; 22 MU 18.7.42; 120 Sqn 7.42; 22
    MU - SAL 20.8.42 mods for 1445 Flt; SAL - 1445 Flt 14.11.42; by
    road to SAL repair in works arr 29.11.42; SAL - Lyneham 19.3.43;
    301 FTU 22.3.43; to India 10.7.43; 159 Sqn; general duties, ACSEA,
    27.4.44; left India 23.5.44; TOC MAAF 22.2.45; to UK for SAL arr
    6.4.45 for passenger conversion; regd G-AGZI to Scottish Aviation
    Ltd; CoR (9860) issued 11.1.46; CoA (7339) issued 21.9.46; used on
    Icelandic charters; regn cancelled 24.2.48 as sold abroad; to ELL AS
    Hellenic Airlines 1.3.48 (CoR 24) as SX-DAA Maid of Athens; to TAE
    / National Greek Airlines 7.51; regn cancelled 23.11.51; to Morrison-
    Knudsen Inc. 11.51 as N9981F; re-registered N68735 12.51;
    damaged when skidded into a ditch on landing at Wales, Alaska
    1.6.53; repaired and re-regd as N92MK still with Morrison-Knudson
    Inc. for use in construction of DEW Line in Alaska; crashed on
    approach to Kalikat Creek, 30 mls (48 km) S of Galena, Alaska, .58;
    wreckage recovered .90 by Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum,
    Anchorage; sold .96 to Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston, TX;
    stored .96-.01 at Vintage Aircraft Ltd, Fort Collins, CO; sold .01 to D
    Whittington / Worldjet, Fort Lauderdale, FL; basic fuselage and
    wings intact.

    This aircraft continues to turn to dust in outdoor storage in Fort Collins, CO.

    One thread about it:

    http://forum.keypublishing.com/showt...t=#post2088092

    Attached are other photos.
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    "The RAF Museum show has been forensically examined and was deeply unimpressive. I knew that their whale of a story was loaded with baloney".

  26. #146
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    And, while I'm at it, here's the history of AM259, seen in the photo Ian posted:

    AM259 c/n 2; ex 40-697; used for handling and performance
    parameter trials at San Diego 2.41; San Diego - La Guardia 16.2.41,
    La Guardia - St Hubert 23.2.41; TOC St Hubert 23.2.41; St Hubert -
    Gander 5.3.41, held by bad weather; dep Gander 13.3.41, arr
    Squires Gate 14.3.41, first Liberator to reach UK, crewed by Wg Cdr
    Waghorn and Flt Lt Summers; allocated to MoEW; DGRD Hatfield
    26.3.41; DGRD Heston 1.4.41; DGRD Handley Page 8.4.41; regd to
    BOAC (CoR 9312) 19.4.41 to BOAC; civil conversion at Northolt
    completed 28.4.41; A&AEE handling trials at Boscombe Down by
    Capt J H Orrell 4/5.5.41; dispersed to Colerne/Charmy Down
    6/13.5.41; regd G-AGCD 19.4.41 to BOAC (CoR 9312); CoA (6884)
    issued 15.5.41; MoEW use abandoned due to airfield limitations in
    Sweden; to BOAC 1.7.41; used on Return Ferry Service; made
    special UK/Cairo flight 14.7.42; retd to RFS; regn cancelled 24.8.42;
    made first Prestwick/Moscow return flight 21/29.10.42 and other
    Moscow flights to 7.4.43, when it reverted to AM259; damaged at
    Prestwick 15.5.43; retd to BOAC 23.6.43 regn restored on unknown
    date; again used on Russian and special services as G-AGCD;
    made special UK/Cairo flight 3/11.1.44; retd to RAF as AM259 for 45
    Gp Comm Sqn 6.7.44; 231 Sqn 8.9.44; SOC at Dorval 7.11.45.
    "The RAF Museum show has been forensically examined and was deeply unimpressive. I knew that their whale of a story was loaded with baloney".

  27. #147
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    Thanks, Matt, for the additional information about those Liberators and for the link to the one at Fort Collins. I have never been to Colorado, let alone Fort Collins, but I know the name of the place as a live concert recording was made there in 1976 and, because of the storm that day, the resulting album bears the title "Hard Rain". There was a TV broadcast of part of the concert, too, on a programme in a now-defunct British television series called "The Old Grey Whistle Test". Not too much 'hard rain' for the Liberator, I hope.

  28. #148
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    The photo below was captioned, 'This Liberator C. Mk.VII is pictured in July 1944'. It comes in a section about Lyneham, so that is presumably the location, and, by the windows, it is a passenger-carrying version. Is that another Liberator in the background on the right?

    Comments, amyone?
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  29. #149
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    This photograph appears in a 1980 book about the history of BA, specifically the chapter about BOAC in WWII. It is of AL507 and, by the snow, I guess at Dorval but I could be wrong. The photo was a double-page spread and I've tried (inexpertly) to join the two halves together. It looks to me as though the photographer has tried to compensate for the brightness of the snow/slush and that ol' AL507 has therefore turned out a bit dark. On the other hand, the shadow from the tailplane indicates a fairly low sun.

    EDIT: It wouldn't upload the photo. I'll try again in another post
    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 8th May 2017 at 15:59.

  30. #150
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    In case the file size was a problem, I've reduced it. Here it is - trying again. The text in the previous post applies.
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    Last edited by ianwoodward9; 8th May 2017 at 19:27.

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