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BOAC Liberator II Landing At Prestwick

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  • ianwoodward9
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Aug 2010
    • 783

    #61
    Thanks for the photograph, Duggy, and for the aircraft history, Matt.

    A J Jackson's "British Civil Aircraft 1919-59" said that it crashed at Prestwick on 13 November 1948 and was scrapped in December 1948. This was clearly a mistake (possible a misreading of a handwritten note) because G-INFO says it was withdrawn from the register on 28 February 1947, as Matt states. Jackson combined its fate with G-AHYE (c/n 27) which was indeed withdrawn on 13 December 1948 as "REDUCED TO PRODUCE".

    Meanwhile, here's Consolidated's factory in San Diego - in 1943, I think, when it was being extended.
    Attached Files

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    • Matt Poole
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Dec 2004
      • 424

      #62
      Oops, you're right, Ian. It is "Reduced to produce", not "product", as I errantly typed.

      That kale I had last night did remind me of hydraulic fluid...reduced to produce ("But Matt," someone will ask, "how do you know what hydraulic fluid tastes like?" Good point.)
      RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media

      Comment

      • Matt Poole
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Dec 2004
        • 424

        #63
        Looks like the old Consolidated plant in San Diego (later a McDonnell-Douglas production plant) was torn down between Oct 1996 and Jan 2000, based on Google Earth photos. Before and after shots, plus a Nov 2016 shot showing redevelopment, are attached.
        Attached Files
        RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media

        Comment

        • ianwoodward9
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Aug 2010
          • 783

          #64
          I don't know why but I thought "RTP" meant "Reduced To Parts" until I saw it written on the pdf for G-AHYE on the G-INFO website I would never have come up with "Reduced To Produce", which is a strange turn of phrase indeed. "Produce", as a noun, is something produced; 'reduced to something that is produced' makes no sense at all to me. Maybe it was a phrase dreamed up by a civil servant with a classics education and 'produce' has a classical root of which I am not aware. Can anyone produce an answer to this conundrum?

          Comment

          • Matt Poole
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Dec 2004
            • 424

            #65
            I can only confirm the term "Returned to Produce", per the Oughton book's glossary. I don't think the bits were put into a compost heap, though.

            EDIT, the following morning: NO, NO, NO -- lack of attention on my part! It was not "Returned to Produce" but, instead, "REDUCED to Produce", per Oughton's glossary. Actually, his full term is "Reduced to produce (scrapped)".
            Last edited by Matt Poole; 24th April 2017, 13:45.
            RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media

            Comment

            • Graham Boak
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Nov 2008
              • 942

              #66
              I can't help with the derivation of the term, which I understood was "Reduce to Produce" and meant the same as "Reduce to Parts". Perhaps it meant that they were reducing what was effectively a large pile of scrap to a smaller pile, and in the process producing something useful - i.e. spares?

              Comment

              • Duggy
                Flight SIM Pilot
                • Mar 2012
                • 1129

                #67
                The BOAC flight crews wore their civilian uniforms and were covered by the rules of the Geneva Convention.
                The cockpit of AL514/G-AGJP.

                Comment

                • ianwoodward9
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Aug 2010
                  • 783

                  #68
                  Thanks, Graham. 'Produce' used as in "to feed' damaged aircraft - sounds possible to me.

                  Thanks, Duggy for the photograph - not one I've seen before but, then, I haven't made any great study of the subject.

                  Here's one I found recently. I believe it is from PICTURE POST which apparently carried a feature on the "2000th flight" at Prestwick, possibly in March 1945. The wording seemed to suggest to me (perhaps I picked up what it said wrongly) that it was the 2000th aircraft flying eastward but, given the numbers I've read elsewhere for eastbound deliveries, I assume that it was actually the 2000th Return Ferry Service flight. Does that sound right?

                  Anyway, I believe that this is the inside of a passenger-carrying Liberator:
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by ianwoodward9; 24th April 2017, 11:31.

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                  • Lazy8
                    Adrian Constable
                    • Apr 2012
                    • 559

                    #69
                    BOAC adopted American Airlines' folding metal seats for the RFS Liberators at the end of 1944, so that would fit. However, the cabin looks a bit on the long side for a bomber-conversion-Liberator; I think this is more likely a C-87. BOAC didn't like the C-87 - they did have one, but I think it was used mostly on the southern Atlantic routes.

                    Comment

                    • ericmunk
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Apr 2009
                      • 1723

                      #70
                      Not all ATA staff were BOAC staff by the way. A number of KLM staff also flew the Liberators (and used their experience to pioneer the north Atlantic route immediately postwar), albeit under cover of BOAC who also operated the KLM aircraft on a formal lease, that managed to escape the German invasion of 1940.

                      Comment

                      • trumper
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Aug 2003
                        • 6677

                        #71
                        "farnboroughrob


                        I base my info on these RFS libs on one of Don McVicar's books, 'Ferry Command'. He describes several return flights on Libs and his lack of confidence in the crews experience on the North Atlantic. If anybody has not read his books they are a brilliant read."

                        That's another book ordered,look forward to reading this lesser known part of the war.

                        Comment

                        • ianwoodward9
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Aug 2010
                          • 783

                          #72
                          Thanks for the comments, all.

                          Trumper:
                          I’ve just finished reading “Ferry Command” by Don McVicar (to which someone earlier in this thread first directed me – thanks). It was a quick skate through, over a few nights, rather than a ‘study’ but he certainly didn’t relish the lack of comfort on the return from Prestwick. This was earlier than this photograph was taken and standards could have improved in that time.

                          Ericmunk:
                          Everything I’ve read about the North Atlantic ferry route mentions that the crews were made up of many nationalities. Five KLM DC-3s escaped to Britain at the start of WWII and were used on the Whitchurch - Lisbon service and, for that, I believe that any Dutch crewmen would have had to become BOAC staff – maybe even being issued with British passports - like the Norwegian crews that flew to Stockholm. I am less sure that it would have been a requirement for ‘flying’ Dutchmen on the North Atlantic ferry service.

                          Adrian/lazy8:
                          Further back along the fuselage, there appear to be cabin windows and overhead racks for bags, coats or whatever. The passengers do not appear to be prepared for cold conditions, either.

                          On the other hand, when some BOAC Liberators received their civilian marks, they were registered as 18-seater aircraft (presumably 9 seats along each side?). If the photograph of the interior was taken from the front-most seat, that would be about right.

                          Below, I show part of the registration certificate for Liberator II G-AHYE (AL529). I’ve chosen this one for no other reason than that it shows not only the “eighteen seater” note but also the “REDUCED TO PRODUCE” phrase, to which there is reference in earlier posts.
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by ianwoodward9; 24th April 2017, 14:18.

                          Comment

                          • Matt Poole
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Dec 2004
                            • 424

                            #73
                            Thanks for additional photos, including Duggy's cockpit photo from AL514/G-AGJP. Here's the aircraft's history, from Oughton:

                            AL514 Construction number 12; First flight or acceptance date 9.8.41; retained in USA after Pearl Harbor; Taken on charge by USAAC 12.41; released to RAF and taken on charge Dorval 10.3.42; used by Ferry Command Communications Sqn for Pacific flights (known as The Swagman) (first service 20.3.42); Dorval - Oklahoma City, 22.3.42 San Francisco, 23.3.42 Australia, 2.4.42 departed Sydney, 8.4.42 arrived San Francisco; after 3 further Pacific flights returned to Dorval 4.6.42; Ferry Command Communications Sqn; to BOAC for Return Ferry Service 4.8.42; first service to Prestwick 12.8.42; remained at Dorval 23.8.42 to 6.5.43 when test flown; returned to Return Ferry Service service 4.6.43 until 21.9.43 at Prestwick; registered G-AGJP to BOAC; Certificate of Registration #9496 issued 11.11.43; Certificate of Airworthiness #7032 issued 13.11.43 but continued to fly as AL514 6.43 to 9.46 with radio call sign OLZB; Certificate of Airworthiness lapsed 12.11.44 but renewed 2.10.46 as G-AGJP; renewed 2.10.47 and 1.11.48 (A3166); emergency landing at Keflavik 24.1.49, damaging port landing gear, hit crash truck on runway; operated by Scottish Aviation with effect from 1.4.49; Certificate of Airworthiness lapsed 31.10.49 and aircraft stored at Prestwick; regitration cancelled 6.4.51 as sold abroad; permits for ferry to Tollerton for overhaul issued 9.4.51 and 29.5.51; permit for ferry flight to France issued 31.7.51; sold to St de Transports Ariens Alpes Provence (Guillaume IV) CdN No.20434 22.12.51 and registered F-BEFX 26.12.51; crashed and destroyed by fire 30 mls (48 km) SE of N'gaoudere, French Cameroon, 19.2.52, killing nine; registration cancelled 17.10.62.
                            RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media

                            Comment

                            • Lazy8
                              Adrian Constable
                              • Apr 2012
                              • 559

                              #74
                              True the Liberators were registered as eighteen-seaters, reflecting the number of seats already installed! However, almost as soon as they were registered, their Certificates of Airworthiness were amended to prevent them carrying commercial passengers. BOAC Liberators with civil markings only ever carried freight and company personnel. It was largely for this reason that they were turned over to Scottish Airways, who though they could make a profit on the trans-Atlantic service where BOAC hadn't (turned out they were wrong).
                              Before the folding seats (removable and could be stored flat along the fuselage side, although exactly how seems to be lost), there were no seats. For the first three years the RFS passengers were instructed to bring their own sleeping bags. Luxury was when there was a light freight load, as this permitted some mattresses to be laid on the floor (it also meant there was a good possibility that the Elsan was accessible - with a full freight load this was not guaranteed!)

                              Comment

                              • ianwoodward9
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Aug 2010
                                • 783

                                #75
                                Thank you, adrian/lazy8, for the additional and very useful information. Do you know when the' mattresses on the floor' arrangements ended and the fitted seats came in?

                                Thanks again, Matt, for the detailed aircraft history.

                                For ericmunk particularly (though others may be interested):

                                I attach a picture of a BOAC DC-3 at Lisbon. It is a cutting from a newspaper or magazine back in 1944. I didn't 'create' the cutting but was given it, probably some 55 years ago. I don't know who gave it to me and I don't know from which publication it was removed (maybe AEROPLANE SPOTTER). The picture came stuck to a 5" x 3" record card and you can see the handwritten note on the front ("G-AGIP Douglas Dakota Mk.3"). The note continues on the reverse side, "Of BOAC at Lisbon Airport recently with D-ARPF of Deutsche Luft Hansa in the background" and, at the bottom, is written "14.12.44". Whether that is the date the picture was taken or the date of publictaion, I don't know but probably the latter.

                                G-AGIP was not one of the KLM DC-3s that escaped to Britain. You can tell quickly because the passenger door is on the port side, whereas KLM's DC-3s had the passenger door on the starboard side - I have no idea where that comes from, so I hope I'm right. However, while G-AGIP was not an ex-KLM DC-3, D-ARPF was.
                                Attached Files
                                Last edited by ianwoodward9; 24th April 2017, 22:15.

                                Comment

                                • longshot
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Aug 2008
                                  • 1650

                                  #76
                                  https://www.flickr.com/photos/biblar...75074/sizes/o/
                                  https://www.flickr.com/photos/biblar...75772/sizes/o/
                                  http://forum.keypublishing.com/showt...gs-in-Portugal

                                  I think BOAC Liberators carried passengers during WWII but , yes, post-war just freight and concessionary pax. There was no reason for KLM crew to be given British passports for Lisbon , the original DC-3s on the route had full KLM interiors. There's a newish book out on the 'Stockholm Run' with about a dozen pages on the use of Liberators to Stockholm....One of the RFS Libs was assigned to the route but never used, first to appear was BOAC's G-AGFS in 1943 I think, then scores of Lib flights by the Americans from 1944
                                  Last edited by longshot; 25th April 2017, 08:35.

                                  Comment

                                  • Lazy8
                                    Adrian Constable
                                    • Apr 2012
                                    • 559

                                    #77
                                    First mention of Liberator seating in BOAC correspondence is on 22 January 1943, listing the modifications that American Airlines are considering for their C-87s. Relations between BOAC and Consolidated then get very frosty, partly because BOAC neglected to get Consolidated approval for their cargo-carrying mods to the LB.30s, and perhaps more so because Consolidated regard the LB.30 as obsolete and want them all quietly scrapped and replaced with 'current product'. It is a considerable embarrassment to them that BOAC can get significantly more range out of their self-modified, 'obsolete', aircraft than they, the manufacturer, can from the supposedly more developed, more powerful, newer ones! By the end of 1943 it appears that the C-87 configuration has settled down to 16 seats - whether these are the folding type is not clear. The first mention of seats for BOAC aircraft, although again talking about C-87s which they are determined not to have, is on 1 April 1944, by which time there are 19 seats in the cabin. The first seats were probably fitted in October 1944, and it seems the whole fleet was done by the end of the year. Since the seats were lightweight and foldable, I can't help wondering if the mattresses might actually have been more comfortable for a 15-hour flight...

                                    Comment

                                    • ianwoodward9
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Aug 2010
                                      • 783

                                      #78
                                      Thanks, again.

                                      The photos were terrific, longshot. I already have the "Stockholm Run" book to which you refer.

                                      I wasn't aware, lazy8, of the 'differences' between Consolidated and BOAC that you describe.

                                      I have located another copy of that MOVEMENTS BOARD photo. The quality is not great but it has slightly different visual qualities that make the top of the board clearer. You can't see the column headings any better (perhaps worse, in fact) but a date is chalked on the top-left of the board. Again, it's not too clear but the year is "42". I hope that this image can be seen well enough to see that.

                                      EDIT: Oh dear! It doesn't seem possible to expand that image; I don't know why. Perhaps you will have more luck. What I have done, however, is copy the image below on to a WORD document and then expand the image on that page. The "42" is clear and the date may be "19" but the month is not obvious.


                                      .
                                      Attached Files
                                      Last edited by ianwoodward9; 24th April 2017, 18:40.

                                      Comment

                                      • Matt Poole
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Dec 2004
                                        • 424

                                        #79
                                        Ian,

                                        I downloaded your photo and then I could zoom in on it. I then played around with contrast and so forth -- no luck in clarifying the month or day, though it does look like 42 to me. That's not definitive, though.

                                        I'm awaiting a response from a researcher who may, just may, have some strong evidence. Maybe. I'll post if he replies.

                                        Come to think of it, there's one more researcher I can try -- Robert Stitt, an expert on RAF Fortresses, so perhaps he'll weigh in on those two Fortresses listed on the board.
                                        RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media

                                        Comment

                                        • ianwoodward9
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Aug 2010
                                          • 783

                                          #80
                                          I look forward to the results of your enquiry, Matt.

                                          Meanwhile, another puzzle for you - a shot of a Liberator, also said to be flying along the coast of Arran. This particular aircraft is 'captioned' as AL627. Once again, can you perhaps identify the precise location?
                                          Attached Files

                                          Comment

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