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BOAC Liberator II Landing At Prestwick

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  • Matt Poole
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Dec 2004
    • 457

    #81
    A tough test, Ian! I'll download the photo, darken the background, and possibly -- possibly -- come up with something...maybe later today, maybe tomorrow.

    I wrote to Robert Stitt and will report on his opinion of the date. (He and I have been actively working together lately, so I expect that he'll get back to me fairly quickly.)
    RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media

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    • ianwoodward9
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Aug 2010
      • 806

      #82
      Good luck on all fronts, Matt.

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      • Thorgil
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Nov 2007
        • 30

        #83
        Photo of AL627 looks like it is passing Corriegills Point, Arran. Brodick beach is to the right of the nose. Crash site of Liberator AM261 is a further 5km to the right on Mullach Buidhe.

        Alan.

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        • Matt Poole
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Dec 2004
          • 457

          #84
          Excellent pinpointing, Alan. I think those landmark walls or hedges on the left were very helpful -- at least they were for me, once you honed me into the Corriegills area. You saved me some work (and I may have failed to pinpoint Corriegills on my own)!

          Here are three more images: a darkened version of Ian's photo of AL627 (showing the land features better), a fairly decent comparison Google Earth oblique view, and an overhead Google Earth view. Note the direction of north on the Google Earth items, at upper right.

          Cheers,

          Matt
          Attached Files
          RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media

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          • Matt Poole
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Dec 2004
            • 457

            #85
            Researcher/author Robert Stitt just replied:

            Something odd about the board. These don't appear to be transatlantic delivery flight entries as the names for some of the Hudson crews do not match known captains.

            I would have said that Base M was Montreal but none of the Liberator or Fortress entries are bona fide Air Ministry serials.

            So I tend to agree with some of the postees, that the board has been tweaked for security purposes and there is not too much to learn from it.


            I can see the logic in altering the board's info. (By board, Robert and I refer to the one seen in the photos Ian posted, allegedly at Prestwick and showing transatlantic flights.)

            Cheers,

            Matt
            Last edited by Matt Poole; 25th April 2017, 00:58. Reason: Clarification
            RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media

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            • ianwoodward9
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Aug 2010
              • 806

              #86
              Please thank Robert for his contributions, Matt. Soon after I had posted the photograph of the "MOVEMENTS BOARD" (Post # 42), I was unsure about the veracity of the information displayed. Robert has the same concerns.

              And congratulations to Alan and Matt for establishing the location of the photograph of AL627 (post #80). Here's another shot of AL627 but, this time, the location is given - Montreal:
              Attached Files

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              • ianwoodward9
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Aug 2010
                • 806

                #87
                On the subject of passenger seating or otherwise aboard ferrying Liberators, I have come across a 1944 article by Edward C. Bowyer that brings out the contrasting standards.

                The article appeared in FLIGHT magazine for 25th May 1944 under the title, “Britain’s Overseas Air Services”. Mr Bowyer “is Chief of the Information Department, Society of British Aircraft Constructors”, a former journalist who had joined the SBAC in 1930 to organise its Information Department and had also held other senior SBAC posts in WWII. The article reports a 25,000 mile journey from early January 1944 to early February 1944. He travelled in several different aircraft types but two of the journeys were in Liberators.

                The first of these was in Liberator FR240 EDIT; THIS WAS A TYPO - SHOULD BE 'FK240' (christened “Gremlin’s Grandpappy”) from West Africa to the Bahamas. “Eighteen passengers were on board. There were side seats in the aft portion of the fuselage, a few bunks in the bomb bay and a shelf – known as the Bridal Suite – above the bomb bay”. Mr Bowyer (the only civilian on board) was assigned the shelf, said to be the most ‘comfortable’ accommodation. As Mr Bowyer was behind schedule, Captain Williams had suggested they take the fastest route and Mr Bowyer had agreed. “My regret was to come later”, he wrote. I can’t repeat the circumstances, so will simply add another of Mr Bowyer’s comments: “My longest, fastest and most arduous flight since my first airline journey in 1921”.

                The second of his Liberator flights was on board Liberator AL614 from Montreal to Prestwick. AL614had no seats[/I] and the twelve passengers were accommodated on mattresses on the floor”. Passengers were “provided with oxygen masks, flying suits, flying helmets and gloves. Warm air was admitted through vents in the main bulkhead, but it was not circulated, with the result that the air at the top of the fuselage got very hot, while the temperature on the floor stayed below freezing point till late the following morning” (their having left Montreal at five-thirty in the afternoon). He says that it was difficult to sleep anyway, with the associated risk of kinking the oxygen tube and suffocating, and that condensation building up inside the mask trickled down and froze.

                You may find the whole article of interest; it is available on-line.
                Last edited by ianwoodward9; 25th April 2017, 20:09.

                Comment

                • Matt Poole
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Dec 2004
                  • 457

                  #88
                  Something seems amiss, Ian. There was no FR240-coded Liberator. No FR-coded Lib, either. For what it's worth, I can't find reference to any Liberator named "Gremlin's Grandpappy".

                  EDIT: Ian has corrected the serial to FK240, which is, indeed, a Lib. And despite doing a CTRL+F search on my OCR'd serials list from the Oughton book, Gremlin's Grandpappy didn't show up -- because I haven't scanned the FK-coded Oughton listings yet! But it is in there, along with an aircraft history. I rushed a posting.

                  AL614 was, indeed, an LB.30. It's history, from Oughton (no time to expand upon the abbreviations):

                  AL614 c/n 112; retained in USA following Pearl Harbor; dld
                  Tucson, AZ 10.12.41; TOC Dorval 8.5.42; used by FCCS by 29.5.42
                  to at least 7.7.42; to BOAC for Return Ferry Service 31.8.42, first
                  eastbound service 1.9.42; burst tyre on take-off Prestwick for
                  Gander 24.8.43 and belly-landed at Ayr; to SAL for repairs and
                  mods 7.9.43; dld BOAC Prestwick 16.11.43, in service westbound
                  19.11.43; CoA applied for 30.5.46; regn G-AHYH reserved 8.46
                  but ntu; radio c/s OLZN; ceased to fly 30.6.46; RTP at Dorval and
                  SOC 23.5.47.

                  Cheers,

                  Matt
                  Last edited by Matt Poole; 25th April 2017, 18:18.
                  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
                    • 806

                    #89
                    Oops, my error.That should have been FK240 [not FR240]. Sorry about that. I'll edit the original post to show the correct serial number.

                    I can't explain the "Gremlin's Grandpappy" aspect. The article is six pages long and that name appears twice, on the second and fifth pages.

                    Comment

                    • Ross_McNeill
                      Timewaster Magnet...
                      • Jan 2000
                      • 857

                      #90
                      Got to be careful of Ops board photos - they mostly use MSI as opposed to Aircraft Serial.

                      The full RAF Movements Section MSI (Movements Serial Indicator) typically used three alpha followed by three numeric so that it would not be confused with aircraft serial. The transatlantic format was typically two alpha followed by three numeric and only occasionally the aircraft serial.

                      I answered a post a few years ago on RAF Commands with a description of the RAF MSI usage

                      "The KBLXXX is the MSI or movement serial indicator and it's just an accident that the BL part has been used for a Blenheim.

                      In general the MSI for aircraft on ops on the same day and with take off times within a few minutes had the same alpha part of the MSI but sequential numeric parts.

                      The senario is that the aerdrome Watch Office staff plan the take off and route (or in the later part of the war are instructed by Group on take off and route).

                      They then assign aircraft and crews, telephone Flying Control at Fighter Command and request a MSI for x aircraft with take off time y and route z.

                      Flying Control then use the three letter code of the day for that aerodrome and time period and assign the request the code with the sequential numeric portion.

                      Now Flying Control have an aircraft serial with a route and estimated times logged against an MSI.

                      Later the Chain Home station picks up a track and reports it to the Filter Room, the flying control liasion officer compares this to the MSIs and advises on possible hostile, possible friendly or unknown. The teller then "tells" via the telephone the plotter at Fighter Command/Sector the narrative for unknown or possible hostile and the Plotter puts it on the table.

                      Any subsequent reports from Observer Corps are compared to the raid track to see if possible hostile or unknown can be resolved into an MSI and taken off the Fighter Command table.

                      From about 1941 then GCI stations and Gun Laying Radar reports were also added to the mix for FCLO resolution but key to all this activity was the MSI relating to a known and planned aircraft movement."

                      So the board may not be posed but a real one using a wartime code to confuse the enemy that still works today to mislead the unwary.

                      Think of it as the same way ATC designate and track flights in todays controlled airspace.

                      Regards
                      Ross
                      Last edited by Ross_McNeill; 25th April 2017, 17:31.
                      Restorer of Canberra PR.9 XH175 and anon (but looking more like 8249) Anson Mk.II

                      Comment

                      • Matt Poole
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Dec 2004
                        • 457

                        #91
                        Thanks, Ross, for setting us straight.
                        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
                          • 806

                          #92
                          Many thanks, Ross. Your explanation was all new to me (I was definitely one of the 'unwary') and it suggests that the photograph may not be an example of 'fake news' after all.

                          With this in mind, I have tried to 'tweak' the date at the top of the 'MOVEMENTS BOARD' visually to see what I can make of it. It is impossible to arrive at anything definitive but I am going to have a go anyway. This is what I've come up with:-

                          *9 MARCH** 42

                          >>> There is a 'smudge' at the start, followed by what appears to be (but may not be) a '9'.

                          >>> There is then a long 'smudge' where the month should be. This looks to me like "MARCH" followed by some rubbings-out, which could be the end of the (longer) previous month which has been rubbed out but not erased.

                          >>> Finally, the '42' is clearer than the rest but, again, I stress that this may not be correct.

                          Those of you of a certain age will recall chalk and blackboards from your school-days and may remember that, if the blackboard were not properly 'cleaned', a layer (maybe several layers) of residual chalk dust would remain on the surface and 'fog' what is written on top of it. Using this 'logic' (?????) my conclusion (ill-founded, I concede) is that the date is 9 March 1942.

                          Does the information on that board fit with the dates for trans-Atlantic flights at this time?
                          Last edited by ianwoodward9; 25th April 2017, 21:09.

                          Comment

                          • Ross_McNeill
                            Timewaster Magnet...
                            • Jan 2000
                            • 857

                            #93
                            By way of a fuller example of the RAF use this is the Ops board for No.75 Sqn on a night 16/17 June 1941

                            https://75nzsquadron.files.wordpress...-stretched.jpg

                            First column is labeled Serial No and shows the MSI three alpha followed by the three digit for each aircraft. Also shown is the 4 numeric of the aircraft serial under Aircraft No.

                            Ross
                            Restorer of Canberra PR.9 XH175 and anon (but looking more like 8249) Anson Mk.II

                            Comment

                            • longshot
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Aug 2008
                              • 1666

                              #94
                              Probably already known to the 'old hands' but there is a Charles Rector album in the SDASM/flickr stream with RFS/Liberator content e.g.
                              https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasma...7645345042686/ Presumably the Captain Eves in the Liberator AL591 crash Gander 9Feb1943

                              and
                              https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasma...7645345042686/ at Dorval? Mostly RAF serials
                              Last edited by longshot; 25th April 2017, 21:39.

                              Comment

                              • ericmunk
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Apr 2009
                                • 1735

                                #95
                                Great books on the BOAC flights:

                                Jons Viruly. Biography on one of the two Dutch Liberator pilots with BOAC. By Wim Adriaansen, in Dutch.

                                Langs de hoge weg. Bio of Jan Moll, the other Lib Dutchie. In Dutch.

                                Both with lots of photos, excellent books with lots of personal stories on the Atlantic flights.

                                Comment

                                • ianwoodward9
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Aug 2010
                                  • 806

                                  #96
                                  Thank you for the links, longshot.

                                  Does anyone have any suggestions as to the location of these three images?

                                  [1] I wondered if the photo in this link from longshot (below) might be at Prestwick:


                                  [2] Similarly, since these photos come from San Diego, whether the photo in this link might have been taken at Consolidated's factory there:


                                  [3] There was also this photo in the 'stream' - nothing to do with Liberators but it looks rather like Prestwick to me:
                                  Attached Files

                                  Comment

                                  • ianwoodward9
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Aug 2010
                                    • 806

                                    #97
                                    I'm afraid that, sadly, my Dutch is zero, ericmunk.

                                    When I was in my mid-teens, I flew to Schipol for the day (I come from a modest background but my mother worked for BEA so i got the benefit of staff travel rates) and, whilst there, I bought a copy of a Dutch aircraft magazine (COCKPIT, was it?). It was an issue with a feature on the Belgian Air Force, as I recall. I was perusing this magazine on the flight back and my neighbour started speaking to me in Dutch. That's about the nearest I ever came to conversing in Dutch.

                                    Does either book have photographs relevant to this thread that you could scan and post here?

                                    Comment

                                    • ianwoodward9
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Aug 2010
                                      • 806

                                      #98
                                      The photo below shows a Liberator VI (EW297) in what I would call Coastal Command colours. I have found it on-line as allocated to 53 Squadron with the code 'O', though this photo shows the code as 'D'.

                                      I do not know where I got this photograph but I have quite a few 'old' photos from Prestwick, probably obtained during one of my three visits there in the early 1960s (October 1961, August 1962 and April 1963). I am not sure whether this photo was taken at Prestwick or not, though the little bit of background landscape on the right could be Ayrshire.

                                      EW297 was apparently converted from a GR.VI to a C.VI. Was this conversion done at Prestwick?
                                      Attached Files
                                      Last edited by ianwoodward9; 26th April 2017, 16:09.

                                      Comment

                                      • ericmunk
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Apr 2009
                                        • 1735

                                        #99
                                        I will Ian, in some days. As a brief summary, Adriaan "Jons" Viruly was a wellknown prewar KLM pilot and author. He made his way fron occupied Holland through Berlin by first class train. Then on a visum to Sweden issued on the autority of a Swedish-German nobleman who vouched for him, in 1941. He worked for ABA for some months towing targets with Tiger Moths, bedore catching a BOAC flight to England. He then worked for KLM/BOAC from Whitchurch a short while before volunteering for the Return Ferry Service. He flew for RFS in second half 1942 into 1943 before returning to fly KLM and BOAC DC-3s on the Lissabon line until 1945.

                                        The book I mentioned describea his training with BOAC on Link and dual, plus navigation. It also describes the flights with up to 22 bodies (pax) in horrendous weather over the Atlantic.

                                        It describes in detail his crash with a Liberator at Gander in late 1943 when it hit snowbanks on take off and broke up. Lucky escape there. And it details a descent in cloud into Reykjavik on 26 august 1943 where they missed a mountain by 100 feet. DME turned out to have a deviation...

                                        Comment

                                        • ianwoodward9
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Aug 2010
                                          • 806

                                          Ericmunk, there is no great rush. Anything that you are able to contribute would be much appreciated, I'm sure.

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