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Crew of Lib AL513, interned 15.12.42, Spain

Crew of Lib AL513, interned 15.12.42, Spain
Author: Matt Poole (Guest)
Time Stamp:
05:30:04 Saturday, June 26, 2004
Post:
I queried this board last year, with no hits. Here goes again...

Can anyone tell me the full crew of the following aircraft, and any details on their return to the UK in early 1943?

On 15 Dec 1942, following an in-flight engine fire, Liberator AL513 crashed near Cadiz, Spain during a ferrying trip from Lyneham to Gibraltar. It might have been assigned to "1445 Flight"...not certain. The crew were soon comfortably interned in the "Termas Pallares" spa located at Alhama de Aragon (still a resort spa).

At this point I am certain of only three of the crew:

Sgt O'SULLIVAN - skipper

1262742 Sgt or F/Sgt Victor Ernest WHITEHALL - 2nd Pilot

649327 F/Sgt Bernard CLIFTON DFM - Wireless Operator.

Another internee with them was Dick WALKER from Pontypridd, but I don't know if he was on the crew of AL513. Walker was mentioned in a letter written by Clifton during his internment.

I seek the names of the full crew. I suspect at least one other later flew with Clifton and Whitehall for 159 Squadron when they were shot down over Rangoon on 29 Feb 1944.

Thanks from Maryland, USA.



RE: Crew of Lib AL513, interned 15.12.42, Spain
Author: floyd williston (Guest)
Time Stamp:
18:35:23 Saturday, June 26, 2004
Post:
I assume you accessed this website:

http://home.att.net/%7Ejbaugher2/b24_5.html

This suggests that the aircraft was destroyed. by the crew.

(Floyd)


RE: Crew of Lib AL513, interned 15.12.42, Spain
Author: floyd williston (Guest)
Time Stamp:
18:52:58 Saturday, June 26, 2004
Post:
Are you aware that 1445 Flight becamepart of 301 Ferry Training Unit prior to Dec.15/42?

(Floyd)


RE: Crew of Lib AL513, interned 15.12.42, Spain
Author: Matt Poole (Guest)
Time Stamp:
19:39:37 Saturday, June 26, 2004
Post:
Floyd,

Yes, the Liberator crash landed, and then the crew tried to torch the aircraft so that nothing useful would fall into the hands of the Germans, via the Spanish. The crew did a pretty good job of torching the Lib.

Here are a few more background details:

+++++++++++++++++

Written by hand in the logbook of F/Sgt Victor Ernest Whitehall -- the second pilot (co-pilot) of AL513:

"Previous Log Book destroyed when Liberator AL 513 crashed in Spain Dec. 15. 1942."

On a separate page, Victor recorded the following details, which he added (from an unknown source) when he began his new logbook after his repatriation to the UK early in 1943:

1942

1445 FLIGHT.

DEC 15 Liberator II 513 [AL513] Sgt O'Sullivan [pilot] Self [2nd pilot]

Base [UK] -- Gibraltar -- Landed N. of Cadiz 5.55 [flying time, day] 7.00 [flying time, night]

+++++++++++++++++

Information on AL513's crash, learned from the family of F/Sgt Bernard Clifton DFM -- the wireless operator of AL513:

According to Eric Clifton, the brother of Bernard Clifton, the reason the Liberator crashed and could not complete its journey from England to Gibraltar was because of an engine fire experienced far out over the Atlantic Ocean. Supposedly, the fire was extinguished, but a second engine either quit or caught fire.

Eric also remembered being told that the crew of the Liberator lit the aircraft on fire once it was on the ground, so that it would not fall into the hands of German agents in Spain. Because of the approach of soldiers and others on the ground, the RAF airmen did not have a chance to retrieve valuables from the aircraft.

Eric found two of Bernard's surviving letters -- written to him in England from internment in Spain. One of these mentioned the events of 15 December 1942. An excerpt:

"I expect you have heard already that I have been interned in Spain but I thought I would write and let you know I am O.K. We landed here on the 15th December and I had a bad hour or two before we pranged but since then we have had very good treatment and nothing to complain about. It was quite a shaker at first to see lots of foreign looking blokes riding up on donkeys as we were in a field near Cadiz. We were soon picked up by soldiers who took us to their barracks where we had a feed."

+++++++++++++++++

In 1997 Javier Aranduy, an aerobatic pilot in Spain, was researching WWII aircraft which crashed or landed in Spain. He sent me the Spanish technical report on the remnants of AL513. Excerpts:

AIRFRAME: The remains of the aircraft show that they have suffered a fire, destruction due to impact and corrosion because of its long time in the open.

ENGINES: Four Pratt & Whitney of 14 cylinders as double radials. Type S3C-4G. They are in bad shape. One of them has burned and of the other three, two could be put back into service but we don't have any spares.

PROPELLERS: Metallic, three bladed, variable pitch of electrically moved. Two of them have their blades in good shape, others slightly bent and the other is completely damaged.

AIRFRAME: The rear half remains.

EQUIPMENT: There is none. The cockpit has completely disappeared and we are not able to inform of special equipment that the aircraft has. There are some remains of the anti-icing boots. Some oxygen cylinders could be found which must have been part of the crew's ox. system.