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Liberator BZ951 [Royal Air Force Aircraft Serial and Image Database] RAFCommands.com

 Liberator BZ951



B.III; ex 42-64028; dld Dorval 31.10.43; Gander - Prestwick 6.11.43; SAL 6.11.43; "SNAKE"; onward delivery details unknown; arr Karachi 17.11.43; 1584 HCU; 1673 HCU 1.2.44; missing on navigational exercise 25.7.44; SOC 15.11.44. More information in: The Liberator in RAF and Commonwealth Service by James D. Oughton , John F. Hamlin, Andrew Thomas

Aircraft Accident / Loss Entry

Date of Crash  24 Feb 44 Aircraft Name  Liberator III Serial Number  BZ951
Unit  1673 HCU Operating Airfield   Country  
Aircrew details
Details BZ951 "Y" of 1673 HCU was lost in an air explosion over Sinde, Burma on the night of 23/24 Feb 1944 during a bombing op, not "on navigational exercise 25.7.44" as Oughton indicates. An official 1944 report, "Review of the Night Operations of 231 Group, Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command (17th February - 16th March, 1944)" lists the following info: 23/24.2 Sinde Nil Y/1673 10,000 Air explosion seen. The serial number of "Y" was not listed. However, through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register, B-24 Mark III Liberator BZ951 "Y", operating with No 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF, took off at 1750 on 23 February 1944 to join two other Liberators of 1673 HCU on an operation to bomb Sinde Dumps, Burma. Sinde was situated on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River about three miles south of the larger town of Prome, which was on the east bank. BZ951 failed to return to base (Salbani, West Bengal, India). The entire 10-man crew were reported missing. They were listed in this order in the Operations Record Book, Form 541 DETAIL OF WORK CARRIED OUT, Appendix "C", 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit: 40594 F/Lt ALLITT, Robert Edward DFC - PILOT 109364 F/Lt HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas – PILOT (PASSENGER) The aircraft had released its bombs on the target, but it "did not identify by W/T" (per the ORB) and was not seen again. (By this, perhaps it was meant that no wireless message of any kind -- including a distress signal -- was received at any time after bombs were released.) An extensive but unsuccessful search was made covering what was thought to be likely areas in the Bay of Bengal in which the aircraft might have forced landed. In June 1946 No 5 Searcher Team, RAF Missing Research & Enquiry Service, found the wreckage at 18° 44' 40" N.Lat, 95° 12' E. Long on a small island in the Irrawaddy River. The nearby village of Kyun-U, also on this island, is situated 2.5 miles due south of Sinde, the bombing objective on 23 February 1944. The local headman (presumably from Kyun-U) stated that the aircraft had bombed the Prome area (actually Sinde, but this is a reasonable geographic error) and was seen to approach the island on fire before crashing into trees at approximately 8.30 pm on 23 February 1944. He led the searcher team to the site and they identified the wreckage (what little there was) as a Liberator by its distinctive undercarriage. The headman said that three of the engines had been removed by the Japanese after the crash. Based on the geographic location and date, it was simple to link this to Liberator BZ951. The searcher team found four separate graves: one at the crash site containing five burnt bodies, and three others containing one body each about half a mile west of the crash site. Two crewmen were unaccounted for. The searcher team removed none of the bodies at that time. On 23 December 1946 No 42 War Graves Registration Unit visited the site with the headman to recover the BZ951 crew remains. The five bodies in the grave at the wreck site could not be relocated. From one of the other three graves a single body was recovered and eventually reburied – as an unknown airman – in Rangoon Military Cemetery (since renamed Rangoon War Cemetery) in Grave 8, Plot 3, Row G. The other two individual graves had been washed away by monsoon rains/flooding. So only one unnamed crewman lies buried in Rangoon War Cemetery today – identified as "AN AIRMAN OF THE 1939-1945 WAR, KNOWN UNTO GOD".
Source Matt Poole

Casualities in the CWGC Register for Liberator III BZ951

Rank Name, Number, Trade & Details DateUnit Country Cemetary/Memorial & Loc Ref
Flight LieutenantRobert Edward ALLITT (40594) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Warrant OfficerThomas Atkinson BEATEY (1104751) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
SergeantTrevor Barkley BOYD (1145139) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
SergeantWilliam Kenneth FLETCHER (1601738) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight LieutenantFrancis James FRASER (66511) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight LieutenantRaymond Douglas HOUGHTON (109364) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flying OfficerSydney MERRIMAN (1791) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight SergeantDavid NELSON (533351) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Pilot OfficerErnest William O'DONNELL (J/86852) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Warrant OfficerDudley Royce RAYNER (416702) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight SergeantHerbert Arthur RICHARDSON (517958) Liberator BZ951 1944-02-231673 HCU SingaporeSingapore Memorial

Related Posts in RAF Commands Forum

ThreadPost TextAuthor
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastGreetings, all. I am trying to resolve a loss discrepancy in the Oughton book, "The Liberator in Royal Air Force and Commonwealth Service", and to arrive at a definitive crew listing. I have come up with the names of ten missing airmen commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, some or all of whom may be from this particular crew. I wonder if anyone can more solidly tie any of them to a Liberator loss over Burma on 23/24 Feb 1944, and can link Liberator BZ951 to this date. In BZ951's individual history on pg 136 Oughton says that it was on 1673 HCU as of 1.2.44. This makes sense to me. However, Oughton's next info is "missing on navigational exercise, 25.7.44; SOC 15.11.44." This is a problem. I strongly suspect that the loss date is wrong and that BZ951 was really the known 1673 HCU loss of Liberator “Y” over Sinde, Burma on the night of 23/24 Feb 1944. An official 1944 report: "Review of the Night Operations of 231 Group, Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command (17th February - 16th March, 1944)" lists the following info: Missing Aircraft Date: 23/24.2 Target: Sinde Defences: Nil A/C: Y/1673 Av. Ht. Of Sqdn: 10,000 Cause: Air explosion seen. The serial number of aircraft "Y" is not given. It is definitely a Liberator, as 1673 was a Lib HCU. Contrary to this evidence, no Far East RAF losses for 23 or 24 Feb 1944 appear in the Air-Britain or Joe Baugher B-24 serial number lists. It looks probable to me that these lists are in error, and that BZ951 "Y" was lost on 23/24 Feb 1944, not "on navigational exercise 25.7.44". Neither a loss on 23/24 Feb '44 nor a loss on 25 July '44 is mentioned in "Air War For Burma" by Shores. I welcome any further evidence. The 10 names I've come up with include a Canadian. Perhaps the book "They Shall Grow Not Old" will reveal the truth? I don't have this book and kindly ask for someone to peek at a copy for me. The names: ALLITT, Flight Lieutenant, ROBERT EDWARD, D F C, 40594. Royal Air Force. 23rd February 1944. Column 431.  BEATEY, Warrant Officer, THOMAS ATKINSON, 1104751. Royal Air Force. 23rd February 1944. Age 28. Son of Thomas Beatey, and of Catherine Beatey, of Percy Main, Northumberland. Column 433. BOYD, Sergeant, TREVOR BARKLEY, 1145139. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 23rd February 1944. Age 22. Son of A. Edgar and Margaret Jessie Boyd, of Greenisland, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Column 435.  FLETCHER, Sergeant, WILLIAM KENNETH, 1601738. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 23rd February 1944. Column 436.  FRASER, Flight Lieutenant, FRANCIS JAMES, 66511. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 23rd February 1944. Age 25. Son of James and Janette Fraser, of Hove, Sussex. Column 431.  HOUGHTON, Flight Lieutenant, RAYMOND DOUGLAS, 109364. Royal Air ....Read More.Matt Poole on 12th August 2009 02:20:45
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastMatt The AB book "RAF Serials BA100 to BZ999" gives the loss date for BZ951 as 25/2/44. In my experience from dealing with RAF Aircraft Movement Cards it is not uncommon for the date for a missing a/c to be recorded as the day after the actual loss. Unless a check is made with the unit ORB or some other document then the discrepancy is not apparent. Steve ....Read More.SteveBrooking on 12th August 2009 02:51:57
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastThanks, gents. It's good to know that the month has been corrected to Feb in AB's book. Steve, thanks also for your explanation of how the date often is off by a day. I have just received P/O O'Donnell's entry from the book "They Shall Grow Not Old", and it solves most of the mystery, together with Steve's updated AB date: O'DONNELL, ERNEST WILLIAM P/O (AG) J86852//R62897. From Bathurst, New Brunswick. Killed In Action Feb.23/44 age 22. #1673 Heavy Conversion Unit. Liberator aircraft # BZ951 failed to return from bombing operations over Sinde, Burma. Nine of the crew, not Canadians, missing believed killed. Pilot Officer Air Gunner O'Donnell has no known grave, his name is inscribed on the Singapore War Memorial, Malaya. I don't quite know if all crewmen were missing from BZ951...seems so (O'Donnell and his nine non-Canadian crewmates) but the wording is misleading. Sinde is just 12 or so miles WSW of Mandalay, so any survivors would have been transported eventually to Rangoon Jail. I have very thorough info on air force POWs there, and I can't link any of them to this loss. My guess: all of BZ951's crew died. Alex, FL980's loss date is indeed very close to BZ951's...a few time zones away...the cold Atlantic versus the tropics. Same sad ending, though. If anyone can verify any of O'Donnell's crewmates, I'd be most grateful. Cheers, Matt ....Read More.Matt Poole on 13th August 2009 03:05:09
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastMatt I have checked the first two Allitt and Beatey and they both come up on the CWGC search and both are shown as commemorated on the Singapore Memorial. So it would seem that BZ951 is still unfound in the jungle or that it went into the sea? Steve ....Read More.SteveBrooking on 13th August 2009 09:34:12
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastSteve, Over land, unless the aircraft came down in the wide Irrawaddy River. Sinde is a small town close to the Irrawaddy. If you search on "Sinde, Burma" in Google maps, you will be directed there. The region is characterized by rice cultivation, not jungle. The book "Missing, Believed Killed" by Stuart Hadaway explains some of the difficulties in casualty recovery work in Burma after the war. An air explosion is a particularly challenging problem to investigate, anywhere. Given more resources, no doubt the remains of some of the crew could have been recovered, as they were probably buried by local people. The names I came up with are just possibilities for crew. Other than O'Donnell I have no proof yet of a connection to BZ951. Thanks, Matt ....Read More.Matt Poole on 13th August 2009 01:08:18
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastSteve, Sorry...I appreciate your thoughts on these casualties. In my initial posting I forgot to mention how I came up with names. I figured that casualties from BZ951 would have ended up in either Rangoon War Cem or Taukkyan War Cem in Burma, if their remains were recovered. Otherwise they would have been honored as missing aircrew on the Singapore Memorial. Several years ago I obtained bound copies of the two cemetery registers from CWGC, and I intended to study them for evidence of any RAF airmen killed in late February 1944 who might be linked to the loss of BZ951. This search of the hardcopy, I thought, would have been easier than searching display page by display page on the Debt of Honour Register. I started out, instead, by concentrating on the Singapore Memorial, assuming that the crewmen were never recovered...but there are over 24,000 missing! More easily searched than the Debt of Honour Register is same CWGC info on the website http://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/Cemeteries/ . Starting with AA of the Singapore Memorial, and searching on "February 1944" only, I quickly (and most fortunately) found that F/Lt Allitt was missing on 23 Feb 1944. No unit given. I stopped there, did a google search on his name, and found Casualty Communique No. 385, printed in Flight magazine on 18 May 1944. I searched on the names of the missing from the various air forces and, cross-referencing each with CWGC data, I arrived at the list of possibilities which I gave in my first posting. (Two or three of the Communique names, though, were not found in the CWGC database. They either survived, or there is a spelling discrepancy, and one or more might still be a potential victim aboard BZ951.) Then, to my delight, I learned that the entry for the Canadian, O'Donnell, in "They Shall Grow Not Old" connects him to BZ951 of 1673 HCU and the loss on 23 Feb 1944. So that solved my main inquiry. But I still don't know for certain how many of the men on my list were O'Donnell's crewmates. Some may have died in non-related flying with other units, etc, and I may have missed a name or two. Or Casualty Communique No. 385 may not have held the names of all the BZ951 crew. I am still curious about the crew from the HCU...for most, a first and last op. Certainly I can get the definitive crew listing from O'Donnell's personnel file via the Canadian archives, if need be, but my main inquiry was in connecting BZ951 with the known loss of aircraft "Y" of 1673 HCU over Sinde, Burma on 23/24 Feb 1944. Again, thanks for your help and your good wishes. Cheers, Matt ....Read More.Matt Poole on 13th August 2009 03:43:53
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastHi, Col and Dennis. Nice work! These men, plus O'Donnell (RCAF) and Merriman (RIAF) match up to my guess as to the ten-man crew of BZ951. Happy holidays, Matt ....Read More.Matt Poole on 19th December 2009 12:35:17
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastIn case you are interested, there is a plaque in honour of the same F/O Sydney Merriman in St Peter's Church graveyard, Agra showing that he died in action on 23rd August 1944. regards Elaine Blackburn Watson [QUOTE=Matt Poole;40883]Hi, Col and Dennis. Nice work! These men, plus O'Donnell (RCAF) and Merriman (RIAF) match up to my guess as to the ten-man crew of BZ951. Happy holidays, Matt[/QUOTE] ....Read More.Elaine Blackburn Watson on 26th June 2012 12:17:40
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastI'm glad you revived this thread, Colin. Since my last posting I have learned more details to share. The out of print BURMA LIBERATORS books are a valuable source, more so Vol. 2, although there are some baffling flaws and omissions that should have been explained (i.e., missing segment of a squadron's ORB). The books are hard to find, though. Back to BZ951... The following summary is based upon the 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit’s Operations Record Book; information provided to the next-of-kin of one of the casualties by the Air Historical Branch; previous postings in this message thread, and my analysis of wartime maps, a bomb damage assessment report, and Google Earth imagery. B-24 Mark III Liberator BZ951 “Y”, operating with No 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF, took off at 1750 on 23 February 1944 to join two other Liberators of 1673 HCU on an operation to bomb Sinde Dumps, Burma. Sinde was situated on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River about three miles south of the larger town of Prome, which was on the east bank. BZ951 failed to return to base (Salbani, West Bengal, India). The entire 10-man crew were reported missing. They were listed in this order in the Operations Record Book, Form 541 DETAIL OF WORK CARRIED OUT, Appendix “C”, 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit: 40594 F/Lt ALLITT, Robert Edward DFC - PILOT 109364 F/Lt HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas – PILOT (PASSENGER) 1601738 Sgt FLETCHER, William Kenneth – FLIGHT ENGINEER 66511 F/Lt FRASER, Francis James – NAVIGATOR/BOMB AIMER 1145139 Sgt BOYD, Trevor Barkley – WOP/AIR GUNNER 1104751 W/O BEATEY, Thomas Atkinson – AIR GUNNER 517958 F/Sgt RICHARDSON, Herbert Arthur – AIR GUNNER CAN J.86852 P/O O’DONNELL, Ernest William – AIR GUNNER IND 1791 F/O MERRIMAN, Sydney – NAVIGATOR/BOMB AIMER 533351 F/Sgt NELSON, David - FLIGHT ENGINEER The aircraft had released its bombs on the target, but it “did not identify by W/T” (per the ORB) and was not seen again. (By this, perhaps it was meant that no wireless message of any kind -- including a distress signal -- was received at any time after bombs were released.) An extensive but unsuccessful search was made covering what was thought to be likely areas in the Bay of Bengal in which the aircraft might have forced landed. In June 1946 No 5 Searcher Team, RAF Missing Research & Enquiry Service, found the wreckage at 18° 44' 40" N.Lat, 95° 12' E. Long on a small island in the Irrawaddy River. The nearby village of Kyun-U, also on this island, is situated 2.5 miles due south of Sinde, the bombing objective on 23 February 1944. The local headman (presumably from Kyun-U) stated that the aircraft had bombed the Prome area (actually Sinde, but this is a reasonable geographic error) and was seen to approach the island on fire before crashing into trees at approximately 8.30 pm on 23 February 1944. He led the searcher team to the site and they identified the wreckage (what little there was) as a Liberator by its distincti ....Read More.Matt Poole on 29th June 2012 10:25:10
F/Lt Robert Edward Allitt DFC, died 23rd February 1944Allitt was killed piloting Liberator III BZ951/Y of 1673 HCU, on a mission to bomb Sinde Dumps, Burma, on 23rd Feb 1944. More info here, with a full account on second page: http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?5885-23-24-Feb-1944-missing-Far-East Regards Simon Edit : Ross beat me to it...! ....Read More.wwrsimon on 25th January 2013 10:55:39
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastWilliam Kenneth Fletcher is mentioned as being "Missing" in the November 1944 Parish Magazine of St Michael, Horton, Berkshire Flexiday101 [QUOTE=Matt Poole;33569]Thanks, gents. It's good to know that the month has been corrected to Feb in AB's book. Steve, thanks also for your explanation of how the date often is off by a day. I have just received P/O O'Donnell's entry from the book "They Shall Grow Not Old", and it solves most of the mystery, together with Steve's updated AB date: O'DONNELL, ERNEST WILLIAM P/O (AG) J86852//R62897. From Bathurst, New Brunswick. Killed In Action Feb.23/44 age 22. #1673 Heavy Conversion Unit. Liberator aircraft # BZ951 failed to return from bombing operations over Sinde, Burma. Nine of the crew, not Canadians, missing believed killed. Pilot Officer Air Gunner O'Donnell has no known grave, his name is inscribed on the Singapore War Memorial, Malaya. I don't quite know if all crewmen were missing from BZ951...seems so (O'Donnell and his nine non-Canadian crewmates) but the wording is misleading. Sinde is just 12 or so miles WSW of Mandalay, so any survivors would have been transported eventually to Rangoon Jail. I have very thorough info on air force POWs there, and I can't link any of them to this loss. My guess: all of BZ951's crew died. Alex, FL980's loss date is indeed very close to BZ951's...a few time zones away...the cold Atlantic versus the tropics. Same sad ending, though. If anyone can verify any of O'Donnell's crewmates, I'd be most grateful. Cheers, Matt[/QUOTE] ....Read More.flexiday101 on 30th August 2013 06:48:42
440223 - Unaccounted Airwoman & Airmen - 23-2-1944Hello, 440223 - Unaccounted Airwoman & Airmen - 23-2-1944 From Henk's list - WAAF UK HARDING, Gladys Irene - LACW - 440239 - WAAF - Bedfont, Middlesex. ALGERIA BOON, John William - AC1c - 639691 - RAF - El Alia, Algeria. SINGAPORE ALLITT, Robert Edward - F/O (Pilot) - D.F.C - 40594 -RAF - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. SOUTH AFRICA McLAREN, John Archibald - Cpl - 519365 - RAF - Johannesburg (West Park ), Gauteng, South Africa. [84 Sqdn]. UK BLACKETT, Harold Elliott - Sgt (Pilot) - 1367659 - RAFVR - Paisley (Woodside), Renfrewshire. LOVELOCK, Sidney John - AC2c - 1726809 - RAFVR - Stratfield Mortimer (St. Mary ), Berkshire. MARSHALL, Charles Beresford - Sqdn/Ldr - 77717 - RAFVR - Shepperton, Middlesex. MAXWELL, Victor Edwin - MiD(2x) (Irish Republic) - Wng/Cdr - 36004 - RAF - Brookwood, Surrey. THOMAS, Melville Elvet - AC1c - 1312270 - RAFVR - Llangunnor (St. Cynwr ), Carmarthenshire. VOSE, George Albert - LAC (Pilot U/T) - 1804332 - RAFVR - Cranwell (St. Andrew ), Lincolnshire. WARD, Jack James Mount - W/O (WoP) - 1060980 - RAFVR - Glasgow (Riddrie Park ), Glasgow. WILLIAMS, John - F/S - 411512 - RAF [Formerly of the King's Coy Grenadier Guards] - Brookwood, Surrey. From CWGC & Geoff's site's - SINGAPORE BOYD, Trevor Barkley, Sgt - 1145139 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. FLETCHER, William Kenneth - Sgt - 1601738 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. FRASER, Francis James - F/L - 66511 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore.[ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas - F/L - 109364 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore.[ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. NELSON, David - F/S - 533351 - RAF - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. RICHARDSON, Herbert Arthur - F/S - 517958 - RAFVR - Singapore Memorial, Singapore. [ Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU ]. SOUTH AFRICA HARDY, Albert - AC2c - 1486438 - RAFVR - Johannesburg (West Park), Gauteng, South Africa. Alex ....Read More.Alex Smart on 17th November 2013 08:10:40
440223 - Unaccounted Airwoman & Airmen - 23-2-1944Hi ALGERIA BOON, John William - AC1c - 639691 - RAF - El Alia, Algeria. UK HARDING, Gladys Irene - LACW - registered in Staines and possibly died from injuries sustained in a air raid on South London a couple of days earlier. . BLACKETT, Harold Elliott - Sgt (Pilot) - possibly killed whilst flying in Oxford I, LX319 of No 15 (P) AFU, which flew into the ground near Aston Down in a snowstorm. LOVELOCK, Sidney John - AC2 - registered in Henley. MARSHALL, Charles Beresford - Sqdn/Ldr - registered in Staines and possibly died from injuries sustained in a air raid on South London a couple of days earlier. MAXWELL, Victor Edwin - MiD(2x) (Irish Republic) - Wng/Cdr - registered in Westminster and possibly died from injuries sustained in a air raid on South London a couple of days earlier. THOMAS, Melville Elvet - AC1 - registered in Staines and possibly died from injuries sustained in a air raid on South London a couple of days earlier. . VOSE, George Albert - LAC (Pilot U/T) - possibly killed whilst flying in Master II, DL893 of the RAFC, which dived into the ground near Swineshead in Lincolnshire during a formation flying practice. WILLIAMS, John - F/S - 411512 - RAF [Formerly of the King's Coy Grenadier Guards] - Brookwood, Surrey. SINGAPORE ALLITT, Robert Edward - F/O (Pilot) - D.F.C - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. BOYD, Trevor Barkley, Sgt - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. FLETCHER, William Kenneth - Sgt - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. FRASER, Francis James - F/L - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas - F/L - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. NELSON, David - F/S - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. RICHARDSON, Herbert Arthur - F/S - Liberator III - BZ951 - 1673 HCU. SOUTH AFRICA HARDY, Albert - AC2 - serving 25 AS. Malcolm ....Read More.malcolm_raf on 18th November 2013 11:09:49
23/24 Feb 1944 missing, Far EastHi Matt, I just want to say a massive thank you for all this information about BZ951. My wife's great uncle was F/Lt Robert Allitt DFC and bar. We knew he was lost somewhere in the Far East after having fought in the Battle of Britain but none of us knew any of the circumstances. My wife and I visited Kranji Memorial in January 2001. I know that all of the information will be of great interest to my wife and indeed her brother as it is to my young children. Again, many thanks. Oliver [QUOTE=Matt Poole;77752]I'm glad you revived this thread, Colin. Since my last posting I have learned more details to share. The out of print BURMA LIBERATORS books are a valuable source, more so Vol. 2, although there are some baffling flaws and omissions that should have been explained (i.e., missing segment of a squadron's ORB). The books are hard to find, though. Back to BZ951... The following summary is based upon the 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit’s Operations Record Book; information provided to the next-of-kin of one of the casualties by the Air Historical Branch; previous postings in this message thread, and my analysis of wartime maps, a bomb damage assessment report, and Google Earth imagery. B-24 Mark III Liberator BZ951 “Y”, operating with No 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF, took off at 1750 on 23 February 1944 to join two other Liberators of 1673 HCU on an operation to bomb Sinde Dumps, Burma. Sinde was situated on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River about three miles south of the larger town of Prome, which was on the east bank. BZ951 failed to return to base (Salbani, West Bengal, India). The entire 10-man crew were reported missing. They were listed in this order in the Operations Record Book, Form 541 DETAIL OF WORK CARRIED OUT, Appendix “C”, 1673 Heavy Conversion Unit: 40594 F/Lt ALLITT, Robert Edward DFC - PILOT 109364 F/Lt HOUGHTON, Raymond Douglas – PILOT (PASSENGER) 1601738 Sgt FLETCHER, William Kenneth – FLIGHT ENGINEER 66511 F/Lt FRASER, Francis James – NAVIGATOR/BOMB AIMER 1145139 Sgt BOYD, Trevor Barkley – WOP/AIR GUNNER 1104751 W/O BEATEY, Thomas Atkinson – AIR GUNNER 517958 F/Sgt RICHARDSON, Herbert Arthur – AIR GUNNER CAN J.86852 P/O O’DONNELL, Ernest William – AIR GUNNER IND 1791 F/O MERRIMAN, Sydney – NAVIGATOR/BOMB AIMER 533351 F/Sgt NELSON, David - FLIGHT ENGINEER The aircraft had released its bombs on the target, but it “did not identify by W/T” (per the ORB) and was not seen again. (By this, perhaps it was meant that no wireless message of any kind -- including a distress signal -- was received at any time after bombs were released.) An extensive but unsuccessful search was made covering what was thought to be likely areas in the Bay of Bengal in which the aircraft might have forced landed. In June 1946 No 5 Searcher Team, RAF Missing Research & Enquiry Service, found the wreckage at 18° 44' 40" N.Lat, 95° 12' E. Long on a small island in the Irrawaddy River. The nearby village of Kyun-U, also on this ....Read More.Oliver Schofield on 11th November 2015 03:37:45


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