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Liberator  EV843 [Royal Air Force Aircraft Serial and Image Database] RAFCommands.com

 Liberator  EV843


B.VI; ex 42-64148; dld Dorval 13.12.43; dep Dorval 24.12.43, via Lagens, arr Karachi 31.12.43; 159 Sqn [E]; SOC (reason unknown) 30.6.44. 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 02 Apr 44 Aircraft Name Liberator VI Serial Number EV843
Unit 159 Sqdn Operating Airfield Country
Aircrew details Flt Lt John Gauntlett
Details Shot up by Ki-43 attacking from rear, over Rangoon, on night of 1/2 Apr 44. Seriously damaged, rear gunner killed by bullet to head. EV843 took violent evasive action and escaped the fighter after dropping from 10,000 ft to 800. Port inner engine out, no hydraulics, gas tanks hit and petrol pouring into the bomb bays. Crashed at Chittagong, India now in Bangladesh at a forward airfield on the eastern shore of the upper Bay of Bengal; the Lib could not make it all the way home due to the fighter damage. Written off after hitting a brick wall with no brakes. No further injuries. Pilot: F/Lt John Gauntlett, on his last-scheduled op of his 159 Sqn tour. His longtime rear gunner, 1314663 F/Sgt Cyril "Willie" Kirby, had already completed his tour of ops but had volunteered to fly on 1 April as an expression of loyalty to his much admired skipper. Kirby yelled "Fighter, rear!" and immediately took a bullet to the head. After exiting the crashed EV843, Gauntlett cried in anguish over Kirby's death. Kirby is buried in Grave 6.E.4, Chittagong War Cemetery, Bangladesh. Very likely EV843 was attacked by 204th Sentai ace Hiroshi Takiguchi, who claimed three Libs shot down that night; only EV843 and two other Libs from 159 (EV870 and BZ960) were attacked by fighters that night, with EV843 and EV870 written off after landing accidents.
Source Matt Poole

Casualities in the CWGC Register for Liberator VI EV843

Rank Name, Number, Trade & Details DateUnit Country Cemetary/Memorial & Loc Ref
Flight SergeantCyril KIRBY (1314663) Air Gunner Liberator EV843   1944-04-01159 Sqdn AIR27 BangladeshChittagong War Cemetery


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Related Posts in RAF Commands Forum

ThreadPost TextAuthor
EV870 Liberator V1 Alipore CalcuttaDear Chris, Prior to reading your plea, I'd just spent the previous hour (no lie) digging through old letters, dating back to 1991, by EV870 T crewmen & crash survivors Elwyn Jones and Jack Dey. The reason I was doing this was because this past week I'd made contact with the daughter of another crewmate who survived the crash, RAAF 2nd Wop/AG Arthur Robert O'Malley. And Friday afternoon I'd listened to my taped conversation with the man at the controls of EV870 on 2 April - Raymond Quaife. I was about to quit and go to bed when I decided to do a sweep of internet favorite sites, including RAF Commands...and your plea was awaiting my prying eyes. It's a very strange, and pleasant, coincidence! On the night of 1/2 April ten B-24 Liberators of RAF 159 Squadron attacked Kemmendine Rail Station, located on the west side of Rangoon. It was a difficult op, with very active searchlights, antiaircraft fire, and multiple attacks by one or more night fighters in the Rangoon vicinity. Three Liberators were damaged by fighter gunfire, two so severely that they never flew again after limping homeward and crash landing at Allied airfields. In addition to several airmen with minor injuries suffered in the crashes, one gunner was killed and three others wounded during the fighter attacks. Japanese Army Air Force 204th Sentai ace Hiroshi Takiguchi claimed three Liberators over Rangoon on this night. 159 Squadron's Libs were the only ones on ops that night, so certainly Takiguchi participated in the attacks. The evidence is muddy as to whether he was the sole attacker. Takiguchi's bio in the Hata/Izawa/Shores book "Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and their Aces 1931 - 1945" says that flying alone on the night of 1/2 April, he claimed three B-24s over Rangoon. I also have a Japanese newspaper story which, briefly, mentions his three victories this night. The three Libs that were hit: EV843 E -- rear gunner killed in fighter attack, aircraft took evasive action & was written off in crash at Chittagong. BZ960 V -- survived night fighter attack which injured rear gunner. Made it back to base (Digri, W. Bengal, India) with Category I damage. EV870 T -- details below: Having absorbed a night fighter attack over Rangoon, EV870 T (erroneously noted as BZ870 T in squadron records wherever the full serial was given) remained airborne but could not reach its home field at Digri. Upon touchdown at Alipore (Calcutta), 65 miles from Digri, a battle-damaged landing gear collapsed and the Liberator crashed in a spectacular heap. There was no fire. All crewmen survived the fighter attack and the subsequent accident. No detailed damage assessment report for this bomber is found today in the 159 Squadron records, but in another report EV870s damage was deemed Category III: damaged beyond repair, never to fly again. The combat report for EV870 T, from 159's Operations Record Book: A/C T crash landed at ALIPORE. Two of cre ....Read More.Matt Poole on 7th June 2008 05:46:30
Cat.III accidentOff the top of my head, I know of one instance of Cat. III usage on 159 Squadron in the Far East. The 159 Squadron ORB rates two Liberator prangs as Cat. III (Roman numerals) following Oscar night fighter attacks over Rangoon on the night of 1/2 April 1944. I have five good photos of one of the wrecks (EV870 T), and it was a total write-off at Alipore -- a Calcutta airfield. I have a poor photocopy of the crumpled forward fuselage of the second one (EV843 "E"), and it definitely was an unrepairable mess at the more remote airfield at Chittagong. A third Liberator damaged by a fighter that night (BZ960 V) is rated Cat. I. Matt ....Read More.Matt Poole on 30th October 2011 10:42:07


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