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Liberator KH215 [Royal Air Force Aircraft Serial and Image Database]

 Liberator KH215

B.VI; ex 44-44076; dld Dorval 4.9.44; to India, arr Karachi 10.9.44; 358 Sqn [K]; crashed near Tigen, Burma, 23.1.45 on return from 358 Sqn's first SD operation; crew killed; SOC 22.2.45. 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  22 Jan 45 Aircraft Name  Liberator VI Serial Number  KH215
Unit  358 Sqdn Operating Airfield   Country  
Aircrew details Flt Lt Kenneth Hartle Brailsford* (139520)
Details KH215 was one of three Liberators lost on 358's first Special Duties op to French Indo China, and allegedly at least 2 were shot down by American P- 61 Black Widow night fighters. There was an official coverup, and full details are still lacking. KH215's pilot was 139520 F/Lt Kenneth Hartle Brailsford. Crew of 8 are buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma. KH277 and KH278 were the other two Liberators of 358 Sqn which were lost on this night. The crash site of KH215 is only 11 miles from that of KH277, while KH278 fell in French Indo China far to the east. It is likely that only KH278 was shot down in a friendly fire incident, while KH215 and KH277 crashed due to extreme weather reported over the Chin Hills by other participating 358 Sqn Liberators
Source Matt Poole

Casualities in the CWGC Register for Liberator VI KH215

Rank Name, Number, Trade & Details DateUnit Country Cemetary/Memorial & Loc Ref
Flying OfficerLeslie BLICK (178370) Navigator Liberator KH215   1945-01-22358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
Flight LieutenantKenneth Hartle BRAILSFORD (139520) Pilot Liberator KH215   1945-01-22358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
SergeantJoseph Charles GIBBS (1338318) Wireless Op./Air Gunner Liberator KH215   1945-01-22358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
Warrant OfficerWesley LEAR (1339360) Wireless Op./Air Gunner Liberator KH215   1945-01-22358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
Warrant OfficerGerard Alexander O'TOOLE (1550901) Navigator Liberator KH215   1945-01-22358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
Flying OfficerWalter RUSSELL (J/27639) Pilot Liberator KH215   1945-01-22358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
Warrant OfficerJames Roland SWAIN (1183127) Wireless Op./Air Gunner Liberator KH215   1945-01-22358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
Flying OfficerRobert John WILSON (54992) Air Gunner Liberator KH215   1945-01-22358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery

Related Posts in RAF Commands Forum

ThreadPost TextAuthor
DFC citation for A.S.M. PIM, pilot, 408 SqdnDoes anyone have the wording of the DFC citation for 60566 Anthony Stanley Mortimer PIM? His daughter, who was only 18 months old when he died as a S/Ldr in the Far East in 1945, seeks this information. She said that his main operational squadron had been 408 in Bomber Command, where he flew Hampdens. Also, I have not searched the web yet, but does anyone know if 408 Squadron has an active veterans association? If not, who from 408 is a good point of contact? The daughter seeks contact with anyone who knew her father (knowing that she has left things a bit late!). S/Ldr Pim died as a 358 Squadron Liberator skipper on the night of 22/23 January 1945. He was a Flight Commander. This was 358's first Special Duties op, but things went terribly wrong when S/Ldr Pim's Liberator (KH277) and two others (KH215 and KH278) failed to return from their assigned Drop Zones in French Indo China. Of the eleven Libs sent out to FIC that night, only two were successful in finding their DZs in horrible weather. It turns out that at least two of the three missing aircraft were shot down by USAAF P-61 night fighters. A coverup was ordered at the highest level, and the facts were indeed kept under wraps until USAF Col Peter M. Dunn broke the story in the mid-1980s while researching his doctoral thesis (which later grew into a book, "The First Vietnam War"). He claimed that the Libs were targeted on purpose because of the serious political differences between the US and the UK over post-war FIC, but I have seen no evidence to support this premeditated action. The National Archives at Kew have since released some documents which verify, in general, that at least two of the three Libs were downed by P-61s, and that there was an official coverup. We have yet to learn if S/Ldr Pim's KH277 was a victim of friendly fire, or if weather or another problem was a major factor. Thanks for any help. Matt ....Read More.Matt Poole on 7th December 2007 11:31:56
Crew of AN529, 90 Sqn, force landed 8 Nov 1941I have conflicting information about this aircraft's letter code and crew and am looking for clarification. Per "Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean, Vol 1, 1939-1942": 8 Nov 1941 90 Sqn, Fortress I AN529 X Op: Benghazi F/O Swanson, crew Took off Shallufa to attack Benghazi harbour and shipping. Ran out of fuel and force-landed 128km W of Fort Maddelena. From Air Classics magazine article, Dec 1994: On 26 October, four Fortresses each with two bomb bay tanks flew to Shaluffa, Egypt as 90 Squadron detachment, leaving five in England. Operations began on 8 November, when "C-Charlie." flown by Flying Off. Stevenson and Flt. Sgt. Ken Brailsford, bombed Benghazi in daylight from 20,000 ft. As the bomb bay doors were open throughout the bombing run, the vented hydraulic fluid from the operation of the autopilot swirled up into the bomb bay and froze the lower bomb releases. Tony Barwood. who was on board to experience high-altitude operations during desert conditions, recalls, "It was the passenger's job to be ready with two screwdrivers to manually operate the lower releases if the bombs failed to come off. On this occasion manual release under the direction of the bomb aimer over the intercom was necessary. It did not contribute to the accuracy of the bombing! "There was some flak, which was a shock as we weren't expecting any. Shortly after turning for home the aircraft progressively ran out of fuel; engines 1, 2 and 3 being feathered in turn. The crew prepared to bail out but a convenient wadi came up and Stevenson effectively crash-landed. Apart from some sand in the eyes, nobody was injured." The crew were later picked up by an armored unit of the Long Range Desert Group. +++++++++++++++++++++ Was AN529 coded "X" or "C"? Was the pilot F/O SWANSON or F/O STEVENSON? If the latter is true, then other crew members included 2nd pilot Ken BRAILSFORD and Tony BARWOOD. I just heard from the daughter of Colin BARBER regarding 159 Sqn matters in India, and she mentioned, by chance, that Colin was involved in a Fortress crash in the desert that I think was AN529...but his logbook is missing. He is alive in Ontario, Canada (having emigrated from the UK years ago) and just told his daughter that Canadian Bill STRUTHERS was among those aboard. I have three photos of the prang (no injuries, all rescued), and there were at least eight aboard. It's early in my communication with Colin's daughter, so possibly Colin will be able to provide his own further take on what happened and who was with him. Are there two separate Fortress prangs involved here? I don't think so, based on info found on Joe Baugher's US serial numbers database, on-line. If a 90 Sqn expert, or another, can provide a crew list, I'll be delighted. Some other tidbits to share: STRUTHERS later died with STEVENSON aboard 159 Sqn's Liberator AL526 "G" on 6/7 April 1943 during an op to the Arakan coast, Burma. BRAILSFORD did a tou ....Read More.Matt Poole on 12th April 2009 07:48:07

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