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Liberator KH312 [Royal Air Force Aircraft Serial and Image Database]

 Liberator KH312

B.VI; ex 44-44183; dld Dorval 16.10.44; to India, arr Mauripur 31.10.44; 358 Sqn [X]; 2 engines lost on SD mission 1.5.45; ditched at night 30 mls (48 km) SW of Cheduba Island; 4 killed, 5 survivors picked up by Catalina of US 7th ERS; SOC 31.5.45. 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  01 May 45 Aircraft Name  Liberator VI Serial Number  KH312
Unit  358 Sqdn Operating Airfield   Country  
Aircrew details Flt Lt Richard William Robinson (51159)
Details 0745 takeoff, approx. 51159 F/Lt Richard William Robinson, the skipper, was experienced, with 2500 flying hours in his logbook. Nine-man crew. Returning from a Special Duties op over enemy territory, No. 1 engine failed at approx 2230 hrs; it was feathered. About 45 minutes later No. 4 engine began to display symptoms of bearing failure and had to be feathered about 30 minutes later. An attempt to reach Cox's Bazaar was made, but although the aircraft maintained height on two engines, the successive engine failures caused a very high fuel consumption. At about 0010 hrs on 1 May the aircraft's position was established as being off the tip of Cheduba Island. With a definite position known, F/Lt Robinson made the decision to ditch. The Liberator's altitude by this time was insufficient for a bailout, and the pilot could not climb to gain a safe height for abandoning the aircraft by parachute. An additional reason for ditching was the fact that although the aircraft could have made Kyaukpyu, Burma (1925'36" N, 9332'05" E) for an attempted landing, there was some doubt as to whether a landing strip existed at that location. (There was, indeed, a strip there which was considered unsuitable at all times for Liberators, but it had emergency night landing facilities). After an SOS was sent out and acknowledged, and after the crew had taken up ditching positions, a slightly nose-down ditching was made in calm seas (slight swell) at approx 0030 hrs on 1 May at 1838' N, 9330' E with moonlight visible through thin clouds. The fuselage broke open in mid-bomb bay. F/Lt Robinson (with an axe) and 28286 F/O Rothney Alex Carter RAAF (2nd pilot) were seen on the wing root trying to extricate one crewman (thought to be 165575 F/O Walter Henry Bull), but the effort had to be abandoned. The dinghies failed to deploy from their upper fuselage compartments. 636459 F/Sgt Thomas Frederick Courtney Clark was seen alive after the ditching, but he, F/Lt Robinson, and F/O Bull apparently did not make it to shore. Details of the recovery of the survivors is unclear, but two were admitted to 95 IGH (hospital), Akyab circa 1600 on 1 May and three were admitted to 125 IGH, Ramree on 1 May. F/O Carter (95 IGH) died of multiple contusions and exposure on 2 May. The four other survivors suffered non-severe injuries. 1877098 F/Sgt Albert James Burling is listed as dying as a result of injuries. He and F/O Carter are buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma, while the bodies of F/Lt Robinson, F/O Bull, and F/Sgt Clark were never recovered.
Source Matt Poole

Casualities in the CWGC Register for Liberator VI KH312

Rank Name, Number, Trade & Details DateUnit Country Cemetary/Memorial & Loc Ref
Flying OfficerWalter Henry BULL (165575) Liberator KH312  Ext Link 1945-05-01358 Sqdn AIR27 SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight SergeantAlbert James BURLING (1877098) Air Gunner Liberator KH312  Ext Link 1945-05-01358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
Flying OfficerRothney Alex CARTER (28286) Liberator KH312   1945-05-02358 Sqdn AIR27 MyanmarTaukkyan War Cemetery
Flight SergeantThomas Frederick Courtney CLARKE (636459) Liberator KH312  Ext Link 1945-05-01358 Sqdn AIR27 SingaporeSingapore Memorial
Flight LieutenantRichard William ROBINSON (51159) Liberator KH312  Ext Link 1945-05-01358 Sqdn AIR27 SingaporeSingapore Memorial

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