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Thread: B-24 identification

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    Default B-24 identification

    I am trying to identify two B-24s. They appear to be in Coastal Command colours of overall white with grey uppersurfaces. One has a bulldog with a bowler hat and cigar in its mouth on the nose, the other has a kangaroo wearing a 'Digger' hat and boxing gloves on the nose. Any ideas of unit, serial numbers and codes?

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    Tom,

    Both of these Liberators served in the Far East with No.159/160 Sqns.

    Is this your 'Kangaroo with "Slouch Hat" and boxing gloves' Liberator?

    http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/P02366.001

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 10th June 2012 at 03:37.

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    Default Kangaroo

    Hi Col,

    Yes the Kangaroo is the one. Thanks. You don't happen to know which of the 2 squadrons it was with and its serial number?

    Yours

    Tom

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    Default Bulldog

    Found more info on the Bulldog B-24 on the AWM website. Also photographed at Agra, India, still need confirmation of Sqn and serial though.

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    Tom,

    Can't help with precise Squadron/serial for 'Kangaroo" Liberator.

    I also have a shot of the "Bulldog" Liberator, with the following caption:

    This bulldog emblem was carried on No.159 Squadron Liberator Mk. III FL938*, with Battle Letter 'V' while stationed in New Delhi, India. She was equipped with a Boulton-Paul tail turret. (Photo via USAF Museum).

    The photo shows the bulldog emblem, and the aircraft being guarded by an armed Sikh.

    *The caption can't be right - No.224 Sqn Liberator GR.V FL938, was shot down over the Bay of Biscay by Ju88s on 2-9-1943! (Possibly No.160 Sqn Liberator III FL939/M, shot down 22-9-1943, on PR mission to Car Nicobar Islands).

    Ref:
    Liberator:America's Global Bomber.
    Lloyd,Alwyn T.
    Missoula:Pictorial Histories Publishing Co.,1993.
    p.382

    AWM "Bulldog" shot (same aircraft, different shot), here: http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/P02366.002

    Where are you when we need you, Matt?

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 10th June 2012 at 11:59.

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    Default Bulldog

    Hi Col,

    I think I will go with your 160 Sqn serial and code for now.

    Thanks

    Tom

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    Hi, gents,

    The 160 Sqn Association folks and researcher Robert Quirk, a 160 Sqn expert, came to the conclusion that FL936 "V" carried the nose art of a bulldog with the cigar and wearing a bowler hat. I agree. Photo P02366.002 of the Australian War Memorial (which Col brought to our attention) is an April 1943 photo of just the nose art, on the starboard forward fuselage. The book "The B-24 Liberator" by Allan G. Blue has a 1943 full starboard-side photo of this same Lib, although I can only make out "FL" of the serial number. The letter code "V" is clearly visible on the fuselage in the Blue book. In both the AWM and Blue photos the Lib is painted in a typical GR paint scheme: 2-tone camouflaged upper surfaces, all else white (or I think it's white...).

    Complicating the picture slightly is a photo on page 184 of James D. Oughton's "The Liberator in Royal Air Force and Commonwealth Service" from Sept 1944 which shows a port-side view of FL936. There is no nose art, and the entire fuselage is painted azure blue, per the caption. The fuselage letter code is slightly obscured, but what I see definitely looks like a "V". The 160 Sqn ORB just happens to explain the paint job, though, with this 28 Aug 1944 entry:

    "V" FL936 W/C Brady to China Bay for this A/C to be painted blue for reinforcement to the P.R. detachment.

    Nothing about nose art, though!

    As for the kangaroo nose art...I know of two SEAC Libs, both probably from 160 Sqn, which were adorned with separate kangaroo-with-slouch hat motifs. I am uncertain of either's serial number.

    Col noted item P02366.001 of the Australian War Memorial, showing the kangaroo with boxing gloves and slouch hat. This image was taken by the same photographer who shot the bulldog image (P02366.002) at the same time, and same place (Agra, India, as Tom noted). Because P02366.002 is linked to 160 Sqn, I am guessing that image P02366.001 is of a 160 Sqn Lib, as well. Just a guess. One ex-160 Sqn veteran, in an old 160 Sqn Assn newsletter, thought that a Lib had the bulldog nose art on one side and a kangaroo on the other -- which could mean that images 001 and 002 are of the same Lib (FL936 "V"). Another veteran, in the same newsletter, who flew several times on FL936 "V", could remember no bulldog nose art and believed that a viking was painted on the nose! So...more evidence is needed.

    I don't know if 160 Sqn's FL938 -- suggested by Col as a possible serial number for the bulldog Lib -- carried nose art. I'm in touch with the niece of the skipper lost in the downing of FL938, but she has no photos. There is a photo of the starboard side of FL938 "M" on pg 185 of the Oughton Lib book, and with a magnifying glass I can tell that there is no nose art on this side. But the port side??? A mystery, I'm afraid.

    The second, unique kangaroo nose art is seen in two images in the Australian War Memorial database: SEA0272 and SEA0273. This kangaroo, hopping, does not have boxing gloves, as in the other roo artwork. Below the kangaroo is a boomerang. Both SEA images are circa 1945 and the captions note that the Lib is of the "Indian Ocean Air Force". This links the Lib to a Far East general reconnaissance Lib squadron, such as 160. The 0272 image's caption lists an RAAF airman who, in the on-line Aus. WWII nominal roll database, is linked to 160 Sqn. The 0273 image's caption lists four RAAF airmen, and three of the four are linked to 160 Sqn in the same Aus. WWII nominal roll. I would conclude, then, that this Lib, serial unknown, was from 160 Sqn, just like the earlier kangaroo Lib.

    I know I've seen another photo of one of the kangaroo nose art Libs, in a book or magazine story, but I can't seem to find the source right now.

    Definitely neither of the kangaroo Libs nor the bulldog Lib served with 159 Sqn. And definitely the serial number listed in the caption of the Alwyn Lloyd Lib book, FL938, is wrong by two digits, and also Lloyd's mark for the Lib in the photo should be GR.III, not GR.V. Col's info on FL938 being a GR.V shot down over the Bay of Biscay agrees with what I have for that serial.

    As for codes, in general, Tom, you probably know that 159 and 160 Sqns did not have two-letter squadron codes, nor did they have any unique tail markings denoting the squadron. Four Lib squadrons in the Far East did have a unique rudder identifier: 99, 215, 355, and 356.

    Regards,

    Matt
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 11th June 2012 at 01:21. Reason: Better acknowledging previously posted info by Col and Tom!

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    Hello Matt,

    Re: the "Bulldog" Liberator:

    On p.201 of Geoffrey J. Thomas', Eyes for the Phoenix, there is a colour (port), side-view (No.35) of Liberator FL936:'V'. The caption (on p.251), reads:

    PAGE 201 - No.35:

    Consolidated Liberator GR.IIIA, FL936, 'V', of No.160 Squadron. Temperate Sea Scheme uppersurfaces, White undersurfaces, in accordance with AM instructions of August 1941. Delivered wearing Home Base national markings, these were later modified into SEAC-style fuselage roundels by overpainting the Red and White portions light blue and covering the Yellow by White. Fin flashes were also modified. Upperwing roundels should have been 48in dia. Aircraft letter and serial appear to be Night. A Churchillian-faced bulldog wearing a bowler hat and chewing a cigar appeared on the starboard nose, just above the DTD paint scheme marking (DTD C 308).

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 11th June 2012 at 03:12.

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    Default Bulldog

    Hi Col and Matt,

    Thanks for all the info provided. Col's last post with:

    Consolidated Liberator GR.IIIA, FL936, 'V', of No.160 Squadron. Temperate Sea Scheme uppersurfaces, White undersurfaces, in accordance with AM instructions of August 1941. Delivered wearing Home Base national markings, these were later modified into SEAC-style fuselage roundels by overpainting the Red and White portions light blue and covering the Yellow by White. Fin flashes were also modified. Upperwing roundels should have been 48in dia. Aircraft letter and serial appear to be Night. A Churchillian-faced bulldog wearing a bowler hat and chewing a cigar appeared on the starboard nose, just above the DTD paint scheme marking (DTD C 308).

    seems to tie in with Matt's post of:

    One ex-160 Sqn veteran, in an old 160 Sqn Assn newsletter, thought that a Lib had the bulldog nose art on one side and a kangaroo on the other -- which could mean that images 001 and 002 are of the same Lib (FL936 "V").

    However, it seems there will always be an element of confusion such as:

    Another veteran, in the same newsletter, who flew several times on FL936 "V", could remember no bulldog nose art and believed that a viking was painted on the nose!

    Until somone comes up with a definitive answer I tend toward the roo one side bulldog the other camp!

    Thanks guys.

    Tom

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    Excellent find, Col -- the "Eyes For The Phoenix" color plate. Despite my owning a copy, I missed this, but once you posted I went back to the book and, lo and behold, there is a photo of FL936 "V" on pg 58 -- the same image printed in the Allan G. Blue Lib book. For the sake of completeness, here is the "Eyes For The Phoenix" photo caption:

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

    Liberator GR.IIIA FL936, 'V' of 160 Sqn in Temperate Sea Scheme with White undersides which flew PR sorties over Sumatra and Malaya from Sigiriya in 1943. Note the bulldog emblem on the nose.

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

    The color plate shows the port side with NO nose art depicted, although we clearly know that the starboard side carried the bulldog art. Hmmm...author Geoffrey J. Thomas, where are you, and how did you come up with the port-side profile? From a photo?

    Tom, the evidence of any nose art painted on the port side of FL936 is vague, at best. A bit more, per issue 17 of the 160 Sqn Assn newsletter [my comments in brackets]:

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

    [In the following, the "I" is Jim Jackson, ex-160 Sqn.]

    . . . the Mk. Ill Liberator on the Association letterhead, FL936 "V", was my assigned PR aircraft in "C" Flight, and my log-book tells me I took her over Sumatra nine times. But there is a bit of a latter day mystery about FL936.

    The last time I flew "V" was April 21, 1945 and just a little short of 56 years later I'd found a damn near identical model produced in China and imported by the Canadian subsidiary of a giant American retail chain! The mystery was a little too thick and a little too personal to let lie, so I emailed Robert Quirk. Robert, who modestly denies being an expert although he seems to know more about 160 than anyone, says his sources reveal a certain amount of confusion about FL936 "V". He knows the USAF photographed the aircraft at Delhi, and there is a book with an artist's impression (which he has emailed me) bearing the "wrong" serial number FL938 and the top-hatted cigar smoking bulldog logo which graces both the letterhead "V" and the model. [This reference is to the erroneous Alwyn T. Lloyd photo caption.] He believes the Chinese probably copied the book's impression for their model. He has also seen the aircraft identified with 159 Sqdn.

    There's only one item that still bothers me, which may be simply the product of failing memory, and that is the bowler-hatted cigar-smoking Churchillian bulldog logo. I don't remember its being on the "V" I flew. It seems to me at one point there was a marvellous Viking on the nose, but I don't remember the bulldog. So the mystery is to some extent still with me. But I do remember "V" was a splendid kite to fly; the Mk Ills were so admirably nimble compared to their successors! (Jim Jackson).

    (Editor's note: After comparing notes with Robert Quirk we are near enough certain that in the book the Larry Davis [Larry Davis?? Not mentioned elsewhere in the newsletter. Must be a typo, probably meant to be Jim Jackson.] "V" is 936 and not 938. . .)

    Frank Green who worked on "V" remembers that the logo was painted on by rear gunner Joe Baker (Ben Hall's crew) and we have heard that there may have been a painting of a kangaroo on the other side.

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

    And a correction to the Joe Baker-as-artist statement was printed in issue 20:

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

    "Bulldog 'V' FL 936": It is still cropping up and Ted Daines advises that he now learns that it was not 'Kiwi' Baker (Air Gunner with Dixie Dean) who did the painting - it appears that the painter was Joe Stokes.

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

    Final thoughts for now. It is possible that FL936, a long-serving Lib on 160 Sqn known to have been completely repainted soon after 28 Aug 1944 (per the ORB), went through nose art variations that, in addition to the known starboard-side bulldog, may have included...a viking...a kangaroo...and certainly no nose art at all. Jim Jackson, for example, last flew "V" on 21 April 1945 -- two years after the bulldog photo P02366.002 was taken -- so maybe his recollections are accurate for his period of flying FL936.

    A friend in the UK sent me a magic wand not long ago as a joke. I think I'll wave it over my Lib books and hope that new, telltale photos will simply materialize, to clear up our various mysteries associated with this thread...

    Cheers,

    Matt

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