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Thread: Liberator serial BZ978

  1. #11
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    Thanks, Graham.
    Late November/early December is what I would have expected. Now I think about it, there is another Liberator in the photo, the wing of which is framing the upper part of image.
    Kind regards:
    Robert

  2. #12
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    Hello Graham,

    Well from what you have in your reply on July 1st (reply 6) it would look as though my list is not 100% correct .

    Some numbers are close but not "on the button".

    I have an e-mail address of yours but do not know if it is up to date.

    I will try to forward the details to you via that address.

    Also I will forward it to Ross so that he may if he wishes place it in this thread, I am afraid I do not know how too.

    All the best

    Alex

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    Alex: Use the email facility of the board, it is pointing to the right address. Thanks.

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    Hello Graham,

    E-mail sent to you.

    Alex

  5. #15
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    "One died in Rangoon jail".
    This was F/Sgt Harry F. RICHARDSON - RCAF R/184955, who died 28-1-1944 and his name commemorated column 444 of the Singapore Memorial.

  6. #16
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    Thanks for adding Harry Richardson's name, Henk. In a rush, I had failed to mention names.

    The "Circumstantial Report" on the loss of BZ978 / W for Winnie follows. I have not yet cross-referenced service numbers with the CWGC Debt of Honour Register. The two surviving crewmen/Rangoon Jail POWs were Hill and Roper.

    Regards,

    Matt

    ++++++++++

    To: B.P.O. A.C.S.E.A.
    Date: 2nd November, 1944. Ref: 1898/S.402/24/P.1.

    CIRCUMSTANTIAL REPORT ON LIBERATOR "W" 978 - MISSING FROM OPERATIONS
    ON THE MORNING OF 6th OCTOBER. 1944

    Herewith circumstantial report on the above aircraft as required.

    I. CIRCUMSTANCES. Liberator "W" 978 was detailed, together with fifteen other aircraft of this Squadron, to carry out a low level dawn attack on the Bangkok-Lampang Railway line from UTTARADIT to BHANPAJII; locomotives were the primary target with opportunity targets along the railway line as the secondary.

    2. The crew consisted of:-

    1550526 W/O McKinnon J. - Capt.
    1338538 F/Sgt. Roper L.G. - 2nd Pilot.
    A. 416627 W/O Swan C.S. - Nav. [Australian]
    A. 420172 W/O Ford E.P. - W/Op. [Australian]
    1891770 Sgt. Hill S - F/Eng.
    A. 423854 Sgt. Nelson - Beam Gunner. [Australian]
    1345502 F/Sgt. Paterson W.N. - Upper Gnr.
    R.184955 F/Sgt. Richardson H.F. - Tail Gnr. [Canadian]

    3. The bomb load consisted of 15 x 100 lb. G.P. U.S. bombs fused 8 - 11 seconds tail delay and armed with spikes. The aircraft carried 2650 Imp. gallons of fuel which brought its all up weight to 62000 lbs. and gave it an endurance of approximately 18 hours.

    4. The aircraft took off from Digri as briefed at 23.33 hrs. 5.10.44. The weather en route and over the target was good apart from small patches of low stratus, and all aircraft were able to map read easily and to identify the railway line without difficulty.

    5. The three other aircraft which were on the same section of the line as Liberator "W" attacked between 05.25 and 06.18 hrs. at heights varying from 100 to 500 ft.

    6. Liberator "W" 978 failed to return to base.

    II. SIGNALS RECEIVED.

    1. At 08.10 hours Liberator "W" broadcast "S.O.S. S.O.S." followed by "333" to which Base Control at Digri replied by asking if they had any further message.

    2. At about this time another aircraft of this Squadron who were receiving the signals very loud and clear, thinking that they were in the vicinity passed an approximate position of 15 00'N. 95 00'E.

    3. At 08.37 hrs. R.A.F. Salboni gave a second class Q.D.M. of 315 deg.

    4. At 08.45 hrs. Liberator "W" 978 called Digri with the following message "Trying CHITTAGONG - Two engines u/s. Height 5000' A.S.I. 140 [Air Speed Indicator 140 MPH] D. 360 deg [Direction 360 degrees, or due north]".

    5. At 09.09 hours it called again with "Unable to receive due to heavy interference".

    6. Finally at 09.20 hrs. it sent the following message which Digri received "Attacked by two fighters over target, one dead, three wounded". This message ceased at 09.25 hours and was the last transmission heard.

    7. At 09.34 hrs. Digri sent a message asking for the aircraft's position but no contact was made.

    8. At 10.30 hrs. Digri ceased listening on night frequency for any further messages.

    9. It is stressed that no signals were received from Liberator "W" indicating that it was in any trouble until the signal advising that it had two engines out. These were most probably damaged in the attack carried out by the two enemy fighters.

    III. AIR-SEA RESCUE SEARCH.

    1. A.S.R. Search was immediately instituted by aircraft of No. 224 Grp. at 15 00'N 95 00'E, the position at which the Liberator was believed to have ditched.

    2. The search was continued throughout the day of 6th October and aircraft of Strategic Air Force were sent out on the night of the 6/7th October.

    3. From then on, until the evening of the 13th October, a continuous search was made during which aircraft of the S.A.F. carried out 83 sorties involving 341 hours flying.

    4. The following results were achieved:-

    (a) On the night of the 6/7th Oct., pyrotechnics and flashing lights were seen at 18 30'N 92 30'E; the latter were believed to come from a dinghy radio, but no dinghy was seen.

    (b) On the 7th October, a dinghy was sighted at position 18 55'N, 92 22'E and reported to S.A.F. by W/T.

    (c) On the 9th October at 16.07 hrs. a dinghy was sighted momentarily at position 18 25' N, 93 05' E and in the evening it was sighted again in much the same position.

    (d) This was the last sighting and since then there has been no further news of either the aircraft, the crew or the dinghy.

    5. On every occasion on which the dinghy was sighted it was reported as being a dirty gray colour and on two occasions as being occupied by three personnel. All the dinghies of this unit are checked regularly and are a bright yellow colour on the top and a pale blue on the under surface. It can only be assumed that if the dinghy sighted was actually one of the Liberators, then either it was upside down or it was polluted with oil. It was only seen in very quick glimpses and my own view is that it was not one of those for which search was being made.

    IV.

    1. This was W/O McKinnon's last sortie before completing his operational tour. He was an extremely capable and experienced pilot and I am certain that he did everything within his power to save both his aircraft and his crew.

    2. The whole crew have been posted missing.

    (signed J. BLACKBURN)

    Wing Commander Commanding
    No. 159 Squadron, R.A.F.

  7. #17
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    Thanks Matt for this very detailed response.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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