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Thread: Liberator FL974, No.59 Sqn, 07-05-43

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    Default Liberator FL974, No.59 Sqn, 07-05-43

    I have recently been reviewing an number of crashes listed in Cheshire and this aircraft was in with them.

    I checked the ORB and it certainly has the aircraft as being abandoned, in the Blackburn area of Lancashire, and then "crashed in sea N.W. of Ireland",

    The listing in the relevant Air Britain book, abandoned near Crewe, Cheshire (45 miles to the south), should have come from the 1180.

    I haven't seen any that disagree this much from the ORB entry, does anyone else have anything more about the incident to suggest whether it did crash into the sea or on land?

    If it made it to off the N.W. coast of Ireland then it flew around 3-400 miles, that is a long way considering it was abandoned due to shortage of fuel. The t/o time was given as 09:19 and bale out was entered as 01:20.

    Would there have been enough fuel left after 16 hours in strong winds over the Atlantic to cover that sort of distance?
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Hi,

    The detail is:

    Took off for an escort mission to convoy TA41B. Diverted before reaching convoy to Aldergrove then Beaulieu due to a gale at St. Eval but did not acknowledge. At 01:20 hrs the crew abandoned in bad weather near Crewe, Cheshire, leaving the Liberator to crash into the Irish Sea off Barrow, Lancashire.

    Looking at the RNLI Records of Service 1939-46

    MAY 8TH. - BARROW, LANCASHIRE.
    A Liberator aeroplane had been reported down in the sea, but nothing was found.-Rewards, £16 10s.

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Thanks for that Ross, I not sure how the ORB was so far out.

    I guess you probably already have these extracts.

    May 7th 1943, “Liberator Mark V K/FL974

    F/O T.D. Wright (Capt)
    P/O R.N. McCartney (Nav)
    F/S Beauchamp, F.A. (2nd Pilot)
    P/O B.A. Livingston
    P/O H.C.J. Spraggs
    F/S MacKenzie, D.
    F/S Hird, W.

    A/S Escort to TA41B, Up 09:19, Baled Out 01:20

    Operation carried out by aircraft on detachment at St Eval. Recalled before finding convoy on account of gale. Diverted to Aldergrove, then Beaulieu. Aircraft got lost in storm, very heavy static interfering with radio. After reaching prudent limit of endurance, crew bailed out near Blackburn. Captain broke ribs and bone in hand, crew otherwise uninjured.”

    May 7th 1943, “F/O T.D. Wright and crew, in aircraft “K”, on detachment at St Eval, detailed for A/S escort to convoy. Aircraft diverted to Aldergrove on account of gale, but signal not received. At 01.20 hours, crew baled out over Lancashire. Aircraft crashed in sea N.W. of Ireland. Attempts to land at various airfields abortive, due to bad weather conditions.”
    Alan Clark

    Peak District Air Accident Research

    http://www.peakdistrictaircrashes.co.uk/

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    Looking at a thread from December 2008 relating to Liberator FL974, a friend has dug up some information from the Lancs County Records Office. The occupants of the aircraft came down around Stocks Reservoir, north east of Slaidburn. The first five men to leave the aircraft came down just south of the reservoir. Nos. 6 and 7 should have followed shortly but one of them was reluctant to jump and had to be persuaded by the other which meant the aircraft had travelled further west and they came down on Burn Fell. The local Home Guard and men from the water works rounded up the crew and provided them with breakfast and a change of clothes! Later the CO of 59 Sqn wrote to the HG expressing his thanks. The management of the reservoir also re-imbursed the kind soul who had fed the airmen.

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    Thanks for sharing that info on this now quite old thread.

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    Hello,

    No one seems to have pointed out (in this thread), that five members of the crew on Liberator V FL974 were RAAF, namely:

    AUS404070 F/O (Capt./Pilot) Thomas Dewey WRIGHT RAAF (later DFC,MiD) - Injured (broken rib)
    AUS403068 P/O (Nav.) Robert Noel McCARTNEY RAAF
    AUS12336 P/O (W.Op./Air Gnr) Bruce Laird LIVINGSTON RAAF
    AUS403337 F/Sgt (W/O./Air Gnr.) William Frank HIRD RAAF
    AUS411456 F/Sgt (W/Op./Air Gnr.) Donald Cameron MACKENZIE RAAF

    and the second pilot was, R93820 F/Sgt F A BEAUCHAMP RCAF.

    Thomas Wright's DFC citation makes for interesting reading:

    Flying Officer WRIGHT has flown on many hazardous sorties attacking convoys off the enemy coast at mast height, and also participating in a thousand-bomber raid
    More recently as captain of aircraft he has taken part in convoy escorts and his coolness and initiative played a large part in saving the lives of his crew when they were forced to leave their aircraft by parachute at night during a violent gale.
    Throughout his operational career, Flying Officer WRIGHT's devotion to duty and keenness for operational flying has been outstanding.

    The following gives some idea of the conditions on 7 May 1943:

    (The Good fortune of this crew[BZ911 on 10-11-44]) Should be compared with the outcome of 59 Sqn operations from St. Eval on May 7th 1943. Four a/c - B, K, M (Captain: F/O Murray Charlton RAAF) and V/59 set off on operations but were recalled due to deteriorating weather at base. B/59 got into Thorney Island; Charlton in M/59 got into Ballykelly, near Belfast; K/59 tried to get to Northern Ireland, but got lost in nil visibility and the crew baled out safely over Lancashire, while the aircraft is believed to have flown on and gone into the sea north-west of Ireland. V/59 was diverted to Ballykelly. and acknowledged the signal and was never heard from again - intensive air-sea rescue efforts failed to find any trace.

    See:
    Endurance:A History of RAAF Aircrew Participation in Liberator Operations of RAF Coastal Command 1941-1945.
    Jay,Alwyn
    Maryborough (Q'Ld):Banner Books,1996
    p.176

    Can't speak for the others, but all the RAAF airmen (on FL974), became members of the Caterpillar Club.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 28th October 2017 at 00:30.

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