BOAC Liberator II Landing At Prestwick

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The photograph in Post # 285 was one of three published in September 1941. They appeared again in July 1942, together with a fourth which depicts a Liberator taking off from Dorval [below]. All four photos (the other two relate to Hudsons) were credited to the same agency, so it is possible that this fourth one is also from 1941, rather then 1942.

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These are three of the photographs accompanying the article in Post # 282 ("Bomber Ferry" from April 1942) :-

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Here's the other one:

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Thus is a July 1941 report on the Atlantic Ferry service. It comes from an American newspaper that went by the rather splendid name of the PALLADIUM-ITEM.

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Robert,

Thanks for the link. I saw this on TV some time back, maybe on the PBS America channel. Maybe they'll repeat it sometime. It's certainly of interest and well worth seeking out. I seem to recall that a fair part of it was about VanDerKloot flying Churchill to various conferences and other meetings here and there. I also seem to recall trying to find it on DVD around the time it was shown on TV but it was only available as a Region 1 disc.

Thanks again.

Ian

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It's not available in the UK on that Vimeo link...I looked on Youtube searching 'Ferry Command' but there only seem to be trailers for it though plenty of other Ferry Command film. This silent one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfSysf2TEA0 has a less common British type taking off at 3.28 but is otherwise just a mish-mash at Prestwick

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Great bit of footage, longshot. While a few brief seconds here and there looked familiar (perhaps more than one newsreel film crew was there then), that was new to me.

AL636 was delivered to Prestwick on 20 May 1942, which could well suggest the time-frame for the filming, though it looks as though it stayed at Prestwick for over 3 months for modifications, so that sequence could have been staged any time over that summer. I can fairly comment that, having lived less than a mile from Prestwick airport for a number of years, some of the weather in the film is not unknown in summer there but it does look more autumnal than that in places..

Thanks for posting it.

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When I checked, there was a bit more familiar footage than I had remembered. Here's the Path News version, shorter than the Brtish Movietone newsreel but with a soundtrack:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAGDxzC71-Y

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I've been out visiting since just after I posted the Pathe News newsreel but I got a couple of stills of the aircraft in question from the film. They're down below.

At 5.35 - 5.37, it looks like the same aircraft appears crossing right to left, as seen from inside the the tower.

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What is that white or bright panel on the rear fuselage, aft of the roundel? The interior shot from the tower shows the Botha flying right to left, which is likely to be from south-east to north-west (roughly) at Prestwick. Maybe, it is a reflection of the sun. Did any Bothas have anything, or get fitted with anything, in that position that might reflect the sun?

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Many of the Bothas (and other aircraft) on second line duties had numeric aircraft numbers, usually applied in white, rather than more 'conventional' squadron codes. I think that might be what we're looking at.

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That sounds very likely to me. I wonder if any photos of Bothas marked in this way exist. And which unit would be operating a Botha thus marked and likely to be flying in, out and/or around Prestwick in 1942, I wonder?

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Bothas were built at Dumbarton, although I don't know where they flew from after assembly. I know of bases at Squires Gate Blackpool and MIllom Cumbria, and there were Coastal OTUs on the west coast of Scotland, so an overfly of Prestwick is well within their reach. A quick Google brought up a few photos, although the only one with numeric codes had them before the roundel. The most common photos are of 1.M and 1.F, with the code aft of the roundel on the port side of the fuselage.

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No.3 Radio School, with Bothas, was based at Prestwick throughout 1942.

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No 3 RS was formed in 1940 including 9 Bothas on strength for ASV training, including L6078 coded L6. It became N. 2 Radio Direction Finding School in August 19452, moving to Hooton Park in December.

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Thank you, both. Getting responses such as yours is something I really appreciate. Thanks again.

Let me try another question. What are those 'markings' at the rear of the Liberator in this still from the newsreel posted earlier by longshot?

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That appears to be "36". I don't know precisely when and where this is, but for a while some of the BOAC / AtFerO LB.30s in similar paint had the last two of their military serial painted in various places, in white, in about that style and size, with the extreme nose and tail being the favourite spots. However, BOAC didn't (formally) have ownership of an LB.30 with the last two "36", and the two options, AL536 and AL636 don't have any connection with the Ferry that I've unearthed (other than that they must have been ferried over at least once!) Difficult to be certain, but that rear fairing does look like one of the very early 'turrets' with the glazing at the top, which I think would make this a Mk.I Liberator. I wonder if this is actually AM263 - I grant you it's a bit of a stretch of the imagination, but it wouldn't be the only known case of someone painting two digits in the wrong order...