BOAC Liberator II Landing At Prestwick

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To return for a moment to BOAC fleet numbers, the attached list was published in mid-January 1944 but was compiled in late 1943, as explained in the next paragraph. Compared with the March 1945 fleet list [see Post # 392], it excludes “about a dozen trainers” but does include the three Lodestars owned by the Norwegian Government, namely G-AGDD, G-AGDE and G-AGEI.

The inclusion of Lodestar G-AGDE, which was lost over the North Sea on 17 December 1943, returning on a flight from Stockholm, shows that the list was compiled at least a month before publication, possibly in early December 1943.

By my count, there are 107 aircraft listed but perhaps the most interesting aspect is the change in aircraft types compared with the list that resulted from Tony Doyle’s researches (see Post # 367].

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This chart attempts to show the changes in BOAC’s fleet during the course of 1943.

Tony Doyle's research, as already presented in Post # 367 of this thread, is shown in the columns on the left. The numbering system used in Post 367 is preserved but the aircraft types not operated by BOAC at all in 1943 are now omitted. The training aircraft in the January 1943 list (the Oxfords and the Beechcraft) were not included in the December 1943 fleet list. Their omission from the December list does not indicate that BOAC had ceased their use, only that the later list is limited to service aircraft.

The column on the right is based on the BOAC fleet list that was published in early 1944 and included in Post # 406.

The principal changes are as follows:-

[1] Six aircraft types operated in the early part of 1943 are not in use by BOAC at the end of the year. Shown in italics to the right of the right-hand column, they are the Whitleys, the CW20, the Frobishers, the Hudsons, the Wellingtons and the Catalinas.

[2} The most notable change is the introduction of Dakotas to the fleet - 20 in all

[3] In terms of increased numbers of aircraft types that appear in both lists, there are four additional Mosquitos (for the Stockholm Run) and seven additional Sunderlands.

[4] The changes in the Liberator fleet probably need more analysis.

The remaining changes in the BOAC fleet during 1943 are perhaps less significant in terms of the aircraft types flown and their numbers.

Please feel free to add flesh to these bones. Comments and/or corrections would be most welcome.

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In the previous post, i wrote that the change in the number of Liberators in the BOAC fleet during the course of 1943 needed further analysis. The position in respect of Liberator II fleet is particularly troublesome, with different sources giving different information.

The situation in respect of the Mark III Liberators is more straightforward but not without the odd difficulty, as in the next paragraph..

The BOAC fleet for late 1943, as given in Post # 406, includes five Liberator IIIs, namely G-AGFN, G-AGFO, G-AGFP, G-AGFR and G-AGFS. My difficulty relates to the beginning of the year, however,when it is stated that BOAC had two aircraft in the Liberator III category. G-AGFN had been available since the end of 1942, so presumably is one of these two, but, since the other four were apparently not ready until much later in 1943, which is the second?.

Can anyone help me with this?

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This is a BOAC advertisement placed in a British newspaper in January 1941. “BRITISH AIRWAYS” is proclaimed prominently and is included in the body of the text, while "British Overseas Airways Corporation”, as can be seen, appears almost as a footnote... The 'Speedbird' is shown circling the globe.

To show the whole advert in a legible form would require a large file, so I have typed up the text of the advert as close to the layout in the original as possible.

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","data-attachmentid":3869062}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"large","data-attachmentid":3869063}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"large","data-attachmentid":3869064}[/ATTACH]

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Very interesting to see both names in one notice and British Airways most prominent...no doubt raised a few ex-Imperial blood pressures!

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Apologies for being late into this discussion but I came across the thread and joined the forum especially as I had some information that I thought may contribute but the old platform would never let me create a post. As time has gone on the thread has developed so this harks back to posts made around page 9.
The background is that my late father-in-law was a radio operator with ATFERO/Ferry Command/ATC from 1941 to 1946 and this naturally spurred some interest in me in an organisation i had not heard of before. Particularly as he claimed that he was at Ayr and saw the AL260 crash and that he was meant to be a passenger but was bumped off to allow Arthur Purvis head of British Purchasing in the USA for Beaverbrook to travel as a VIP.
A number of claims seem to have been made about the cuase of the crash and who was bumped off. References to this crash in "Taffy" Powell's book 'Ferryman' are confused and has AL261 and AL260 crashes in the wrong order and the best record seemed to be in 'Ocean Bridge' by Carl Christie but he relates a version told by Henry Flory that the pilot Captain Stafford was upset as his wife had been bumped off. I contacted Carl Christie and he put me in touch with a Ian Davis in the UK who has conducted a great deal of research on RFS (most of which is lodged in the RAF Museum Library at Hendon). There is some evidence that supports my F-i-L in that the family records had retained his passport from the time and he has an embarkation stamp dated the day of the crash but he didn't actually leave the UK to return to Canada until September by boat. Ian kindly shared part of his original source material which included flight record cards from the Directorate of history and Heritage (DHH) in Canada who retain the Ferry Command archives. Among the documents are three accident reports for the three crashes that happened in August 1941 so I thought they may be of interest to the wider readership of this thread. Unfortunately the Scottish Air accidents site referred to in an earlier post seems to have been hacked so I cannot see if these are duplicates of information already linked, if so apologies for duplication if so.

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Another interesting post I saw some connection to was about BOAC trials for air refuelling in early 1948. Ian wrote
"AL522 later became G-AHYD, but was used for spares before being restored and, in September 1947, Scottish Aviation began to convert it for in-flght refuelling trials. BOAC was anxious to emulate BSAA in this regard. These trials took place between February and May 1948. BOAC had also acquired some TCA Lancastrians or Lancasters for this purpose. I imagine that the literature on the subject will provide more details as to where these trials took place. Flight Refuelling Limited didn’t move to Tarrant Rushton until June 1948."

As well as my father-in-laws documents we also had the flight record books of his best man and fellow R/O from Ferry Command who continued after 1946 flying with BOAC until 1959. There were some photographs taken air to air of flight refuelling but they seem to have gone missing but it made me look at the logbooks. These show entries for G-AHYD flown in April 1948. The entry for April 1948 are marked as Flight Refuelling and journey from and to as UL to LO, on 14th and return on 18th. LO the latter I believe may have been Lakenheath where the flight refuelling trials may have taken place but I am unsure about UL. Flight times were 14 hours 42 minutes and 17 hours and 19 minutes. Unfortunately in these early log books it was not required to give the name of the aircraft captain.
Any other information that may be in the log books happy to share.

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Since last posting herein, I've been away from home for a period of time and, on my return, heavily involved in other non-aviation matters. In the intervening period, the layout (and, frankly, the utility) of this forum has changed completely. This is my first attempt at a "REPLY" under the new regime, so I hope it goes OK. If you're reading this, then it has done so.

Thank you very much, Freecell49, for your two contributions.

I cannot help much with the air-to-air refuelling aspects, I'm afraid.

The accident reports made for interesting, if somewhat harrowing, reading. I feel uncomfortable about commenting further, certainly at this stage but they do raise some questions in my mind.

In terms of logbooks and other contemporary documentation, I feel sure that others, as well as me, would find them of great value.

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Glad that my posts were not in vain and it would have been nice to have joined in the discussion much earlier. I can see that functionally this new forum platform seems to offer less than the old but from my point of view it has at least meant I can create posts.
I will keep an eye open for any ways I can perhaps add a little more information.

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This article, marking the fourth anniversary of the first BOAC transatlantic service, was published in a British newspaper on 24 September 1945 .

It was originally in a single column but I've changed it to three columns in the hope that, with this layout, it will be legible. We shall see.

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I hope that the attachment is of interest to some here. It shows a number of BOAC personnel ranged  in front of a Liberator at Dorval in 1943. The quality of the image, being taken from 75-year old newsprint, is not the best but it looks as though the serial number of the Liberator shown is AL627.

One of the BOAC staff in the photograph is Capt. Poole.  He was the captain of Liberator AL528 (a photograph of which started this this thread, when it crashed and went up in flames landing at Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) a few years later. He survived, though badly burnt, but his co-pilot, D.W. Ray, sadly did not  The other crew members and all eight passengers all got out alive. The aircraft and its cargo were lost.

Anyway, here's the newspaper clipping.

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I'll try again.

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That's a nice find. Unfortunately i haven't got copies of Capt Poole's flight record cards and it could be that BOAC had separate records that were not kept at Dorval as none of the BOAC Captains listed in the photo are in those I have copies of.

I can see from BOAC RFS movement logs that AL627 was in for maintenance up until 19 July 1943 before leaving for UK via Gander so likely that it was used as the backdrop for the photo.

On another matter related to BOAC and flight refuelling. I said in a previous post that I had seen photos taken by Jake Pullman of the refuelling tests well here is a poor photo of those photos if of any interest.

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Thanks for the photographs, Freecell49. Now, a couple of questions for you, if I may?

[1 What form do the "BOAC RFS movements logs" take, please?

[2] I have a couple of newspaper reports on the Atlantic refuelling trials. Are you interested?

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To establish when the previously posted photograph the BOAC staff in front of AL627 at Dorval might have been taken, it is helpful to look at [1] the flights undertaken by AL627 in July 1943 and [2] the itinerary of Viscount Knollys in that period.. 

[1] AL627

The attached chart shows the flights made by AL627 during July 1943, based on the Prestwick records.

These do not show the whole itinerary of the flight, only the airfield from which AL627 arrived and to which it departed. These were mainly intermediate stops en route to and from Montreal - unless it was a direct flight.

If AL627 made any other intermediate stops between Montreal and Prestwick, scheduled or unscheduled, these were not apparently recorded at Prestwick.

[2] VISCOUNT KNOLLYS

Edward George William Tyrwhitt Knollys, the 2nd Viscount Knollys, was appointed Governor of Bermuda in 1941. His appointment as the Chairman of BOAC was announced in May 1943.. Once Knollys took up his new role, he toured aircraft manufacturing facilities, met officials of other airlines and visited BOAC bases around the world.  

The following seems to have been his itinerary for the period in question, based on contemporary newspaper reports.

Knollys had been in the United States visiting factories where some of BOAC’s aircraft were built. On Saturday 3 July, he flew “up the coast” on a United Air Lines flight, arriving in Vancouver that evening. On Sunday, 4 July 1943, he took a TCA flight from Vancouver to Winnipeg. On 5 July, he visited the TCA workshops in Winnipeg and conferred there with senior TCA officials. On 6 July, he flew to Ottawa, where he stayed overnight in Government House, and, on 7 July 1943, he arrived in Montreal.  The date of his departure from Montreal has yet to be established.

POSSIBLE DATING OF THE PHOTOGRAPH

The photograph was published in Montreal’s GAZETTE newspaper on 22 July 1943. It is entirely logical to suppose the photograph was taken between 15 and 20 July 1943, when AL627 was at Dorval. However, it seems unlikely that Knollys, having arrived in Montreal on 7 July 1943, would still have been there a week or more later.

More likely, the photograph was taken during AL627’s previous visit to Dorval.  Having left Prestwick on 5 July 1943, AL627 probably arrived at Dorval on  6 July, the day before Knollys arrived from Ottawa..

Since AL627 arrived back at Prestwick on 10 July 1943, it probably left Dorval on 9 July,

Therefore the photograph could have been taken on the afternoon of 7 July 1943, at any time during 8 July or on the morning of  9 July..

Comments and/or corrections welcome.

 

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The BOAC RFS Movement logs are scans of the handwritten logs obtained from DHH in Canada I believe but not by me but another contact who generously provided them. 

According to these AL627 departed Dorval on the 9th July arriving in UK on 6:51 on 10th. Left UK on 14th for return via Reyjkavic then arrived on 15th at UL which I assume was Dorval. QX seemed to be Gander. (Screenshot of page from log attached so you can see the sort of information in them. For some trips crew and passengers are also listed.)

Certainly interested in seeing the flight refuelling articles if they are at hand to put up.

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Thanks, Freecell49,  for the image attached to your posting. That is very helpful.  Likewise, the information on AL627's movements. Are those handwritten logs already digitised, by any chance?

I'll do it a bit more digging to see if I can confirm those airfield codes (UL, QX etc) - unless anyone reading this already has a list and cares to post them. that is.

I will attach one of the refuelling articles now and post the others in due course.  There are probably only a couple of others.  

Aviation is not my principal interest (indeed, it is  a past interest, surprisingly revived of late) but that other interest has involved seeking old newspaper reports.. These aviation-related ones are a couple of decades older and, unfortunately, the image quality is often poorer and requires 'attention' to make them legible.

Anyway, the attached article is quite long and I've reproduced it over four columns, the better to fit a computer screen.

Thanks, again, for your response.

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Oh, I should have mentioned this. I found reference to a radio programme about the in-flight refuelling trials, around the time they were taking place or soon after. It was broadcast on CBM, which I think was (is?) the English-language station of CBC radio in Montreal. That's about all I can remember at the moment, I'm afraid.

Incidentally, CBC have been pretty good at retaining old programmes in their archives, though whether they would have kept this one is open to question. 

I'll dig out the newspaper report in the next few days and post it here.

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Here's another image I prepared earlier. It shows Viscount Knollys arriving in Winnipeg on 4 July 1943 from Vancouver. There are, in fact, three versions of the same newspaper report.

 

>> The top left image is the original - too dark to be of much use.

>> The big image is too light but you can (a) see the people a bit clearer (b)  still read the text and (c) make out the airline markings.

>> The bottom left image is well over-brightened but does show  the aircraft markings even more clearly 

 

The Lockheed (14 or a Lodestar, I'm not too sure) clearly carries a 'Speedbird' logo. Does anyone know when TCA stopped using the 'Speedbird' logo on its aircraft?

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