In Memoriam  - Sgt Jack Dunkley (Air Gunner)                                                                         Home

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Note:  James Stewart flew a Liberator, also known as a B24 Bomber

JACK DUNKLEY, born 3.10.1923, entered the School in September 1934.  In December 1937, he left School to join the Staff of the Ideal Clothiers. 

He volunteered in 1941 for service in the R.A.F.  After training at Cranwell he became Sgt. Air Gunner and saw considerable service abroad.  He was reported missing, presumed killed, on 6th May 1944. 

 He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Dunkley, Little Harrowden. 

'In Memoriam' book.

 

From his parents letter to the school, we know Jack travelled to the Bahamas, Canada and America before moving to India and then Ceylon.

However, there is a richness of detail, on the web, about what Jack was doing at the end of 1943 and 1944 and about how he died, but a deafening silence about the years before.  He and his crewmates were in an operation in 354 Squadron on December 8th 1943:

Liberator "L" BZ938   Screen Capt: S/L Hanson Convoy Escort started 0748  finished 1955    Escort to Convoy "M.A.20" comprising 5 M/Vs and 2 E/Vs. No incidents were reported

Capt: P/O Dean

Nav: Sgt. Wiseman, F/O Morgan, Sgt. Baty, Sgt. Constable

        Sgt. Mabee?, Sgt. Dunkley?,  Sgt. Skinner, LAC Cardinall

 

Since 354 squadron only started in May 1943, and was based at Cuttrack, India.   Sgt. Dunkley probably arrived with his Captain on the 27th October.  The crew left to join 160 squadron in Ceylon on the 27th December 1943 (information given by Les Crawley, a 160 Squadron veteran) before that.  There are very detailed records of 354 and 160 Squadron and they are well worth studying.

Sources:  354 Squadron:  www.rquirk.com/354.html     160 Squadron:    www.rquirk.com/160.html

To see how they lived in India see web site: http://www.rquirk.com/354photos/354jbphoto2.pdf sadly no pictures of Dunkley's crew, but...

 

160 squadron, itself,  moved to Ceylon in 1943 and became engaged in shipping protection flights, minelaying, and photographic reconnaissance over Sumatra and the Nicobar Islands.   In the early months of 1944 Jack Dunkley and his crewmates made 17 flights:  Actual plane below

The Crew of Jack's Liberator III (A B24 bomber)

Liberator

P/O J. D. Dean

 

A/S Escort to Convey KR 9

 SGY 050005Z

 SGY 051137Z

No enemy sightings.

BZ945???

P/O R. M. Morgan

 

 

 

 

 

F/S W. R. Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

F/S T. O. P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. K. J. Skinner

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. F? T. Mabee?

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G. K? Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Below right a Liberator (B24) with American Markings                 The most notable crew member of a Liberator is Jimmy Stewart (Film Star)

On the crews last flight, on 6th May 1944, the accident occurred:

"K" FL911 F/O Dean with F/O Morgan, F/O McDonald, P/O Korski, F/S Wiseman, W/O Baker, F/S Skinner, Sgt. Cooper, Sgt. Mabee, Sgt Dunkley, and Sgt. Cameron and two gunners go on a training flight with Air Firing and D.C. Dropping. The drogue towing Harvard leaves them after Air Firing and F/O Dean proceeded out to sea west of Puttalam for D.C. Dropping. The D.C's explode on impact with the water and damaged the plane which ditched immediately afterwards. The 1st WOP had time to send out an S.O.S. which was picked up by Ratmalana and a search was organised by 222 Group. After 18 hours in the water F/O Dean & W/O Baker wree rescued suffering from exhaustion and bruises but otherwise not severely injured. All the remainder must be considered lost, search was abandoned at last light on 8?th. The reasons for the accident are the subject of a court of inquiry whose findings are not yet known

On the 23rd. A court of inquiry is convened at 222 Group to enquire into the cause of accident and loss of A/C "K". F/O Dean and W/O Baker now out of hospital attend.

The Court consists of G/C Wells, D.S.O., president and S/L Spencer A/S/R and F/O Noyle of the squadron. Relevant witnesses from the squadron are sent by road to Colombo F/O Brind being in charge.   http://www.rquirk.com/160oper/160Sqn1944.pdf   

For detailed account select: Court Of Enquiry

 

The resulting enquiry laid no blame on the pilot –emphasising that no one had been wearing Mae Wests, and that the Mae Wests available had no additional aids attached to them.  The pilot, himself, states that he saw 4 passengers on a wing but makes no reference to his crew, other than the wireless operator.

 

Crew and Passengers who died on the F911       http://www.rquirk.com/160hon.html

Name

 

Number

Rank

Air Force

 

Date of Death

Age

Grave Marker

Flight

Cameron

Andrew

1566579

Sgt

 

 

5/6/1944

23

Sgp.435

FL.911 "K"

Cooper

George Edgar

R/161858

W.O.II.

RCAF

 

5/6/1944

 

Sgp.444

FL.911

Dunkley

Jack

1580251

Sgt

 

 

5/6/1944

20

Sgp.436

FL.911

Korski

George

J/26959

F.O.

RCAF

 

5/6/1944

21

Sgp.442

FL.911

Mabee

Franklin Thomas

R/156988

W.O.II.

RCAF

 

5/6/1944

 

Sgp.444

FL.911

McDonald

Duncan Farquar

134739

F.O.

 

 

5/6/1944

 

Sgp.432

FL.911

Morgan

Richard Holt

420901

F.O.

RAAF

Pilot

5/6/1944

33

Sgp.443

FL.911

Skinner

Douglas Henry

42342

F.Sgt.

RNZAF

 

5/6/1944

22

Sgp.446

FL.911

Wiseman

William Robert

1432804

F.Sgt.

 

Nav

5/6/1944

21

Sgp.435

FL.911

 Pilot F/O Dean and W/O Baker Survived

2 Army personnel lost:. Gunners Leeming and Goodness

Cameron and Korski were members of 160 squadron, but were not on previous flights

McDonald is not listed in CWGC site.

 

CWGC

Name: 

DUNKLEY, JACK

Initials:

J

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Rank:

Sergeant

Regiment/Service:

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Unit Text:

160 Sqdn.

Age:

20

Date of Death:

06/05/1944

Service No:

1580251

Additional information:

Son of George and Ivy Sophia Dunkley, of Little Harrowden, Northamptonshire.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

Column 436.

Memorial:

SINGAPORE MEMORIAL

 

160 Squadron      Motto:      Api soya paragasamu (We seek and strike)

the history of this unit in World War Two is somewhat confused but it began to form on 16 January 1942 at Thurleigh as a Liberator equipped general reconnaissance unit destined for the Far East.  The ground personnel left by sea in February 1942 and arrived in India in June, in the meantime the air element was still in the UK training at Polebrook.  It was June before the air element began its journey and on arrival in the Middle East, whilst en-route, it was absorbed by No 159 Squadron.  In July this joint unit  moved to Palestine, its aircraft now being serviced by personnel of Nos 458 and then 454 RAAF squadrons.  Finally in September the No 159 element continued on to India and the element left in the Middle East adopted the identity of No 160 Squadron.  From November aircraft began moving to India, those left in the Middle East continuing its operations until 15 January 1943 when it was amalgamated with No 147 Squadron to form No 178 Squadron.

As more aircraft and crews joined the original No 160 ground personnel in India it began to reform as a general reconnaissance unit beginning operations over the Bay of Bengal on 6 February 1943.  In Ceylon the squadron  was engaged in shipping protection flights, minelaying, and photographic reconnaissance over Sumatra and the Nicobar Islands.  

 

160 Squadron Liberators

Serial

Squadrons

Mark

Notes

Ref

FL911

160/301 FTU/160

III

Damaged by own depth charges and ditched off Puttalam, 6.5.44

AB

http://www.rquirk.com/lib160.html

 

Flights in 1944

January 1944

13th    1225 to 1915          FL940 P/O Dean & Crew. Navig. Sgt. Wiseman. Navigation Exercise.

19th   1430 t0 1705          "D" FL969 P/O Dean & Crew. Air Firing at Puttalam

31st .                0840 to 1135          "A" BZ711 F/O Jones, F/O Flett, P/O Dean, & Crew. Low level bombing practice.

February 1944

  4th          1430 to 1634          FL911 "K" P/O Dean & Crew.            Air Firing.

10th                  1715 to 2200          FL991 "F" P/O Rowley & F/O Dean & Crew on Submarine Affiliation.

16th February, 1944

Liberator

P/O J. D. Dean

A/S Patrol

SGY

RML

No enemy sightings.

FL991

F/O R? N. Morgan

 

 160048z

 161047z

 

 

F/Sgt. W. R. Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

F/Sgt. T. O. P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G. E. Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. P? T. Mabee

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. W. F. Jary?

 

 

 

 

18th February, 1944

Liberator

P/O J. D. Dean

A/S Escort

RML

RML

No enemy sightings.

FL991

F/O R? H. Morgan

 

 180244z

 180428z

 

 

F/Sgt. W. R. Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

F/Sgt. T. O. P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G. K. Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. P? T. Mabee

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. W? F. Jary

 

 

 

 

Day 5th March 1944

Liberator

P/O J. D. Dean?  

A/S Escort to

 SGY

 SGY

No enemy sightings.

BZ945???

P/O R. M. Morgan

 Convey KR 9

 050005Z

 051137Z

 

 

F/S W. R. Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

F/S T. O. P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. K. J. Skinner

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. F? T. Mabee?

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. B. K? Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

Night 8/9th March 1944

Liberator

P/O J. D. Dean

A/S Escort to Convoy BN 88

SGY

 SGY

No enemy sightings.

FL94?9

F/O R. M. Morgan

 

081121Z

082225Z

 

 

F/S W. R. Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

F/S T.O.P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G. K? Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. F. T. Mabee

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. K. J. Skinner

 

 

 

 

Night 13/14th March 1944

Liberator

P/O J. D. Dean

A/S Escort to

SGY

 SGY

No enemy sightings.

FL969

 F/O R. H. Morgan

 Convoy CJ 19

 

 

 

 

F/Sgt. W.M?Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

W/O T. O. P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G. K. Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. F. T. Mabee

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. K. J. Skinner

 

 

 

 

 Night 16/17th March 1944

Liberator

P/O J. D. Dean

A/S Escort to Force

 R?ML

R?ML

No enemy sightings.

BZ752

F/O M. H? Morgan

 "G"

 161550Z

170440Z

 

 

F/Sgt. W?R Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

W/O T. O. P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G. E. Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. F? T. Mabee??

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. K. J. Skinner

 

 

 

 

 

Two flights below"The Special Flight"

Liberator Operations on Radar Countermeasure  With 160 Squadron, 159 Squadron and 1431 Flight  SEAC

March 25-26, 1944

Operational Flight, on this flight two other 160 Squadron aircraft are used as "decoys" in order to have the Japanese turn their radar on.

160 Squadron, Form 540

1010 to 0130

"H" FL945 P/O Hill and crew on operations with "C" Flight

1020 to 0110

"P" FL940 P/O Dean and crew on operations with "C" Flight

1025 to 0130

"Y" FL939 F/L Bradley on Special Task with A/C "H" and "P"

1030 to 0140

"W" FL938 F/L Connor on Special Task with A/C "H" and "P"

Sortie successful but some damage caused by A.A. fire over Simalur "H" returned on three engines from target area. No casualties.

 

160 Squadron, Form 541

25th March 1944

Aircraft

Crew

Duty

Time Up

Time Down

Remarks

Liberator FL940

F/O J. D. Dean

F/O R. H. Morgan

W/O T. O. P. Baker

F/S W.R. Wiseman

Sgt. G. E. Cooper

Sgt. J. Donkley

Sgt. F. T. Mabee

Sgt. K. J. Skinner

Sgt. A. Cameron

 

Diversionary Strike

SGY 250345Z

SGY 251838Z

Objective reached and 4 x 500 lbs bombs dropped 60 rounds .303 and 30 x .50 fired at target - results not observed - A/S fire encountered - slight damage sustained by A/C

  Day 2nd April, 1944

Liberator

F/O J. D. Dean

A/S Escort to Convoy

SGY1

 SGY

No enemy sightings.

EV821

F/O R. H. Morgan

BM 90B

020832Z

021937Z

 

 

W/O T. O. R? Baker

 

 

 

 

 

F/Sgt. W. R. Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G. K? Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. F. T. Mabee

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. K. J. Skinner

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Cameron

 

 

 

 

Night 5th/6th April, 1944.

Liberator

 F/O J. D. Dean

A/S Escort to Force

SGY

 RML

 No enemy sightings.

EV824

 F/O R. H. Morgan

"Grain"

051917Z

 060145Z

 

 

W/O R. O. P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

F/Sgt. W? R. Wiseman

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. K. J. Skinner

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. F. T. Mabee

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G? R? Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Cameron

 

 

 

 

Day 24th April, 1944.

Liberator

F/O J. D. Dean

A/S Cover to

SGY

SGY

No enemy sightings.

EV824

F/O R. H. Morgan

C/V BM94

240346Z

241526Z

 

 

F/Sgt. W? R. Wiseman

and Force "K"

 

 

 

 

W/O T. O. P. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. D. H? Skinner

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. J. Dunkley

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. P? T. Mabee

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. G. E? Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

Sgt. A Cameron

 

 

 

 

 

Place

Date

 Time

 Summary of events

Sigiriya

6

1525 to 1715

"K" FL911 F/O Dean with F/O Morgan, F/O McDonald, P/O Korski, F/S Wiseman, W/O Baker, F/S Skinner, Sgt. Cooper, Sgt. Mabee, Sgt Dunkley, and Sgt. Cameron and two gunners go on a training flight with Air Firing and D.C. Dropping. The drogue towing Harvard leaves them after Air Firing and F/O Dean proceeded out to sea west of Puttalam for D.C. Dropping. The D.C's explode on impact with the water and damaged the plane which ditched immediately afterwards. The 1st WOP had time to send out an S.O.S. which was picked up by Ratmalana and a search was organised by 222 Group. After 18 hours in the water F/O Dean & W/O Baker was rescued suffering from exhaustion and bruises but otherwise not severely injured. All the remainder must be considered lost, search was abandoned at last light on 8?th. The reasons for the accident are the subject of a court of inquiry whose findings are not yet known.

 

23

 0315 to 1800

"H" FL945 F/S Hughes and crew do a daylight P.R. of Monlabon? with good results. A court of inquiry is convened at 222 Group to enquire into the cause of accident and loss of A/C "K". F/O Dean and W/O Baker now out of hospital attend. The Court consists of G/C Wells, D.S.O., president and S/L Spencer A/S/R and F/O Noyle of the squadron. Relevant witnesses from the squadron are sent by road to Colombo F/O Brind being in charge.

Sigiriya

June 1st

 

The month opens with good weather. A.P.C. have been able to arrange for plenty of Air Firing and arrangements with Fighter Control have been made for more affiliation. Since the Crash of A/C "K?" with F/O Dean practice with live D.C's is suspended temporarily and A/S Bombing is also curtailed owing to technical difficulties and the unseviceability of the Bombing Range at Minneriya.

http://www.rquirk.com/160oper/160Sqn1944.pdf

 

_____________________________

FL.911 "K"      .5.44    Ditched off Puttalam damaged by own depth charges: 7 - lost plus 2 Army pers. Gunners Leeming and Goodness: 2 survivors - Dixie Dean and Kiwi Baker http://www.rquirk.com/160casual.html

-_____________________________

 

  

Court Of Enquiry

From File AIR 23/1953, Public Records Office, Kew     http://www.rquirk.com/160ditch2.html

This transcript is from a publication called IOGROPS, Vol 1, No.1. It describes the ditching of FL911 from 160 Squadron.

Ditching of a Liberator

At 1710 hours on the 6th May, 1944, a Liberator was engaged in a depth charge dropping exercise 30 miles west of Puttalam. The weather was good and sea moderate. After dropping a smoke float as a target, the aircraft turned and ran in at 50 feet. Two depth charges were released and almost immediately afterwards two explosions were heard by the pilot. The nose of the aircraft vas flung violently, upwards and the combined efforts of both first and second pilots, were required to right the aircraft. The captain shouted to the wireless operator, who had been flung against the back of the second pilot's seat by the explosion, and he managed to switch on his transmitter and send "S.O.S." followed by a long dash.. This signal, in a corrupt form, was picked up by R.A.F. Station, Ratmalana, which notified N.A.O.R. of the bearing, but were unable to confirm that the signal was an "'S.O.S.".

The pilot of the, aircraft found that he could maintain a straight course by the use of full power on his port engines and reduced power on the starboard engines. Full starboard rudder was required to do this as elevator and rudder trimmers were inoperative. Height was gradually being lost and the pilot had no option but to ditch the aircraft. It was not possible to give ditching orders as the captain who had both hands on the controls, could not use the hand microphone. There were two impacts, the first one throwing the pilot (who was not strapped in) against the instrument panel. The second impact,, which was not so violent as the first, appears to have rendered the pilot momentarily unconscious, as he next remembers being just below the surface. of the water. He scrambled out through the broken cockpit roof and swam to the mainplane. The forward portion of the aircraft, which had broken away at the trailing edge of the mainplane, had come to rest .in an attitude where the mainplane was almost, vertical: . There were no signs of the rear portion of the fuselage.

The wireless operator, who must also have been momentarily rendered unconscious, remembers nothing of his efforts to get out of the aircraft-he was, however, seen by the pilot to be standing on the mainplane with another member of the crew. One of the passengers, of whom there were four, was also clinging to the wing tip of the mainplane. The pilot observed dinghies floating in the water about fifty yards away, and asked if any of the others could swim. to them. They replied that the distance was more than they could manage. He, therefore, swam over to the dinghies only to find that they were badly torn, presumably having caught on the jagged edges of the fuselage on being released from their stowages.

Meanwhile, the wireless operator had slipped into the water (or the mainplane had sunk beneath him) and found one of the other survivors swimming beside him. The wireless operator then got hold of a parachute bag from which he extracted the Mae West it contained. This he put on and the other survivor asked if he could find a Mae West for him. While swimming around looking for another parachute bag, the wireless operator found another man in a Mae West, obviously unconscious. He tied the tapes of the Mae West, which were undone, as best as he could and then swam back to where he had last seen the man who had asked him to find a Mae West, but there was no sign of him. The W/O now found himself alone in the water- A `K' type dinghy which he found was torn and . unusable. Shortly afterwards the pilot swam up to him, supporting . himself by hanging on to a parachute bag. The pilot had not realised until now that it contained ,a Mae West and the two of them commenced to swim in what they thought to be the direction of the coast. The wireless operator suffered from burns on his chest and leg and was at times compelled to hold on to the pilot for support. Nevertheless they kept on swimming, being afraid of becoming cramped. They found the water quite cold after a few hours immersion. Small fish occasionally attempted to nibble the wounds of the wireless operator but he found little difficulty in keeping them at bay.

About 2200 hours the. sound of engines was heard and the steaming lights of a launch came into view but passed out of sight to the westward, heading , north. Just after dawn on the 7th May, an aircraft was seen to the westward also heading north. As there were no aids on the Mae Wests, such as floating torches, fluorescine, whistles or distress Signals, no attempt could be made to attract attention although the two survivors, as is usual, shouted loudly when both launch and aircraft came in sight.

High speed launches had been sent out from Colombo, one at 1900 hours and the other at 2225 hours on the night of the 6th May to search the area indicated by radar plot and the bearing of the distress signal. A pinnace had accompanied the second high speed launch. These marine craft searched all through the night and it was probably the pinnace, manned by a volunteer crew, whose lights were seen by the survivors.

A Walrus, 1 Harvard and 2 Wildcat aircraft searched an area up to 20 miles west of Puttalam before darkness set in on the 6th May, but saw no signs of wreckage or survivors.

On the morning of the 7th May, the Air Sea Rescue Walrus at Ratmalana was ordered to the search area,, and arrived there about 0430 hours. Two flights, each of six Beaufort aircraft stationed at Ratmalana,. were ordered to search an area 3600 square miles in extent around the search position, on the morning of the 7th May., Thunderstorms interfered with the Beaufort search and, at times, lowered the visibility -to such an extent that visual contact was difficult to maintain. The Fleet Air Arm Walrus from Puttalam carried out combined searches throughout the day with the A.S.R. Walrus, both aircraft returning to Puttalam for refuelling.

At about 1120 hours on the 7th May, the Pinnace, which was searching the southern portion of the area, found an " H " type dinghy, which was picked up. The C.O.2 bottle of this dinghy was not discharged and this would appear to indicate that the dinghy was released on impact and the retaining cord severed before it could operate the cylinder. The pinnace then combed this area thoroughly, finding several pieces of wreckage. It was not until an hour later that two survivors wearing Mae Wests were sighted; one of them frantically waving his underpants. A member of the pinnace crew swam to the pilot and helped him to the side of the boat. Both survivors on board, the search continued for another hour. The two appeared to have suffered little from thirst or exposure and, in fact, the W/Op asserted that he could have kept going for several hours longer. The master of the pinnace nevertheless became alarmed at the feeble state of the wireless operators' pulse, and decided to return to base.

The high speed launch whose fuel was running low, returned at the same time and a nursing orderly was transferred from this launch to the pinnace in order to attend to .the two survivors. Base was reached at 1600 hours on the 7th May and the survivors were soon in medical hands. .

A relief high speed launch had been. despatched to the area to continue the search in co-operation with the two Walrus aircraft, and she continued this search all through the night of the 7th May. On the 8th May searches were continued by the Walrus aircraft, but no further survivors were picked up or wreckage sighted. The search was called off at last light on the 8th May, 1944.

Comments

As far as can be ascertained, .none of the crew or passengers of the Liberator were wearing Mae Wests at the time of the accident. Had the four survivors of the ditching who were not picked. up, been wearing Mae Wests, they would have stood a better chance of being rescued.

No additional aids were attached to the Mae Wests. These, if carried, would have made the task of the searching surface crafts more easy, for the light from a floating torch signal might have been seen by the pinnace.

If search aircraft had been laid on when the " S.O.S." was received, an hour's daylight would still have remained and the aircraft could have searched into the night with a good chance of spotting visual signals. It was not known that no additional aids were carried on the Mae Wests.

Fluorescine would have assisted in the location of the survivors. Men in Mae Wests alone are very small targets for which to search.

________________________

 

 The Liberator

 The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber, built by Consolidated Aircraft. It was produced in greater numbers than any other American combat aircraft of World War II and still holds the record as the most produced U.S. military aircraft. It was used by many Allied air forces and every U.S. branch of service during the war, attaining a distinguished war record with its operations in the northern European, Pacific and Mediterranean theaters. Often compared to the better known B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 was a more modern design with a higher top speed and greater range yet it had a similar bomb load and defensive armament. Nevertheless, popular opinion among aircrews and general staff tended to favor the B-17's rugged qualities above all other considerations.[2] The B-24 was notorious among American air crews for its tendency to catch fire. The placement of the B-24's fuel tanks throughout the upper fuselage and its lightweight construction, designed both to increase range and optimize assembly line production, made the aircraft vulnerable to battle damage.[3] The B-24 was more difficult to fly as well, with heavy control forces and poor formation flying characteristics. The B-24 nevertheless provided excellent service in a variety of roles thanks to its large payload and long range. 

 

Notable Crew   Wikipedia

Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart USAF Reserve, flew B-24s as commanding officer of the 703rd BS, 445th BG out of RAF Tibenham, UK, before a promotion to operations officer of the 453rd BG. From 1943–44, Stewart flew 20 combat missions as a pilot, including one over Berlin. Stewart's leadership qualities were highly regarded; the men who served under him praised his coolness under fire. He entered service as a private in early 1941 and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel by 1945. Stewart flew as command pilot in the lead B-24 on numerous missions deep into Nazi-occupied Europe. These missions went uncounted at Stewart's orders. His "official" total is listed as 20 and is limited to those with the 445th. In 1944, he twice received the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in combat and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He also received the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. In July 1944, after flying 20 combat missions, Stewart was made Chief of Staff of the 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing of the Eighth Air Force. Before the war ended, he was promoted to colonel, one of very few Americans to rise from private to colonel in four years. 

159 Squadron    http://www.graemefraser.net/raf159squadron.html

The aircraft, all Liberators, arrived in Palestine in July 1942 and undertook raids on North Africa, Italy and Greece, before flying on to India late September 1942 and began operations against the Japanese on 17 November. It was the first heavy bomber unit in India, flying Liberators II, III, V, VI & VII and the rest of the war was spent on bombing, mining, and reconnaissance operations over Burma, Siam, Malaya, Indo-China and the Dutch East Indies, operating in SEAC, South East Asia Command, for most of the war.. (I've chosen to use the names of the countries in use then, as these are how the men of 159 knew them). After the war ended they transferred to transport and survey duties and Squadron 159 was disbanded on 1 June 1946.

 

354 Squadron

 

General Reconnaissance Squadron        Formed May 10, 1943 at Drigh Road             Disbanded May 18, 1945
Moved to Cuttrack on August 17, 1943       Moved to Minneriya on October 12, 1944     Moved to Cuttack on January 5, 1945
Aircraft were not received until August 28, 1943

 

Equipped with:

 

27.10.43 The following officers arrived here on posting to the Squadron P/O Morgan, P/O Beaton, P/O Smiley, P/O Goldsworthy and P/O Dean.
8.12.43

0748 Liberator "L" (BZ938) (S/Ldr. R. H. Hanson, Screen Captain to P/O J. Dean &

Crew) was airborne on A/S Escort to Convoy "N.A. 20" comprising 5 M/Vs and 2 E/Vs. The convoy was escorted from 0918 until 1802 and no incidents were reported. The aircraft landed at base at 1955

8.12.43 0748    Liberator "L" (BZ938) (S/Ldr. R. H. Hanson, Screen Captain to P/O J. Dean & Crew) was airborne on A/S Escort to Convoy "N.A. 20" comprising 5 M/Vs and 2 E/Vs. The convoy was escorted from 0918 until 1802 and no incidents were reported. The aircraft landed at base at 1955
11.12.43 0915    Liberator "L" (BZ938) was allocated to No. 160 Squadron and was flown to Ratmalana by P/O J. Dean & Crew. It landed there at 1625.
27.12.43

F/Lt. Percival & Crew and P/O Dean & Crew were posted to No. 160 Squadron.

         

Crew of Liberator "L" BZ938    

Capt: P/O Dean

    Nav: Sgt. Wiseman

            F/O Morgan

            Sgt. Baty

            Sgt. Constable

            Sgt. Mabee?

            Sgt. Dunkley?

            Sgt. Skinner

            LAC Cardinall

 

RCAF - These photos were in an album produced by Jim Bagdley using photos provided by ex-members of the Squadron  Gives the feel of the airport everything from bare chests and shorts to jungle hunting and monsoon weather

http://www.rquirk.com/354photos/354jbphoto2.pdf