Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 3: Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Consolidated B-24 Liberator

Data current to 2 April 2021.

 (DND Photo)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. V, ex-RAF (Serial No. BZ735), RCAF (Serial No. 595), coded X, No. 10 (BR) Squadron, c1944.

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber flown by the RCAF during the Second Word War.  It was designed with a shoulder-mounted, high aspect ratio Davis wing which gave the Liberator a high cruise speed, long range and the ability to carry a heavy bomb load.  Early RAF Liberators were the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean as a matter of routine.  In comparison with its contemporaries the B-24 was relatively difficult to fly and had poor low speed performance; it also had a lower ceiling compared with the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.  Of the roughly 18,500 B-24s built in the USA during the war, 148 were flown by the RCAF on long range anti-submarine patrols, with the B-24 serving an instrumental role in closing the Mid-Atlantic gap in the Battle of the Atlantic.  The RCAF also flew a few B-24s post war as transports.

Roughly half of all (RAF) Liberator crews in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theatre were Canadian by the end of the war.  John Muir of Vancouver flew the longest mission of the war: 24hrs, 10mins from Ceylon to Burma and back.  (Kyle Hood)

RCAF Variants:

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. III (B-24D) with single .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine gun in the nose, two in each waist position, and four in a Boulton Paul tail turret, similar to that on contemporary British heavy bombers such as the Handley Page Halifax, as well as other British equipment. The Martin dorsal turret was retained.  (15), (Serial Nos. 586, 587, 588, 589, 590, 591, 592, 593, 594, 595, 596, 597, 598, 599, 600).

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. V (B-24D) variant modified for extra fuel capacity at the cost or armour, with the same armament fit as the Liberator Mk III.  (7) (Serial Nos. 3701, 3702, 3703, 3704, 3705, 3706, 3707).

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. VI (B-24H) fitted with Boulton Paul tail turrets, but retaining the rest of their armament.  (36), (Serial Nos. KG880, KG886, KG888, KG891, KG892, KG894, KG920, KG922-KG924, KG929-KG931, KG978, KH105-KH110, KH171-KH176, KH285-KH288, KK237-KK242).

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk VI (B-24H) used as a long-range general reconnaissance aircraft.  (64), (Serial Nos. 3708-3742, 11101, 11102, 11103, 11104,11105, EW127, EW128, |EW129, EW130, EW131, EW132, EW133, EW134, EW135, EW136, EW137, EW208, EW209, EW210, EW211, EW212, EW213, EW214, EW216, EW217, EW218, EW270, EW281, EW282).  

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, Mk. VIT (B-24H/C-87), converted to transport aircraft.  (10), (Serial Nos. 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576, 577, 578, 579).

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VIII (B-24M) modified for the anti-submarine role.  (16), (Serial Nos. 11120, 11121, 11122, 11123, 11124, 11125, 11126, 11127, 11128, 11129, 11130, 11131, 11132, 11133, 11134, 11135), for a total of 148 aircraft in service with the RCAF.

No. 10 Squadron, RCAFwas formed as a bomber squadron  at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 5 September 1939.  Mobilized on 10 Sep 1939, it was redesignated No. 10 Bomber Reconnaissance (BR) Squadron on 31 Oct 1939.  As part of Eastern Air Command, the squadron flew Westland Wapiti Mk. IIA from Sep 1939 to May 1940, Douglas Digby Mk. I from April 1940 to April 1943, and Consolidated Liberator Mk. II, Mk. V and G.R. Mk. VI aircraft from April 1943 to Aug 1945, on East Coast anti-submarine duty.  The squadron was active for the duration of the Second World War.  While based on the East Coast of Canada and Newfoundland, it established an RCAF record for 22 attacks on U-boats and successfully sank three (U-520 on 30 Oct 1942, U-341 on 19 Sep 1943, and U-420 on 26 Oct 1943), garnering the unofficial title "North Atlantic Squadron."  

No. 10 (BR) Squadron was disbanded at Torbay, Newfoundland, on 15 Aug 1945.  During its service, the squadron lost seven aircraft and 25 aircrew, of whom 24 were killed or missing, 1 wounded, and had 27 non-operational fatalities, includingthree drowned and six non-fatal.  Members of the squadron earned 24 DFCs, 6 AFCs, 1 GM, 1 AFM, 3 BEMs and 33 MiDs.  (Samuel Kostenuk and John Griffin, RCAF Squadrons Histories and Aircraft, 1924-1968 (Samuel Stevens Hakkert & Company, Toronto & Sarasota, 1077), National Museums of Man, National Museums of Canada, pp. 31-32.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203452)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. I, carrying Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King and party en route to England, 19 Aug 1941, Gander, Newfoundland.  This aircraft was an American YB-24/LB-30A, purchased for the RAF and rebuilt as the C Mk. 1.  Nine were used by BOAC to initiate a Great Britain to Canada ferry service to bring and return RAF aircrew to Canada for ferrying Lend-Lease aircraft to Britain.

The first Liberators in British service were ex-USAAF YB-24s converted to Liberator GR Mk. Is (USAAF LB-30A).  The aircraft were all modified for logistic use in Montreal.  Changes included the removal of all armament, provision for passenger seating, a revised cabin oxygen and heating system.  Ferry Command's Atlantic Return Ferry Service flew civilian ferry pilots, who had delivered aircraft to the UK, back to North America.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3607734)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF, Dorval.

 (DND Photo)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. V, RAF (Serial No. BZ735), coded X, RCAF (Serial No. 595), coded X, No. 10 (BR) Squadron, ca 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643016)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. V, RCAF (Serial No. 598), coded Q, No. 10 (BR) Squadron, Gander, Newfoundland, 29 Jul 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3523319)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. KG923), coded AM, No. 5 Operational Training Unit (OTU), 23 Aug 1944.  No. 5 OTU was a satellite detachment of No. 5 OTU Boundary Bay, British Columbia.  No. 5 took over the facilities at RCAF Station Abbotsford, BC, on 15 Aug 1944, and began to train aircrew on the B-24 Liberator.  The aircrews trained in Abbotsford on the B-24 were largely RAF, veterans of the Allied air war, and were intended to serve in the RAF's air offensive in Southeast Asia. No. 5 OTU Boundary Bay ceased operations on 31 Oct 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583453)

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. KG923), coded AM, No. 5 Operational Training Unit (OTU).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583456)

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. KG923), coded AM, rear view 23 Aug 1944, No. 5 OTU.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643728)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 923), waist .50 cal gun position, No. 5 OTU, 23 Aug 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643729)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF  (Serial No. 923), dorsal turret, 17 Aug 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643729)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 923), nose guns, 17 Aug 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643731)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 923), ball gunners turret, 17 Aug 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583434)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 923), interior view of the ball turret, 17 Aug 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650476)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF No. 11 (BR) Squadron, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, ca 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583585)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VIT, RCAF (Serial No. 570), cockpit, No. 168 Squadron, 14 Nov 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583431)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 923), armanent installation, No. 5 OTU, 17 Aug 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583435)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 923), rear gun turret, No. 5 OTU, 17 Aug 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4564724)

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. III (Serial No. BZ899), RAF No. 159 (B) Squadron, with a four-gun Boulton-Paul tail gun turret. RCAF S/L Hugo Beall and F/O Gordon Doherty, 4 May 1944.  The squadron was based at RAF Station Digri, Bengal, British India on the date the photo was taken.

 (IWM Photo, CI123)

Consolidated Liberator Mk. II of No. 159 Squadron, RAF, being refueled at Salbani, India, before undertaking a raid on the docks at Rangoon, Burma.

No. 159 Squadron was reformed at RAF Molesworth on 2 July 1942 during the Second World War and its ground crew personnel were posted, without aircraft, to the Middle East on 12 February 1942 and then to India on 18 May 1942.  Flying Consolidated Liberators, the squadron was posted to Palestine in July 1942 and carried out bombing raids in North Africa, Italy and Greece.  No. 159 then flew to India on 30 September 1942.  The first operation against the Japanese was on 17 November 1942, and during the rest of the war, the squadron flew mine-laying, bombing, and reconnaissance missions over Burma, Siam, Malaya, Indo-China and the Dutch East Indies.

In October 1944, the Squadron mounted an audacious minelaying raid on the Japanese held port of Penang.  The mission entailed a round trip of over 3,000 miles, which at the time was the longest distance bombing raid in history.  Eric Burchmore was in charge of the modification and preparation of the Consolidated Liberator aircraft used for the mission.  The raid was led by Wing Commander James Blackburn and was a complete success, with the port of Penang completely blocked by mines and all of the aircraft and crews returning safely.  Burchmore was awarded a military MBE in recognition of his contribution to the operation, whilst Wing Commander Blackburn was awarded a Bar to his DSO and was also awarded the American DFC by the United States.  After the war, No.159 converted to transport and survey duties before disbanding on 1 June 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4564729)

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. III (Serial No. BZ899), RAF No. 159 (B) Squadron, with a four-gun Boulton-Paul tail gun turret.  F/O Pete Evans and F/Lt Sgt Stephens, 4 May 1944.

(IWM Photo CH 11320)

Boulton-Paul four-gun tail gunner's turret on a Handley-Page Halifax bomber.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650460)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. V, No. 10 (BR) Squadron, RCAF, at Gander, Newfoundland, 1945.   

 (Author Photo)

Consolidated B-24D Liberator, the front section, ex-USAAF (Serial No. 42-40557), ex-RAF (Serial No. BZ755), ex-RCAF (Serial No. 600), coded N, is preserved in the "Officers Club at the Fantasy of Flight Museum", in Polk City, Florida.  The nose was rebuilt to represent a B24D, and it is painted as USAAF (Serial No. 41-11825) ,“Hail Columbia”.  

 (RAF Photo)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. V, RAF (Serial No. BZ791), Prestwick, UK, Nov 1943

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643721)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, ca 1944-45.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 11382)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, ca 1944-45.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, PL21808)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF, maintenance crew.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643737)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 570), (Mk. VIT), No. 168 (HT) Squadron, based at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 14 Nov 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643738)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF, (Mk. VIT), No. 168 (HT) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, ca 1944-45.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643739)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 579), (Mk. VIT), No. 168 (HT) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, ca 1944-45.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650487)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 574), (Mk. VIT), No. 168 (HT) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, ca 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584150)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 574), (Mk. VIT), No. 168 (HT) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 2 July 1948.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643734)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 576), (Mk. VIT), No. 168 (HT) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, mail being loaded, 15 Jan 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650479)

Consolidated Liberator Mk. V, RCAF (Serial No. 3704), converted to C Mk. VI (Mk. VIT) transport configuration and christened "Basterpiece", No. 11 (BR) Squadron, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, ca Jan 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583779)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 572), off the runway.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583778)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 572), off the runway.

 (RCAF Photo)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 574), 168 (HT) Squadron, ex-USAAF B-24L (Serial No. 44-10583), modified as an executive transport and nicknamed the “Silver Saloon” used to fly Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King, with No. 168 (HT) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario.

 (RCAF Photo)

Consolidated Liberator C Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 574), 168 (HT) Squadron, ex-USAAF B-24L (Serial No. 44-10583), modified as an executive transport and nicknamed the “Silver Saloon” used to fly Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King, with No. 168 (HT) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643724)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. V. nosewheel collapse, RCAF Station, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 29 March 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4920964)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 3727), coded T, No. 11 (BR) Squadron, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, 19 Feb 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650477)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 3717), No. 11 (BR) Squadron, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia ,ca 1944-1945.

 (RCAF Photo)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 3714).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650491)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 3742), coded A, No. 10 (BR) Squadron, ca. 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 353352/3650477)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, (Serial No. 3721), coded T, No. 11 (BR) Squadron, RCAF, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, 19 Feb 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650480)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 3720), coded Q, No. 11 (BR) Squadron, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, ca. 1944-45.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650481)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 3757), No. 11 (BR) Sqn, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, ca 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 11507)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, Douglas C-47 Dakota, Consolidated Canso A, and "Tiger Force" Avro Lancasters on the ramp at Scoudouc, New Brunswick.  The long range Liberators were being laid up for disposal after the U-Boats surrendered in 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 11507).  Note, different photo, duplicate MIKAN No.

Consolidated Liberator memorial service, RCAF Station Patricia Bay, British Columbia, 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650493)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VI, coded H, formerly of No. 11 (BR) Squadron, RCAF, Patricia Bay, BC, 1945.

(DND Photos via James Craik)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VIII, RCAF (Serial No. 11130), ex-USAAF Consolidated (Vultee) B-24L Liberator, USAAF (44-50154), ex-RAF (Serial No. 5009), ex-Indian Air Force (Serial No. HE773).  Currently preserved in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (RCAF Photo)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VIII, RCAF (Serial No. 11130), ex-USAAF Consolidated (Vultee) B-24L Liberator, USAAF (44-50154), ex-RAF (Serial No. 5009), ex-Indian Air Force (Serial No. HE773).  Currently preserved in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VIII, RCAF (Serial No. 11130), ex-USAAF Consolidated (Vultee) B-24L Liberator, USAAF (44-50154), ex-RAF (Serial No. 5009), ex-Indian Air Force (Serial No. HE773).  Currently preserved in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VIII, RCAF (Serial No. 11130), ex-USAAF Consolidated (Vultee) B-24L Liberator, USAAF (44-50154), ex-RAF (Serial No. 5009), ex-Indian Air Force (Serial No. HE773).  Currently preserved in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

Consolidated Liberator G.R. Mk. VIII, RCAF (Serial No. 11130), ex-USAAF Consolidated (Vultee) B-24L Liberator, USAAF (44-50154), ex-RAF (Serial No. 5009), ex-Indian Air Force (Serial No. HE773).  Currently preserved in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (RAF Photo)

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. VI, RAF (Serial No. KH166), ex-USAAF B-24J (Serial No. 44-10731).

 (Leeson Photo, RCAF Boundary Bay)

Consolidated Liberator B Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. KG891), coded AC.  It was later stripped of it's camouflaged to bare aluminum and re-coded WP.  KG891 was Taken on strength by the RCAF after delivery from the U.S. on 12 June 1944 and Struck Off Strength, 16 Oct 1945, for a total of 16 months at 5 O.T.U.