B-24D Liberator 42-72851

N. Ben Lee, N. Uist, Outer Hebrides













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: A  USAAF Consolidated B-24D Liberator bomber.


USAAF Consolidated B-24D liberator 


Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum of the US Air Force





Aircraft Type and Background


USAAF Consolidated B-24D Liberator / 42-72851



Type Nickname: "Lib"; "Lumbering Lib"; "Flying Boxcar", and others.



The Consolidated B-24 heavy bomber first flew in 1939. The prototypes were equipped with four Pratt & Whitney 1200hp R-1830-33 Twin Wasp engines. Early production versions were fitted with P&W 1200hp R-1830-41 engines with GE turbo superchargers. Later production versions (B-24Ds) were fitted with P&W R-1830-43 engines. Later variants followed. Their maximum speed was about 487km/h (303mph).

The B-24 was fitted with 11 machine guns and had a bomb carrying capacity of about 3,629kgs (8,000lbs); and, with modifications, had a range of about 4600km (2,858 miles).

Although overshadowed by the Boeing B-17 (Flying Fortresses), the Consolidated B-24 was produced in greater numbers than any other aircraft in history (in excess of 18,000 aircraft).



BELOW: The cockpit controls of the B-24D Liberator shown above.


Consolidated B-24D cockpit 


Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum of the US Air Force





Aircraft Accident Details


On 15 September 1943, Consolidated B-24 Liberator 42-72851 set out from Meeks Field (Reykjavik) in Iceland on a delivery flight to RAF Nutts Corner in Northern Ireland. During WWII, No. 120 Squadron RAF operated Consolidated B-24 Liberator maritime patrol aircraft from Nutts Corner.


However, while flying very low over the Western Isles in a heavy rainstorm and mist, the Liberator crashed at North Ben Lee [Lì a Tuath]. North Ben Lee lies just south of Lochmaddy, North Uist, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.


On impact with the ground, the Liberator erupted in flamessetting off ammunition carried on board. Although heroic attempts were made by the local people to rescue the 10 airmen, these proved unsuccessful. It was discovered that most of the crew had died during the crash. Those who survived initially succumbed to their injuries a short time later.


There is now a memorial plaque to the crew, which also pays tribute to the people of Lochmaddy who

did all in their power to rescue the airmen.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


Ten airmen died in this accidenteither immediately, or a few days later.


These were:


(Please click on the hyperlinked names above for further details at the [US] National WWII Memorial Registry website.)




BELOW: The Memorial plaque at North Ben Lee [Lì a Tuath], near Lochmaddy. on North Uist.


The memorial plaque at North Ben Lee near Lochmaddy, North Uist


Photo: Source unknown.






Crash Site Photos


At the moment, there are no photos of this crash site.


However, if anyone is able to provide a few photos of the crash site, or other photos of the memorial, these would be very welcome.







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Crash Date / Site


Accident Date: 15 Sep 1943


Accident Site:

North Ben Lee [Lì a Tuath] [map]


Region: Western Isles (North Uist)


Nearest town or village:

Lochmaddy (Loch nam Madadh)


Nearest large town or city:

None in this general area. Nearest available on the Scottish mainland, accessible by CalMac ferries.


OS Grid Ref. NF93300 66392 approx.


GPS Ref: N/A


Lat 57.582355   Lon -7.130067 approx.


Present Wreckage Status: Some small pieces of wreckage can still be found at the crash site.




Aircraft Details


Registration or Serial: 42-72851


Operator: USAAF (Provisional Bomb Group; 8th Air Force (see also here)).


Intermediate Departure Station: Meeks Field


Intermediate Departure Station Location:

Reykjavik, Iceland.


Destination Station: RAF Nutts Corner.


Destination Station Location:

6 miles from Belfast, N. Ireland.


Current Airport Status: RAF and civil air operations ceased.

Airfield partly overbuilt by A26 road. Parts of former airfield in use by Nutts Corner Raceway,

Nutts Corner Circuit (outdoor carting) and Nutts Corner Sunday Market,




Principal airport data courtesy of John Woodside, A Catalogue of UK Airfields





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