B-24M Liberator 44-50695

Pildinny, Dumfries and Galloway

 
     
 
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Aircraft Type Photo

 

BELOW: A  USAAF B-24M Liberator restored and on display at Castle Air Museum in Atwater, California, USA.

 

B-24M Liberator on display at Castle Air Museum Atwater CA 

 

Photo: 2007 'Nehrams2020' (Wikimedia Commons). Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2

 


 

BELOW: A USAAF B-24H Liberator in flight.

 

a us b-24h liberator in flight

 

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

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type and Background

 

USAAF Consolidated B-24M Liberator / 44-50695

 


 

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

 


 

BELOW: A USAAF B-24 Liberator on museum display.

 

usaaf liberator - dugan 493 on display at museum

 

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

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Accident Details

 

This aircraft was being operated by 448th Bombardment Group (H) of the 8th Air Force and was enroute from RAF Seething in Norfolk, England to RAF Heathfield (Prestwick) in Scotland.

 

At the time of the accident, the pilot was descending through some cloud and light rain to begin his approach into Prestwick airport. However, for some unknown reason, the aircraft descended below safe limits while still some distance from Prestwick and while flying over hilly ground. Consequently, the B-24 struck the high ground at Pildinny and then slid for a further 125 yards before coming to a stop.

 

The damage to the aircraft was substantial. Seventeen crew members and passengers died in this accident (three others survived). As there was little or no prior warning of the crash, no opportunity was afforded to make use of the parachutes, which--in any event--could not have been deployed at such low altitude.

 

A memorial has been placed near the site of the accident, and W of the shepherd's memorial in the same general area.

 

[A more detailed account of this accident can be found in David W Earl's book, Hell on High Ground (Vol. 2). (See panel below right)]

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew / Passenger Casualties

 

Those who died in this accident were:

 

Casualties (USAAF Flight Crew)

  • Capt. James G Blank (Pilot)

  • 1/Lt John K Huber

  • 1/Lt Bernard F Pargh

  • /Lt Francis X Pollio

  • T/Sgt Derward E Merrow

  • T/Sgt Morris L Kanerak

  • S/Sgt Louis F Menrad

  • S/Sgt Christopher C King

  • S/Sgt John A Wildman

  • S/Sgt William T Harriman

 

Casualties (USAAF Personnel travelling as Passengers)

  • Capt. Harold H Earmart

  • Lt Col. Heber H Thompson

  • Sgt Aubrey W Lindsey

  • S/Sgt Allan D Good

  • Cpl Edmond C Fortin

  • Pfc George T Gafney Jr

  • S/Sgt Sidney G Arrons

 

Those who survived with injuries were:

 

T/Sgt Richard G Pokorny (passenger)

S/Sgt John Robert May (passenger) (See photo below)

Sgt Kenneth R Nelson (passenger)

 

 

One of the three who survived made his way down from Pildinny to Lagafater Estate to seek help.

 


 

BELOW: S/Sgt John Robert May, one of the survivors.

 

Bob while stationed at RAF Seething in Norfolk

 

Photo: Courtesy, Dave Strickland / Wally Fydenchuk

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos

 

BELOW: One of three concentrations of wreckage scattered in line roughly east-west.

 

One of three concentrations of wreckage scattered in line roughly east-west.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: A pulley for control cables.

 

A pulley for control cables.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 


 

BELOW: Small pieces of aluminium lie scattered across Goodman's Cairn / Pildinny.

 

Small pieces of aluminium lie scattered across Goodman's Cairn / Pildinny.

 

Photo: © 2014-2015 Gary Nelson

 

 

 

More photos from Gary Nelson's 2014 collection on PAGE 1-B

 

 

 

 

Other (earlier) photos below

 

 


 

 

BELOW: Some of the remaining wreckage from the B-24M at Pildinny. The following two photos were taken in 2006.

 

Some of the remaining wreckage from the Liberator crash at Pildinny Hill. Photo taken in 2006

 

Photo: © 2006-2009 Steven Spink

 


 

BELOW: A small section of the remaining wreckage. Other wreckage lies in this general area, but is camouflaged by peat hags.

 

a small section of remaining wreckage. Other wreckage lies nearby but is hidden in peat hags

 

Photo: © 2006-2009 Steven Spink

 


 

BELOW: A section of armour plating from the B-24M at Pildinny.

 

A section of armour plating from the B-24M at Pildinny Hill

 

Photo: © 2001-2009 David W Earl

 


 

BELOW: Geoff Bland supports a part of a bomb rack from the wrecked Liberator.

 

Part of bomb rack from wrecked Liberator

 

Photo: © 2001-2013 David W. Earl

 


 

BELOW: Remains of magneto casing.

 

Remains of magneto casing

 

Photo: © 2001-2013 David W. Earl

 


 

BELOW: Fragmented wreckage lying in this eroded area.

 

fragments of remaining wreckage

 

Photo: © 2001-2013 David W. Earl

 


 

BELOW: A larger section of fragmented wreckage.

 

a larger section of fragmented wreckage

 

Photo: © 2001-2013 David W. Earl

 


 

BELOW: More wreckage from the Liberator scattered on top of the moor.

 

more wreckage on top of the moor

 

Photo: © 2001-2013 David W. Earl

 


 

BELOW: Shattered casing exposing inner motor assembly.

 

shattered casing exposing inner assembly

 

Photo: © 2001-2013 David W. Earl

 


 

BELOW: Detached aluminium panels and armoured plating.

 

detached aluminium panels and plating

 

Photo: © 2001-2013 David W. Earl

 


 

BELOW: Decaying remainder of Liberator's bomb rack.

 

remainder of bomb rack

 

Photo: © 2001-2013 David W. Earl

 

 

MORE PHOTOS BELOW

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Original Accident Investigation Photos

 

The photos shown below were taken during the Accident Investigation in 1945.

 

 

BELOW: Inspection of wreckage following the crash of Consolidated B-24M Liberator 44-50695 at Pildinny.

 

inspection of wreckage in 1945 following crash of B-24M at Pildinny Hill 

 

Photo: Courtesy, David W Earl

 


 

BELOW:  The general scene of the crash site with wreckage strewn over a wide area.

 

general scene of crash site - accident investigation photo taken in 1945 

 

Photo: Courtesy, Dave Strickland / Wally Fydenchuk 

 


 

BELOW: View showing part of the fuselage and wings.

 

part of fuselage and wings 

 

Photo: Courtesy, Dave Strickland / Wally Fydenchuk 

 


 

BELOW:  Closer view of wing section.

 

closer view of wing section 

 

Photo: Courtesy, Dave Strickland / Wally Fydenchuk 

 


 

BELOW: Investigation of some of the more compacted wreckage.

 

another view of wreckage being examined by crash investigators 

 

Photo: Courtesy, Dave Strickland / Wally Fydenchuk 

 


 

BELOW: Another view of the scattered wreckage with investigators nearby.

 

another view showing investigators examining wreckage 

 

Photo: Courtesy, Dave Strickland / Wally Fydenchuk 

 


 

BELOW: Closer view of fragmented wreckage.

 

closer view of fragmented wreckage 

 

Photo: Courtesy, Dave Strickland / Wally Fydenchuk 

 


 

BELOW: Part of the B-24M tailplane with codes.

 

part of the B-24 tailplane with codes 

 

Photo: Courtesy, Dave Strickland / Wally Fydenchuk 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

FORWARD TO PAGE 1-B:
(More recent wreckage photos (2014))

 

 

FORWARD TO PAGE 2:
(Official Accident Report) 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Pages last updated: 10 Apr 2015

 



 

Accident Date: 12 Jun 1945

 

Accident Site:

Pildinny (400m)

(Hill immediately N of Goodman's Cairn (414m), and 4 miles SE of Ballantrae.)

 

Region: Dumfries and Galloway

 

Nearest town or village: 

Ballantrae (4 miles)

 

Nearest large towns:

Stranraer (11 miles S) or Girvan (N)

 

OS Grid Ref. 76 / 134 778

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Condition: Considerable wreckage remains at the crash site. However, much of it is concealed by the overgrowing peat hags and is difficult to find.

A memorial to the crew can be found near the crash site, not far from the shepherd's memorial cairn in the same area.

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

Registration or Serial: 44-50695

 

Operator: USAAF (713 Bomber Squadron; 448 Bombardment Group (H); 8th Air Force)

 

Operating Base: RAF Seething (146 Station)

 

Base Location: Norfolk, East Anglia, England.

 

Current Airport Status: Operational General Aviation (light aircraft) Airfield. (CAA Ordinary License)

 

Current Airport Name: Seething Airfield (EGSJ)

 


 

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

 

 

 

Related Links

 

 

American Battle Monuments Commission

ABMC website home page

Memorial Day Activities

 

B-24 Liberator Aircraft Links

AcePilots.com

American Air Museum, Duxford

B-24 Liberator at American Combat Planes.com

B-24 Liberator at Century of Flight

B-24 Liberator at High Gallery

B-24 Liberator at Warbird Alley

B-24 Liberator at Wikipedia

 

USAAF Related Link

National Museum of the US Air Force

 

Related Reading

Further details of this accident, together with witness reports, can be found in David W Earl's book, Hell on High Ground (Vol. 2)

Book - Hell on High Ground Volume 2 - David W Earl

Available from: amazon.co.uk

 

 

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