LB-30A Liberator AM261

Mullach Buidhe, Isle of Arran

 
     
 
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Aircraft Type Photo

 

BELOW: An RAF LB-30A Liberator in flight

 

B-24 Liberator in RAF service

 

Photo [pre-1957] Taken by an employee of the UK government. Photo now in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type and Background

 

RAF Consolidated LB-30A (B-24) Liberator / AM261

 

(This aircraft was built originally as USAAC B-24, c/n 170, serial 40-699)

 

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).

 

The RAF gained extra B-24s when they took delivery of an order destined originally for France. Consolidated termed the B-24 aircraft destined for Britain 'LB-30As', as they had been modified to meet British MoD and RAF requirements. The RAF assigned the name Liberator to their new bombers (a name adopted later by the USAAF).

However, since the P&W engines of these Liberators had had their superchargers removed before delivery to the RAF, and since they lacked the self-sealing fuel tanks fitted to the US B-24s, they were found to be unsuitable for use in the European theatre. Thus, initially, the RAF Liberators were assigned to B.O.A.C., and later to RAF Ferry Command, for transport purposes.

A number of Liberators were allocated to RAF Coastal Command. Coastal Command first operated these aircraft in 1941, using them against the U-boats. Later, RAF bomber squadrons also used Liberators in the Middle East and Far East.

The Liberator featured here had been assigned to RAF Ferry Command, based at RAF Ayr in Scotland. Their responsibility was to act as transports, and to ferry flight crews across the North Atlantic so that these aircrew could fly newly-built aircraft back to the UK.

 


 

BELOW: Shown here is RAF Consolidated Liberator AM262. The serial number was just one digit higher than the aircraft featured on this page. After the war, AM262 and other Liberators were registered to BOAC for civilian use.

 

raf liberator am262

 

Photo: Source unknown

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Accident Details

 

At the time of this accident, the Liberator was being flown by RAF Ferry Command. The aircraft had left Ayr (Heathfield) Aerodrome (now part of Glasgow (Prestwick) International Airport) en route for CFB Gander (later, RCAF Station Gander) in Newfoundland (now, Newfoundland and Labrador), Canada.

In addition to the normal flight crew, the Liberator was carrying additional pilots and crew who were to ferry new aircraft back to the UK from Canada. A total of twenty-two personnel were on board the aircraft: five crew and 17 passengers.

However, shortly after take-off, the aircraft experienced overcast conditions together with rain, mist and low visibility. At this point, the Liberator had just begun to cross the Island of Arran in the Firth of Clyde. In the prevailing cloud and mist, however, the pilot did not realise that he had not gained sufficient height to clear the high peaks of Arran.

Very soon afterward, the Liberator crashed into a ridge of Mullach Buidhe, just north of Goat Fell (or Goatfell)—the latter being the highest peak on Arran. The crew of 5, together with their 17 passengers, perished in the accident.

According to the accident report, the crash was due to navigational error.

 

(See Page 3 for the document, "A Re-Examination of the Accident Causes".)

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew / Passenger Casualties

 

Those who died were:

 

From British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC):

 

From Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA)

 

With the exception of Captain Bradbrooke (co-pilot) most of the ATA personnel were travelling as passengers on this aircraft. All were laid to rest in Kilbride Old Churchyard.

 

From RAF Ferry Command (RAFFC)

 

Most of the RAFFC personnel were travelling as passengers. All were laid to rest in Kilbride Old Churchyard, Lamlash, Isle of Arran :

 

 


 

 

Grave Headstones: Ralph Bruce Brammer and John Beatty Drake (radio operators)

 

graves.

 

(Photo taken at Kilbride Cemetery, Lamlash, Isle of Arran, Scotland)

 

See also Memorial (graveside) photos on Page 2

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos (Page 1-A)

 

 

BELOW: Arran Museum version of AM 261.

 

arran museum version of am261.

 

Photo: © 2014 Bob MacAlister

 


 

 

BELOW: This propeller is in the Arran Museum and is dedicated to all Airmen who lost their life on Arran's Mountains.

 

propeller at arran museum dedicated to all airmen who died on arran's mountains.

 

Photo: © 2014 Bob MacAlister

 


 

 

BELOW: One of the few remaining wreckage parts from the RAF LB-30A Liberator AM261 still to be found onsite.

 

a remaining wreckage part from RAF LB-30A Liberator AM261

 

Photo: © 2008 Stevie Spink

 


 

BELOW: The general area of the crash site. (Compare with wider view above)

 

the general area of the liberator crash site

 

Photo: © 2008 Stevie Spink

 

 

 


 

 

Page Selector

 

PAGE 1-B (Route Photos—Goat Fell to Mullach Buidhe)

 

PAGE 2   (Memorial Photos)

 

PAGE 3   (Re-Examination of Accident Causes)

 

PAGE 4   (Newspaper Articles)

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP OF PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Date / Site

 

 

Accident Date: 10 Aug 1941

 

Accident Site:

Mullach Buidhe (721m / 2,366ft)


(1.6km (1 mile) North of Goat Fell, and near the head of Coire Lan.)

 

Region: North Ayrshire (Isle of Arran)

 

Nearest town or village:

Corrie and Sannox

 

Nearest large town:

Brodick (S)

 

OS Grid Ref. N/A

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Condition: A few small fragments may still be found at the crash site.

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

 

Registration or Serial: AM261 (RAF Registration: Aircraft ex- USAAC, c/n 170, serial 40-699)

 

Operator: RAF (Ferry Command; 1425 Flight--Transatlantic Routes)

 

Operating Base: RAF Ayr (including also RAF 44 Grp. Transport; RN HMS Gannet; HMS Wagtail.)

 

Base Location: Ayr (Heathfield) Aerodrome, Ayr, Scotland.

 

Current Airport Status: Operational Civil Airport;
National Air Traffic Services (NATS): Scottish Area Control Centre (SACC), Oceanic Area Control Centre (OACC), Military Control, & Engineering.

 

Current Airport Name: Glasgow (Prestwick) International Airport (EGPK)

 

 

 

 

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