LB-30A Liberator AM260

RAF Ayr (Heathfield), Ayrshire

 
     
 
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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 / AM260

 


 

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 two digits 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

 

Consolidated Liberator AM260 was being operated by a crew from RAF Ferry Command. The aircraft was in the process of leaving RAF Ayr (Heathfield) on a ferry flight to Montreal in Canada.

 

The Pilot taxied his aircraft down one of the main runways from the loading position. (Many pilots considered regular-width perimeter taxiways to be too narrow for their large Liberator aircraft.) Once reaching the end of the runway, it was expected that the Pilot would turn his aircraft onto the longest runway for take-off.

 

However, as the RAF Duty Pilot observed from the Watch Tower (Control Tower), the Liberator Pilot turned his aircraft toward a shorter runway and began his take off roll. The Duty Pilot believed that the aircraft Pilot would abort his take off further down the runway, once he realised his mistake.

 

Nevertheless, the Liberator Pilot continued his attempt to take-off until he had insufficent room left on the runway to abort. At this point, the aircraft careered off the runway into the ploughed area beyond the threshold. However, even here, the Liberator was unable to stop before crossing over an embankment beyond the end of the runway. The aircraft then leaped across a road, and down a second embankment into a root field. From there, burning wreckage from the aircraft was strewn along and across a railway line and the adjacent field. There were no survivors.

 

 

(See Official Accident Report on Page 2 for more details.)

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew / Passenger Casualties

 

This aircraft carried four crew and eighteen passengers, most of whom were aircrew in transit. These were:

 

Crew

  • Captain Richard Charles Stafford1 (34), Captain-in Command, BOAC.
    (Buried, Section R., 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2763-2750, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • F/O Earl Wellington Watson, , Air Transport Auxiliary.
    (Buried, Plot G, Row 5, Grave 161, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

  •  

  • Richard Coates, Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Ferry Command.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2750-2763, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • Roland Folford Davis, Flight Engineer, BOAC.
    (Buried, Plot C, Row 0, Grave 15, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

 

 

Footnote 1: Captain Richard Stafford was a good friend of fellow BOAC pilot Captain Ernest White, whose Liberator (AM261) had crashed at Mullach Buidhe on the Isle of Arran a few days earlier.

 

 

 

Travelling as Passengers

 

  • F/O Elbert Beard Anding , Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), Passenger.
    (Buried, Plot G, Row 6, Grave 2, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

  •  

  • Joseph Culbert, Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2750-2763, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • Capt. Murray Benjamin Dilley Jnr., Pilot, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Plot G, Row 2, Grave 158, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

  •  

  • Robert Arnold Duncan (30), Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division. Collective Grave 2750-2763. Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • Capt. Alton Chester Earle, Pilot, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Plot G, Row 2, Grave 155, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

  •  

  • Wesley Francis J. Goddard, Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2750-2763, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • Capt. Edward Hamel, Pilot, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Lot 2857, Grave 110, New York Brooklyn Greenwood Cemetery, New York, USA.)

  •  

  • Donald Norman Hannant (23), Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2750-2763, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • Capt. Gerald Hull, Pilot, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Plot C, Row 0, Grave 2, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

  •  

  • Capt. John Joseph Kerwin, Pilot, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section E, Row 37, Grave 15, Hayward (Holy Sepulchre) Catholic Cemetery, California, USA.)

  •  

  • Philip Francis Lee, First Officer, Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), Passenger.
    (Buried, Plot G, Row 4, Grave 162, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

  •  

  • Glenwood McKay (23), Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2763-2750, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • John Joseph MacDonald, Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2750-2763, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • Capt. James John Moffat (29), Pilot, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2763-2750, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • (The Rt. Hon.) Arthur Blakie Purvis (51), Civilian, P. C. Chairman of the British Supply Council of North America, Passenger.
    (Buried, Burgh of Ayr, Scotland.)

  •  

  • Albert Tamblin (24), Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Passenger.
    (Buried, Section R, 1931 Division, Collective Grave 2763-2750, Ayr Cemetery, Ayrshire.)

  •  

  • Walter LeeTrimble (33), First Officer, Passenger.
    (Buried, Plot E, Row 0, Grave 92, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

  •  

  • Martin Joseph Wetzel, First Officer, Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), Passenger.
    (Buried, Plot G, Row 3, Grave 156, Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridgeshire.)

 

 

Please click on the hyperlinked names above for further details at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website.

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos

 

There are no crash site photos for this aircraft.

 

 

 


 

 

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PAGE 2   (Official Accident Report)

 

 


 

 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Accident Date: 14 Aug 1941

 

Accident Site:

RAF Ayr (Heathfield)

 

Region: South Ayrshire

 

Nearest towns:

Prestwick or Ayr

 

Nearest large town:

Kilmarnock (NE)

 

OS Grid Ref. N/A

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Condition: No known wreckage remaining.

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

 

Registration or Serial: AM260

 

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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