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Liberator

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Manufacturer : Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California
Number Built : 18188
Production Began : 1939
Retired : 1968
Type :

he initial production batch of B-24As was completed in 1941, with many being sold directly to the Royal Air Force. Sent to Britain, where the bomber was dubbed "Liberator," the RAF soon found that they were unsuitable for combat over Europe as they had insufficient defensive armament and lacked self-sealing fuel tanks. Due to the aircraft's heavy payload and long range, the British converted these aircraft for use in maritime patrols. Learning from these issues, Consolidated improved the design and the first major American production model was the B-24C which also included improved Pratt & Whitney engines. In 1940, Consolidated again revised the aircraft and produced the B-24D. The first major variant of the Liberator, the B-24D quickly amassed orders for 2,738 aircraft. Overwhelming Consolidated's production capabilities, the aircraft was also built under license by North American, Douglas, and Ford. The latter built a massive plant at Willow Run, Michigan that, at its peak (August 1944), was producing fourteen aircraft per day. Revised and improved several times throughout World War II, the final variant, the B-24M, ended production on May 31, 1945. he United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) took delivery of its first B-24As in mid-1941. Over the next three years, B-24 squadrons deployed to all theaters of the war: African, European, China-Burma-India, the Anti-submarine Campaign, the Southwest Pacific Theater and the Pacific Theater. In the Pacific, to simplify logistics and to take advantage of its longer range, the B-24 (and its twin, the U.S. Navy PB4Y) was the chosen standard heavy bomber. By mid-1943, the shorter-range B-17 was phased out. The Liberators which had served early in the war in the Pacific continued the efforts from the Philippines, Australia, Espiritu Santo,Guadalcanal, Hawaii, and Midway Island. The Liberator peak overseas deployment was 45.5 bomb groups in June 1944. Additionally, the Liberator equipped a number of independent squadrons in a variety of special combat roles. The cargo versions, C-87 and C-109 tanker, further increased its overseas presence, especially in Asia in support of the XX Bomber Command air offensive against Japan. So vital was the need for long range operations, that at first USAAF used the type as transports. The sole B-24 in Hawaii was destroyed by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. It had been sent to the Central Pacific for a very long range reconnaissance mission that was preempted by the Japanese attack. The first USAAF Liberators to carry out combat missions were 12 repossessed LB-30s deployed to Java with the 11th Bombardment Squadron (7th Bombardment Group) that flew their first combat mission in mid-January. Two were shot up by Japanese fighters, but both managed to land safely. One was written off due to battle damage and the other crash-landed on a beach. US-based B-24s entered combat service in 1942 when on 6 June, four B-24s from Hawaii staging through Midway Island attempted an attack on Wake Island, but were unable to find it. The B-24 came to dominate the heavy bombardment role in the Pacific because compared to the B-17, the B-24 was faster, had longer range, and could carry a ton more bombs. In the European and North Africa Theatres On 12 June 1942, 13 B-24s of the Halverson Project (HALPRO) flying from Egypt attacked the Axis-controlled oil fields and refineries around Ploiești, Romania. Within weeks, the First Provisional Bombardment Group formed from the remnants of the Halverson and China detachments. This unit then was formalized as the 376th Bombardment Group, Heavy and along with the 98th BG formed the nucleus of the IX Bomber Command of the Ninth Air Force, operating from Africa until absorbed into the Twelfth Air Force briefly, and then the Fifteenth Air Force, operating from Italy. The Ninth Air Force moved to England in late 1943. This was a major component of the USSTAF and took a major role in strategic bombing. Fifteen of the 15th AF's 21 bombardment groups flew B-24s 1st August 1943 Operation Tidal Wave: A group of 177 American B-24 Liberator bombers, with 1,726 total crew, departed from Libya to make the first bombing of the oil refineries at Ploieşti, Romania, the major supplier of fuel to Germany. The mission temporarily halted oil production, but 532 airmen and 54 of the planes were lost. After a 40% loss of production, the refineries would be repaired more quickly than projected.[1] Germany's Radio Reconnaissance Service had intercepted and decrypted the Allied messages about the raid and the departure from Libya, and anti-aircraft defenses were in place despite the low-level approach of the bombers.

Liberator


Latest Liberator Artwork Releases !
 P-51 Mustangs come to the aid of a damaged and struggling B-24 Liberator as Luftwaffe fighters make an attack.

Help for the Straggler by Keith Aspinall.
 Flying at low-level over the Astra Romana oil refinery, Lt James Merrick of the 98th Bomb Group powers his B-24 'Lil De-icer' through the pall of burning debris as time-delayed bombs, dropped in error by a previous Group, explode beneath them.  With any hope of surprise now lost, and taking heavy losses in the process, the crews of the 98th bravely hold their bombers on course.  Allied planners knew that just over a third of all Germany's oil came from a single source - the oil fields at Ploesti, far to the east of deepest Romania.  If the oilfields and refineries at Ploesti could be destroyed, then Hitler's armies would be dealt a savage blow from which they might never recover.
To Hell and Back - Operation Tidal Wave by Anthony Saunders.
 The Spring of 1943 saw intense bombing raids on the Italian port city of Naples by American B.24s and the Italian pilots responded with spirited attacks on the Liberators, flying from their nearby base of Capodichino.  Just entering service with 22° Gruppo was the new Reggiane Re.2005 fighter, one of which can be seen here rolling away after a head-on attack on the bomber formation.  A 22° Gruppo Macchi 202 has just damaged a B.24 in the distance.

The Defence of Napoli by Ivan Berryman.
 Returning from a dogfight raid over Germany, B-24s of 93rd Bomb Group fly low over an East Anglian fishing village on Britains east coast.
Safe Haven by Nicolas Trudgian. (Y)

Liberator Artwork Collection



Ploesti, The Vital Mission by Robert Taylor.

Mustangs and Liberators by Richard Ward

Battle of the Atlantic by Richard Ward


The Long Patrol by Ivan Berryman.


Motley Crew by Tim Fisher.

Me262 1As of 3rd Gruppe JG7 by Randall Wilson. (GL)

Safe Haven by Nicolas Trudgian.


Hostile Sky by Robert Taylor


End Game by Nicolas Trudgian.


Safe by Keith Woodcock.


Operation Tidal Wave by Nicolas Trudgian.


Savage Skies by Robert Taylor.

B-24 Liberator by Nicolas Trudgian.


Thundering Home by Nicolas Trudgian. (B)


The Defence of Napoli by Ivan Berryman.

To Hell and Back - Operation Tidal Wave by Anthony Saunders.


Help for the Straggler by Keith Aspinall.

Welcome Sight by Robert Taylor.

The Dragon and his Tail by Stan Stokes.


Liberators by Stan Stokes.


Too Little Too Late by Stan Stokes.

Tail End Charlie by Stan Stokes.

Squadrons for : Liberator
A list of all squadrons from known to have used this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.
SquadronInfo

34th Bomb Group

Country : US

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34th Bomb Group

Full profile not yet available.

No.102 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 9th August 1917
Fate : Disbanded 27th April 1963
Ceylon

Tentate et perficite - Attempt and achieve

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No.102 Sqn RAF

No. 102 squadron was formed at Hingham in Norfolk in August 1917 and was equipped with FE2b and FE2ds and operated as a night bomber squadron. 102 squadron went to France and operated behind German lines with their main targets being railway stations, railway lines, and railway trains, specialising in night attacks. In March 1919 after the war had finished, 102 squadron returned to Britain and disbanded on the 3rd of July 1919. On the 1st of October 1935, 102 squadron was reformed at RAF Worthy Down with the role again as a night bomber squadron, initially using Handley Page Heyford aircraft. In October 1938, 102 Squadron became part of the newly formed No.4 group of Bomber Command based at RAF Driffield and was now equipped with the new Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber. 102 squadron dropped leaflets in the night from 4th to 5th September 1939 over Germany. The squadron spent six weeks on convoy escort duty under the command of Coastal Command from 1st September until 10th October 1940 flying from Prestwick. 102 Squadron returned to bomber command and soon after Leonard Cheshire won his DSO. On the night of 12th/13th November 1940, Whitley V P5005 found itself slightly off course above the primary target due to problems with the intercom. Changing instead to a secondary target, some railway marshalling yards near Cologne, Pilot Officer Leonard Cheshire suddenly felt his aircraft rocked by a series of violent explosions that caused a severe fire to break out in the fuselage, filling the cockpit with acrid black smoke. As DY-N plunged some 2,000 feet, Cheshire managed to regain control and the fire was eventually extinguished. For bringing his aircraft safely home to 102 Squadrons base after being airborne for eight and half hours, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. 102 Squadron continued for the next thirty-six months to fly night sorties (including the thousand bomber raids) over Germany. In 1944 the squadron attacked rail targets in France in preparation for the invasion. In February 1942 the squadron was adopted by the island of Ceylon, which paid for aircraft for use by the squadron. The squadron transferred to Transport Command on 8th March 1945 and in September 1945 re-equipped with Liberators. The squadrons main role was the return of troops and POWs back from India and it disbanded on the 28th of February 1946. No.102 Squadron used the following aircraft : Fe2b from August 1917 to July 1919. Handley Page Heyford from October 1935 to May 1939 - specifically Mk.II from October 1935 to April 1937 and Mk.III from December 1935 to May 1939. Armstrong Whitworth Whitley from October 1938 to February 1942, specifically Mk.IV from October 1938 to January 1940 and Mk.V from November 1939 to February 1942. Handley Page Halifax from December 1941 to September 1945, specifically Mk.II from December 1941 to May 1944, Mk.III from May 1944 to September 1945 and Mk.VI from July 1945 to September 1945. Consolidated Liberator Mks.VI and VIII from September 1945 February 1946. English Electric Canberra B.2 from October 1954 to August 1956.

No.104 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st September 1917
Fate : Disbanded 24th May 1963

Strike hard

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No.104 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.120 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st January 1918

Endurance

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No.120 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.148 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 10th February 1918
Fate : Disbanded 1st May 1965

Trusty

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No.148 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.160 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st June 1918
Fate : Disbanded 30th September 1946

Api soya paragasamu - We seek and strike

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No.160 Sqn RAF

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No.203 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1977

Occidens oriensque - West and east

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No.203 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.206 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918

Nihil nos effugit - Naught escapes us

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No.206 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.220 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 10th July 1963

We observe unseen

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No.220 Sqn RAF

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No.223 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 23rd August 1963

Alae defendunt Africam - Wings defend Africa

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No.223 Sqn RAF

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No.224 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st April 1918
Fate : Disbanded 31st October 1966

Fedele all amico - Faithful to a freind

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No.224 Sqn RAF

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No.31 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 11th October 1915

In caelum indicum primus - First into Indian skies

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No.31 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.311 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 29th July 1940
Fate : Disbanded 15th February 1946
Czech

Na mnozstui nehledte - Never regard their numbers

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No.311 Sqn RAF

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No.355 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 18th August 1943
Fate : Disbanded 31st May 1946

Liberamus per caerula - We liberate through tropical skies

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No.355 Sqn RAF

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No.358 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 8th November 1944
Fate : Disbanded 21st November 1945

Alere flamman - To feed the flame

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No.358 Sqn RAF

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No.423 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 18th May 1942
Fate : Disbanded 3rd September 1945

Quaerimus et petimus - We search and strike

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No.423 Sqn RCAF

Formed at Oban on 18th May 1942 flying Sunderlands, the squadron moved to Lough Erne on 3rd November 1942. Later they re-equipped with Liberators at Bassingbourn and were part of Transport Command. This squadron and No.422 Sqn were the only Canadian squadrons to fly the Sunderland.

No.426 Sqn RCAF

Country : Canada
Founded : 15th October 1942
Fate : Disbanded 31st December 1945
Thunderbird

On wings of fire

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No.426 Sqn RCAF

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No.53 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 15th May 1916
Fate : Disbanded 14th September 1976

United in effort

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No.53 Sqn RAF

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No.59 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 21st June 1916
Fate : Disbanded 4th January 1961

Ab uno disce omes - From one learn all

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No.59 Sqn RAF

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No.86 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st September 1917
Fate : Disbanded 25th April 1946

Ad libertates volamus - We fly to freedom

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No.86 Sqn RAF

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Signatures for : Liberator
A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this aircraft. A profile page is available by clicking their name.
NameInfo

Jim Auton MBE
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Jim Auton MBE

Nav/Air Bomber on Liberators based in Italy. Took part in the air bridge to Warsaw, Poland. Bombed the Ploesti, Rumanian oilfields.



Warrant Officer Bill Bailey
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Warrant Officer Bill Bailey

Bill completed a full tour with 31 SAAF Squadron. As a Rear Gunner on Liberators based in Italy, he saw action over the Balkans, Austria and Southern Germany and also took part in the air supply to the partisans during the Warsaw uprising.



S/Sgt Frederick C Chevalier
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S/Sgt Frederick C Chevalier

Born in Marshall, Texas in 1920, Frederick Chevalier graduated from Marshall High School in 1938. He registered for the draft in October of 1941, and attained a high enough score on his General Classification Test to choose his branch of service. He chose the Army Air Corp. After completing basic training at Sheppard Field, Texas, Chevalier received advance training at Chanute and Boca Raton. He served a stint as a Drill Instructor at Sheppard Field, Texas prior to attending Electronics and Radar School. Following completion of this school, he was sent to the Pacific aboard a tanker filled with 100-octane aviation gasoline. Not a pretty thought with Japanese submarines on the prowl. His job on board was as caretaker for a group of ten P-38s and P-61s being transported into combat. He had to maintain the waterproofing on these aircraft, which was a time consuming job given the storms they encountered on route. Chevalier finally arrived in New Guninea and reported to the replacement depot there. He was assigned to the 90th Bomb Group Jolly Rogers, and he flew fifteen missions with this unit in their B-24s. He was then transferred to the 312 h Bomb Group where he would serve as a Radar Countermeasures Operator. Chevalier was on board the Hobo Queen, a B-32 Dominator, which came under attack of August 18, 1945. Two aircraft, the Hobo Queen and the Hobo Queen 11 were jumped by more that a dozen Japanese fighters while flying photoreconnaissance over Tokyo. The Hobo Queen took the worst of the attack, and lost Sgt. Marchione During the attack the Hobo Queen went into a power dive. After leveling out from the dive, the aircraft commander asked Chevalier to shut down his radar counter measures equipment and tend to the injuries of S/Sgt Lacharite who was wounded during the attack. During the long flight back to Okinawa Chevalier would loosen the tourniquet on Lacharites leg every 15 minutes to allow some blood to flow. Arriving back at Okinawa the commander of the Hobo Queen was unable to bank the aircraft because of a feathered prop. Despite these problems they landed without incident. After leaving the Army Air Corps Fredericks civilian career focused around electrical contracting and the electrical power industry. He retired from Southwestern Electrical Power Company in May of 1982. He resides in Shreveport, Louisiana with his wife of fifty-three years, the former Wilma Sampson. Frederick has two children, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.



Miss Lettice Curtis
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Miss Lettice Curtis

Joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in July 1940 having been taken on to ferry Tiger Moths. Although we were later allowed to ferry other training types such as Oxfords and Masters, it was not until the autumn of 1941 that women were allowed to fly operational aircraft types. I flew my first Hurricane in August 1941 and my first Spitfire a couple of weeks later. After a brief course on a Blenheim I was cleared to fly without any further training, twin-engine bombers up to the Wellington. In November 1943 I was sent on a Halifax course, which due to unserviceability and bad weather closed, restarting in February 1943 at Pocklington where I was cleared for ferrying Halifaxes. After that without further training, I ferried Lancasters and over 100 Stirlings. In November 1945 I ferried 14 Liberators.



Lieutenant Colonel Robert W Dees
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Lieutenant Colonel Robert W Dees

'Bob' Dees originally joined the Army Corps of Engineers in 1941 but transferred to the Air Corps for pilot training in Jan 1943. Assigned to the 4th and then 18th Squadron, 34th Bomb Group, Bob flew the South Atlantic route to Mendlesham, England, in early 1944 and was soon in the thick of the action on operations against military and industrial targets in Germany and occupied Europe. He flew the first of his 31 combat missions on 24th May 1944, flying the B24, before the 34th converted to B-17 Flying Fortresses on which he finished his tour. He had flown 31 combat missions, 14 of which were as lead crew pilot. Bob Dees was awarded the Air Medal with five Oak clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.



Flying Officer Jack Easter
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Flying Officer Jack Easter

Joining the RAF in 1940 he was a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner on both Halifaxes and Liberators with 148 Sqn which served on Special Duties carrying out supply drops and pick-up missions to resistance groups. Before leaving the RAF in December 1945 he had completed 75 Operations and over 500 hours of flying.



USAF Colonel Travis Hoover
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17 / 1 / 2004Died : 17 / 1 / 2004
USAF Colonel Travis Hoover

Travis Hoover was born September 21, 1917 at Melrose, New Mexico. He graduated from Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California in 1938. He enlisted in the National Guard in 1938, and became a Flying Cadet in the Regular Army in 1939. By May of 1940 Hoover had earned his wings and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He was selected to participate in the first bombing raid on Tokyo in 1942, which was both planned and lead by Jimmy Doolittle. Hoover piloted the second B-25 off the Homet's deck and caught up with the aircraft piloted by Doolittle. They attacked Tokyo together. This was the first strike back against the Japanese homeland and occurred only four months following the Pearl Harbor raid. Hoover's B-25 headed west towards China following the attack, and as they reached the Chinese coast they ran out of fuel. They made a forced landing in Japanese occupied territory. They were able to evade the Japanese forces for several days, and eventually they contacted a Chinese student, Tung Sheng Lin, who guided Hoover's crew to safety. Undoubtedly Tung Sheng Lin's courage and valor, and his utter disregard for his own safety, prevented Hoover's crew from being captured and executed. Hoover made it back to America, and he continued to serve his country. He flew B-25s and B-24s out of England, North Africa, and Italy from September of 1942 until May of 1944. He then volunteered to fly P-38 Lightnings in the fighter and dive bomber roles in Italy for another few months. He flew a total of 73 combat missions in WW 11. Later in the War, Hoover instructed in air operations at the Command and General Staff School at Leavenworth, Kansas. His peacetime overseas service included tours in both Okinawa and Turkey. In 1949 he earned his B.A. degree from the University of California. Stateside assignments included Kansas, Washington, D.C., California, Texas, and Mississippi. He completed enough flying hours to earn his command pilot's wings. Travis retired from the Air Force with the rank of Colonel. His numerous decorations include the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leak Cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Chinese Army, Navy, and Air Corps Medal, Class A V' Grade. Retiring in 1969 to San Antonio, Texas, Col. Hoover currently resides in Joplin, Missouri. Travis Hoover passed away 17th January 2004.



Brigadier General Henry Huglin
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10 / 12 / 2005Died : 10 / 12 / 2005
Brigadier General Henry Huglin

Henry Huglin was Born in Iowa, in 1915. After being director of B-24 training, in 1944 Henry Huglin became deputy group commander of the 9th Bombardment Group at McCook, Nebraska, which in that year was organized and trained as a B-29 Group. In February 1945 he accompanied the group in its overseas deployment to Tinian in the Marianas Islands where it became part of the 20th Air Force conducting the strategic air campaign against Japan. In March 1945 he became group commander and remained as the group commander through the end of World War II six months later. During this period, he led his Group on 17 of their 75 bombing and mining missions (comprising more than 2,000 sorties of 3,000 miles each) in the war against Japan, including participating in the first low-level fire raid on Tokyo March 5, 1945. Promoted to Colonel in June 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Bronze Star. After the end of World War II, Colonel Huglin served as chief of the Operations Branch in the U.S. Strategic Air Force Headquarters on Guam, a month with Headquarters, Far East Air Forces in the Philippines, a year as chief of staff of the 308th Bomb Wing in Korea, and seven months as commanding officer of Nagoya Air Base, Japan. In January of 1948, Colonel Huglin reported to Air Force Headquarters in the Pentagon where he served until October of that year as chief of the Personnel Statistics Division, Office of the Comptroller, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. On the 10th of June 1959, Colonel Huglin was promoted to Brigadier Generaland became deputy U.S. representative to the NATO Military Committee and Standing Group, Nov. 1, 1959. Sadly Brigadier General Huglin died on the 10th of December 2005.



Group Captain Brian Kingcome DSO DFC
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1994Died : 1994
Group Captain Brian Kingcome DSO DFC

Brian Fabris Kingcome was born in Calcutta on May 31st 1917. Brian Kingcome was educated at Bedford and in 1936 entered the RAF College, Cranwell. Soon after he began his pilot course he was seriously injured in a car accident and was told by the RAF medical board that he would never fly again as he was expected to suffer permanent double vision. But after months in hospital and with Brians strength of character he proved the board wrong. In 1938 he was posted to No 65, a biplane Gladiator fighter squadron based at Hornchurch. Brian Kingcome took part in the Battles of France and Dunkirk but transferred to 92 Squadron as a flight commander and flying Spitfires in May 1940 scoring his first victories in June 1940. Brian Kingcome became acting commanding officer during the latter stages of the Battle of Britain. During this time he and his pilots achieved the highest success rate of any squadron in the entire Battle of Britain. After being shot down by Me109s and wounded, he returned to active operations. In February 1942 he was posted to command 72 Squadron, followed by promotion to Wing Leader at Kenley. In May 1943 he was posted to lead 244 Wing in the Mediterranean during the invasion of Sicily. An Ace, Brian Kingcome flew Spitfires in combat continually until the end of 1944, his tally finishing at 8 and 3 shared destroyed, plus a score of probables and damaged. One of the prewar Cranwell elite, Brian Kingcome was to become one ofthe Second World Wars great fighter leaders, alongside such immortals as Douglas Bader, Bob Stanford Tuck and Johnnie Johnson. At the outbreak of war he was serving in 65 Squadron, but in May 1940 was posted to 92 Squadron as flight commander. On 25 May he shared a Do 17 and on 2 June destroyed two He l l Is and damaged a third. He shared a Ju 88 with two others on I0 July, and again on the 24th. On 9 September he probably destroyed a Bf 110 and two days later shot down a He 111. On the 14th he damaged another. He shot down a Bf 109 on the 23rd and next day probably destroyed another and damaged a Ju 88. Three days later he shared a Ju 88 again, damaged two others, probably destroyed a Do 17, and damaged one of these also. Around this time he was awarded a DFC for six victories, and on 11 October got a Bf 109 He claimed another next day, and also damaged one. In 1941 he became commanding officer, having frequently led the squadron. It will be noted that he claimed many probables and damaged during the Battle of Britain, and this was due to his view that it was more important to hit as many as possible than to try and confirm victories. On 16 June 1941 lie probably destroyed a Bf 109, and on 24 July shot one down. He was then rested until late in the year, when he was posted to command 72 Squadron, and in February 1942 gave escort cover to the Fleet Air Arm pilot Eugene Esmonde, who won the VC trying to attack German capital ships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and and the cruiser ‘Prinz Eugen’ with Swordfish during the Channel Dash. In atrocious weather Kingcome caught a fleeting glimpse of tbe Scharnhorst - Oh what a beautiful battleboat! he exclaimed, just as a shell made a hole the size of a dustbin lid in his port wing. During 1941 he received a Bar to his DFC, having brought his score to 10. He was promoted to lead the Kenley wing, and on 15 April 1942 damaged a Fw 190. He probably destroyed a Bf 109 on 28 May, and during the year was awarded a DSO, having added another victory to his score. In 1943 he was posted to North Africa to lead 244 Wing, and lead this for 18 months, becoming a Gp. Capt. after the invasion of Italy. By the end of his stay with the wing he had brought his score to 18, and was then posted as SASO of a Liberator group, and flew an operation as a waist gunner over northern Yugoslavia after taking up this appointment. Sadly Group Captain Brian Kingcome passed away aged 76 in 1994.



First Lieutenant Don Nielsen
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First Lieutenant Don Nielsen

A pilot with the 457th Bomb Group, Don Nielson had joined up in February 1943, originally training for combat flying on B24 Liberators. In November 1944 he was posted to England, joining the 751st Squadron, 457th Bomb Group at Glatton flying B17 Fortresses - first as co-pilot and then as First Pilot, undertaking the first combat mission of his tour on 12 December 1944. On 3 February 1945 he took part in the big raid on Berlin, which was the heaviest concentration on the German capital so far in the war, encountering some of the most intense and accurate flak ever experienced by the Eighth. During his tour Don took part in a total of 34 raids, all on B17s.



Colonel Albert Shower
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15 / 10 / 2001Died : 15 / 10 / 2001
Colonel Albert Shower

Al Shower was the only Group Commander in the Eighth Air Force to bring a Group to the U.K. and to command it until the end of hostilities. His dedication and leadership on 30 missions, gave the 467th Bomber Group’s B-24s the best overall standing for bombing accuracy in the Eighth Air Force during World War II. Colonel Albert J Shower passed away on 15th October 2001.




Major Robert Simpson
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Major Robert Simpson

Signing up in June 1941, Robert Simpson served both in Europe and the South Pacific. Initially with the 42nd Sqn, 11th B.G., 7th Air Force in the South Pacific, his first landing in a B17 was on a steel strip in a coconut grove. After participating in the bitter battles of the Solomons and at Guadalcanal, he transferred to Europe joining the 8th Air Force in England for the battle against Germany. During World War Two he flew both the B17 and B24.



Flight Lieutenant Robert Souter
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Flight Lieutenant Robert Souter

Robert Souter joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in February 1941, and after training was posted in 1942 to the Middle East, joining No.108 Squadron then flying Wellingtons. He first flew operationally in June of that year, in the Western Desert campaign, and the last operation of his first tour was in Nov 1942 with the battle of El Alamein. After a period with No.26 OTUWing, Robert undertook a second tour - this time flying Lancasters with No.49 Squadron, up to the end of the war. He had completed a total of 47 operations by that time. After the war he flew Dakotas and Liberators with RAF Transport Command.




Major Robert W. Sternfels
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Major Robert W. Sternfels

Pilot Bob Sternfels was posted to the 98th Bomb Group flying B24 Liberators, and by April 1943 was in Libya where he took part in the first big Ploesti raid on 1 August 1943, flying the much photographed B24 Sandman. Flying 50 combat missions, he later commanded his squadron out of Libya and Italy, including a big Ragensberg raid.



Colonel Robert Vickers
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28 / 1 / 2010Died : 28 / 1 / 2010
Colonel Robert Vickers

Colonel Vickers graduated from high school in Fort Wayne, IN and enlisted in the United States Air Force as an Aviation Cadet in 1942. He entered pilot training in 1943, earning pilots wings and officer commission in 1944, subsequently training as a B-24 Liberator Bomber Pilot and aircrew commander. He was assigned combat crew duty with U.S. 8th Air Force, 392nd Bomb Group (B-24s) in Wendling, Norfolk, England in late 1944 and flew 30 combat missions over Nazi Germany. His aircraft was shot down while on a mission near Dresden, Germany on January 16, 1945. The crew bailed out over friendly front lines in the Battle of the Bulge area near Metz, France and behind the rear guard of General George Pattons 3rd Army. Colonel Vickers trained as a B-29 Superfortress Instructor Pilot for the Pacific Theatre as WW II closed. After 32 years of continuous active USAF duty he retired on May 1, 1975. Among the aircraft he piloted during his distinguished USAF career was the B-52, which now sits in the American Air Museum. Colonel Vickers was awarded Legion of Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross; Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal with multiple Oak Leaf clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters; Presidential Unit Citations (392nd BG), WWII and SAC (28th BW), B-52 Cold War operations, Major Overseas War Campaign ribbons for European Theatre of Operations, WWII, w/ Battle Stars; Berlin Airlift; Korean and Vietnam conflicts. A decorated pilot, he amassed more than 10,000 flying hours, all in an Air Force bomber, including missions in Vietnam. Colonel Robert E Vickers Jr, passed away on January 28, 2010.




F/Lt Geoffrey Ware, DFC AE FCA
Click the name above to see prints signed by F/Lt Geoffrey Ware, DFC AE FCA
F/Lt Geoffrey Ware, DFC AE FCA

Started his RAF career in December 1940 at No 1 Receiving Wing Babbacombe, then No 4 Initial Training Wing at Paignton. A long wait in the Liverpool area during which it was sunbathing or fatigues, led to a five-week trip in convoy to South Africa. There followed an enthralling year in what was then Southern Rhodesia for Elementary Flying Training on Tiger Moths and Service Flying Training on Harvards leading to the award of Wings. Instead of being sent to the Middle East, as was normal, a fast, unescorted trip took a boatload of fledgling pilots and navigators back to the UK. It appeared that the strategy of the war had changed and the emphasis was then on the build up of Bomber Command and therefore he was converted to multi-engined aircraft on Oxfords at South Cerney and on Wellingtons at further conversion to Stirlings at Waterbeach, plus two further crew members (making a crew of seven) and on to an operational tour with XV Squadron at Bourn and the award of the WC. It may be appropriate here to mention that the navigator was Brian E.B. Harris, DFC who has provided pictures and information to the authors of Oxford's Own (a history of XV Squadron) and The Stirling. He has also produced a video tape called Remember The Stirling. Brian is now the Chairman of 7he Stirling Project' which is a charity devoted to trying to build a Stirling aircraft for display purposes. (for further details tel: 01483 892626) Following the appropriate training F/Lt Ware became an Instructor at an Operational Training Unit and was Mentioned in Dispatches. After the War was over he transferred to Transport Command and spent the rest of his time in the RAF flying Liberators, mostly empty, to Karachi, and returning with 26 passengers, mostly troops. It was not easy to give up flying completely and he remained with the RAFVR and the RAux AF until they closed down, as a relief from and transition to, training to be a Chartered Accountant.



Captain Rolland H Whited
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Captain Rolland H Whited
Captain Rolland H Whited

The Captain and pilot of the 34th Bomb Group B-17 Flying Fortress Queenie, Rolland Whited arrived in England with the 391st Bomb Squadron, 34th Bomb Group in April 1944. He flew his first combat mission on June 20th. A veteran of many heavy bombardment missions he flew on operations against Luftwaffe airfields, VI rocket sites, chemical plants and the railroad marshalling yards at Cologne and Ludwigshafen. After completing 26 missions on B24s, the 34th re-equipped with B17 Flying Fortresses. Rolland flew a further 8 missions on the B17, flying his final mission in January 1945. He holds the Air Medal with three Oak clusters in addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross.


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