R.A.F. LIBERATORS IN S.E.A.C.
Although the most numerously built military aircraft in the United States during World War two was the B24 liberator, a total of 18,188 having been built. After hostilities ceased, practically every Liberator that remained was scrapped, thousands in the U.S. alone.
The most prolific of the types of Liberators produced was the B24J and a short time after the war, it was believed that none had escaped "the breaker's yard", and it is to India that the story should now turn.
Fortunately, there are at least five former R.A.F. South East Asia Command Liberators still in existence today, these had been left in India by the R.A.F. after Indian Independence in August 1947. They were 2 BVIs, 2 GRVIs, and 1 BVIII, that is in U.S. parlance 4 B24Js and 1 B24L. Their R.A.F. serial numbers were KH191, KH304, KH401, KN751 and KN820, all were supplied under Lend Lease during 1944,and 1945.
Tribute to the I.A.F.
The fullest possible credit .;must be given to the Royal Indian Air Force - later the Indian Air Force for maintaining and flying these Liberators for 2O years (longer than any other Air Force) without any serious accident and for the excellent standard of maintenance, in particular, obtained through the spare parts canabalised from the many Liberators left by the Royal Air Force at Chakeri. Parts were taken from as many as forty aircraft to keep 6 Squadron with 16 serviceable Liberators.
There are believed to be several Liberators at Poona in various states of serviceability including HE 848 'D' and HE 846 'T'. There are two other static Liberators on display one in the capitol Delhi and one in Bangalore. At Palam is HE 924.
Note: The author would welcome any information on the Squadron Unit history of KH 191 between September 1944 and May 1945.
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