Pima County Museum - KH304.
R.A.F. Liberator GRVI serialled KH304 was built at Fort Worth as a B24J - 90 - CF 44 -44175 and was delivered by a Noo. 6 Ferry Unit, Royal Air Force Transport Command (45 Group) crew to Air Command South East Asia (A.C.S.E.A.) in the Autumn of 1944.
KH304 served with 354 Squadron based at Cuttack, Eastern India, Kankesanterai in Ceylon and with detachments at St: Thomas Mount. 354 Squadron harassed Japanese shipping in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean with considerable success including the sinking of the "Risni Maru". River traffic was also attacked by this Squadron during the Burma Campaign.
On May 5th 1945, 354 Squadron was disbanded and KH304 was taken on charge by 203 Squadron serving at Kankesanterai with detachments at Akyab and Cocos Islands. This Squadron took part in supply drops, ferry duties and the repatriation of Allied POWs, as well as Coastal Patrols. During its service with 203 Squadron KH304 was coded "G".
After the R.A.F. left India the Indian Air Force formed 6 M.R.(Maritime Reconnaissance) Squadron and took KH304 on charge and gave it the I.A.F. serial HE877 and coded it "A".
In 1968 the Pima County Air Museum in Tucson, Arizona learned that the I.A.F. was to phase out its Liberators. A request was made to the Chief of Air Staff at Delhi for one of the surplus aircraft and was granted with the stipulation that KH304 (now HE877) be collected and the expense (around $10,000) paid by the Museum.
The money was raised by donations and after an 11,000 mile flight by a volunteer U.S.A.F. crew, starting at Poona and lasting 75 hours spread over 31 days, the aircraft arrived at Tucson, on the morning of 27th April 1969.
It occupied pride of place in the Museum where it was known as "Pima Paisano". It carries its I.A.F. markings with code "A" and serial H877 on the starboard side and had U.S.A.A.F markings and "Pima Paisano" nose art on the port side.
KH304 has undergone another change recently and its port side is now painted to represent a Liberator of 9 Bomb Squadron, 7 Bomb Group, 10th Air Force, U.S. serial 44-40282. The nose art is "SHOOT YOU'RE COVERED".
Because of the Museum's desert situation with it's dry climate the Liberator is in a good state of preservation. The Museum. according to its' Curator, Tom Barrette, does not intend to fly the Liberator again but keep it on static display.