Yesterday's Air Force - KH401.

KH401 is a Liberator BVI built by Consolidated at Fort Worth as a B24J - 95 CF/44-44272 and delivered by 6 FU,

45 Group, R.A.F. TC in late 1944. It served first with 357 Squadron R.A.F. 357 Squadron was a Special Duties Squadron which used Liberators, Lysanders, Dakotas and Hudsons for its clandestine sorties. The sorties included supply drops, supplying agents to insurgent groups behind Japanese lines in Burma, Malaya and Indo-China and also flying sorties over the 'Hump' to China. Some sorties were also flown for the O.S.S.(The American Agency). In April 1945 KH401 was transferred to 232 Squadron stationed at Poona and Palam. 232 was a Transport Squadron and flew daily between Delhi and Ceylon as well as the flights per month to Australia via Cocos Islands.

The I.A.F. took KH 401 on charge for its 6 TM Squadron and coded it 'P' with the serial HE771.

It was then acquired by David Tallichet Jnr. of "Yesterday's Air Force" Chino, California, and flown from Poona to the U.S.A. beginning its journey in 1973 with the U.S. registration N94459. When the aircraft reached England it was suffering mechanical troubles and had to land at R.A.F. Mildenhall, a U.S. base, for repairs. It was then flown to Duxford arriving on 8th November 1973, it remained there until August 1975.

During its stay at Duxford the Liberator was fitted with another No.3 engine and many other minor repairs were carried out. Finally the aircraft was lovingly restored to represent B24J 44-250551, 389 Bomb Group, 8th Air Force which had been based at Hethel, Norfolk in 1944.

On 25th August 1975 KH401 now "Delectable Doris" was given a rousing send-off from Duxford; being escorted to Stansted, its first stop, by a Hurricane, 2 Spitfires and a Lancaster of the "Battle of Britain" Flight. From Stansted the Liberator flew to Prestwick where it suffered an undercarriage collapse which was duly repaired and then on its way via Keflavik in Iceland to the U.S.A.

(Author's Note: David Page who was a crew member on "Delectable Doris" on the flight from Duxford to Prestwick tells me the No.3 engine which was replaced into D.D. was one from the Pima County Museum's Liberator The No.3 engine being flown from. Tucson to Duxford by a U.S.A.A.F. aircraft and the unserviceable engine was placed into the Pima aircraft which was not going to fly again). KH401 is with Kermit Weeks at the time of writing.

At Prestwick

At Duxford, 1975

With BoB Flight

First Flight Duxford

Duxford, 1973