List of surviving Consolidated B-24 Liberators

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The Consolidated B-24 Liberator is an American four-engine heavy bomber used by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) and other allied air forces during World War II. Of the 19,256 aircraft built, 13 complete examples survive today, two of which are airworthy. Eight of the thirteen aircraft reside in the United States.

Post World War II[edit]

The B-24 was quickly declared obsolete by the USAAF and the remaining stateside aircraft were flown to desert storage in the US Southwest. In the Pacific theatre, many were simply parked, the oil drained from their engines and the aircraft left for reclamation by scrappers. By 1950, except for one B-24D held for preservation, the vast fleet of Liberators was gone. The last flight of a B-24 in US military service was on 12 May 1959 when Strawberry Bitch left Grissom Air Force Base (formerly Bunker Hill Air Force Base), Indiana following an Armed Forces Open House, bound for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where it is now displayed.

Lend-Lease[edit]

While at the end of the war both the British Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force were willing to continue operating the B-24, the terms of Lend-Lease agreements stipulated that these aircraft had to be either paid for or returned to the US, and vast graveyards of aircraft accumulated in India as well as Tarakan and Australia.[citation needed]

India[edit]

When India gained independence in 1947, 37 abandoned Liberators were refurbished for the Indian Air Force and served until their retirement in 1968. It is to this that the majority of the remaining B-24s owe their existence.[1]

Surviving aircraft[edit]

Surviving aircraft by manufacturer[edit]

Plant Number produced Number surviving
Consolidated San Diego (CO) 6,506 5
Consolidated Fort Worth (CF) 2,745 4
Ford Willow Run (FO) 8,685 4
North American Dallas (NT) 966 0
Douglas Tulsa (DT) 964 0
19,256 13

Surviving aircraft[edit]

Serial Geographic location Institutional location Status History Photo
40-2366 Fort Worth, Texas, United States Commemorative Air Force Airworthy
[2]
Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24A. Intended for RAF as AM927. Involved in landing accident during training flight. Returned to San Diego for repairs and not sent to England. Converted to use as transport aircraft, flying between San Diego, Fort Worth, New York, and Washington D.C. Following WW2, sold to Continental Can Co. and used as executive airplane until 1955. Then sold to Petroleos Mexicanos. Purchased in 1969 by CAF. In 1971 restored in livery of 98th Bomb Group, Pyramiders of the 9th Air Force. Converted in 2006 to B-24A. Since 2012 wears livery of "Diamond Lil." Along with 44-44052, one of only two airworthy B-24s.[3] DF-ST-88-06744-B-24-Gathering of Eagles convention.JPEG
41-23908 Roy, Utah, United States Hill Aerospace Museum Display Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24D. Sent to Fort Worth in late 1942 for modifications for Alaskan service. Assigned to 21st Bombardment Squadron at Adak Army Airfield. Crash landed on Great Sitkin Island 18 January 1943 due to bad weather. Located in summer 1994 by Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah. Recovered during summer 1995 and sent to California for restoration. Restored fuselage arrived at Hill Aerospace Museum 17 May 2002. Wings now completed and ready for final assembly.[4] B-24D 41-23908 21st Bomb Squadron.jpg
42-72843 Dayton, Ohio, United States National Museum of the United States Air Force Display Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24D. Assigned to 512th Bomb Squadron. Flew 56 missions between 20 September 1943 and 10 June 1944. Named as "Strawberry Bitch" at Herington Air Force Base by Flight Engineer Sergeant Haberman. Nose art painted at San Pancrazio, Italy.[5] Stored at Freeman Field, Illinois after WW2. Purchased by National Museum of the USAF in May 1959.[6] Consolidated B-24 Liberator "Strawberry Bitch" (6693342473).jpg
44-41906 Atwater, California, United States Castle Air Museum Display Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24M. Converted for use by United States Marine Corps as transport for commandant. Flown by Compañía Boliviana de Aviación and Bolivian Overseas Airways until 1973. Purchased by Castle Air Museum in 1982. Wears livery of 42-40369 "Shady Lady." Wears spurious serial 44-41916 on tail.[7] Consolidated B-24M Liberator ‘441916 - RE-H - B’ (29780276211).jpg
A72-176 Werribee, Victoria, Australia B-24 Liberator Memorial Restoration Fund Under restoration for display Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24M as 44-41956. Assigned to RAAF No. 7 OTU as A72-176 at East Sale Airfield. Struck off 23 March 1948. Wings and tail scrapped. Purchased in 1948 by George Toye, and moved to his property in 1952. Stored outside. Under restoration at the former RAAF Werribee by B-24 Liberator Memorial Restoration Fund. Tail and wings taken from 42-41091 "Bunny Hop/Flying Wolf."[8]
44-44052 Stow, Massachusetts, United States Collings Foundation Airworthy[9] Built at Consolidated Fort Worth as B-24J. Delivered to USAF October 1944. Assigned to RAF in India. Abandoned in Khanpur, India following WW2. One of 36 B-24s restored by IAF and used until 1968. Abandoned in India following service. In 1982, purchased by Doug Arnold and sent to England and stored at Blackbushe until 1986. Purchased by Collings Foundation and rebuilt by Tom Reilly Vintage Aircraft in Kissimmee, Florida, using livery of 42-78444 "All American." First flown 8 August 1989. Repainted as 44-40973 "The Dragon and His Tail" in 1998. In 2005 repainted as 42-52534 "Witchcraft." Along with 40-2366, one of only two airworthy B-24s.[10] Consolidated B-24J, The Collings Foundation AN2339546.jpg
44-44175 Tucson, Arizona, United States Pima Air and Space Museum Display Built at Consolidated Fort Worth as B-24J. Delivered to RAF South East Asia Command as KH304. Stricken off 11 April 1946. One of 36 B-24s restored by IAF and used until 1968. Placed in storage at Poona Air Base. Donated to Pima Air and Space Museum, arriving March 1969. Painted as "Paisano/Shoot You're Covered." Later painted as "Bungay Buckaroo."[11] 44-44175 Consolidated B-24J Liberator U.S. Air Force (( Left Hand Side )) (8744495020).jpg
HE924 Delhi, India Indian Air Force Museum Display Built at Consolidated Fort Worth as B-24J 44-44213. Delivered to RAF as KH342. Abandoned in India in 1946. One of 36 B-24s restored by IAF and used until 1968. Put on display at Indian Air Force Museum following service.[12]
44-44272 Polk City, Florida, United States Fantasy of Flight Display Built at Consolidated Fort Worth as B-24J. Delivered to RAF South East Asia Command as KH401. One of 36 B-24s restored by IAF and used until 1968. Acquired by Yesterdays Air Force of Chino, California in 1973. Restored by Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation in 1982. Loaned to March Field Air Museum in 1984 and to Mid-America Air Museum in 1987. Acquired in 2001 by Fantasy of Flight. Although not airworthy, it is registered with FAA as N94459.[13] Wears livery of 42-50551 "Joe."[14] Consolidated B-24J-90CF Liberator American Joe BelowLNose SNFSI FOF 15April2010 (14630356275).jpg
44-48781 Bossier City, Louisiana, United States Barksdale Global Power Museum Display Built at Ford Willow Run as B-24J. Struck off 7 December 1945. Purchased by Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, Oklahoma and used as and instructional airframe. Later stripped and left derelict. Sold as scrap in 1960 and stored at Tulsa Airport. Purchased in 1978 by National Museum of the United States Air Force. Transferred to Barksdale AFB in December 1978. Restored in 1982 with livery of "Laiden Maiden." Later painted as "Louisiana Belle II." Now wears livery of 42-73076.[15] Barksdale Global Power Museum September 2015 12 (Consolidated B-24J Liberator).jpg
44-50154 Ottawa, Canada Canada Aviation and Space Museum Display Built at Ford Willow Run as B-24L. Delivered to RAF in 1944 as KN820. Abandoned in India after WWII. Refurbished by IAF in 1949 as HE773 and used until 1968. After a Lysander from the National Air Museum was gifted to the Indian Air Force, the IAF reciprocated with HE773. Arrived in Canada June 1968. Wears livery of 44-50186 (RCAF 11130) of RCAF Eastern Air Command.[16]
KN751 Hendon, London, United Kingdom Royal Air Force Museum London Display Built at Ford Willow Run as B-24L 44-50206. Held in operational reserve until April 1945. Sent to Louisville, Kentucky in April 1945 for modifications. Flown to Dorval Field, Montreal, Quebec 2 June 1945. Sent to RAF 231 Group in Dhubalia, India as KN751. Served with 99 Squadron at Cocos Islands. One of 36 B-24s restored by IAF and used as HE807 until 1968.[17] Presented as gift to RAF Museum on 1 July 1974. Flown to UK and arrived 7 July at RAF Lyneham. Moved to Cosford in 1976. Painted in 99 Squadron markings with the "Flying Bee." motif[a]. Transported to Hendon in September 2005. B-24 Liberator at RAF Museum London Flickr 5315680545.jpg
44-51228 Duxford, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom Imperial War Museum Duxford Display Built at Ford Willow Run as B-24M. Assigned to Wright Aeronautical Development Center for ice research. Retired in 1953. Moved to Lackland AFB Museum in Texas for display in 1956. Acquired by IWM in 1999 in exchange for several other aircraft. Wears livery of 44-50493 "Dugan." Dedication ceremony in March 2001 attended by George H. W. Bush.[18] Consolidated B-24 Liberator (9127085252).jpg

Known wrecks[edit]

Serial Location Coordinates History Photo
40-2367 United States 52°01′49″N 175°08′13″W / 52.030395°N 175.136921°W / 52.030395; -175.136921 Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24A. Force-landed on Atka Island, Alaska 9 December 1942 due to poor weather. Listed on National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Designated part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in 2008.[19] World war 2 plane wreckage.jpg
41-24301 Libya 32°05′05″N 23°58′03″E / 32.084775°N 23.967476°E / 32.084775; 23.967476 Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24D. Named "Lady Be Good." Crashed in Libyan desert 4 April 1943. Discovered in November 1958. Removed in 1994 and now in the town of Tobruk, Libya. Lady Be Good Nose Section.jpg
41-24311 Turkey Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24D. "Hadley's Harem." Crashed near Antalya, Turkey after Operation Tidal Wave. Recovered in 1995 and put on display at Rahmi M. Koç Museum.
42-40885 Papua New Guinea 8°35′55″S 148°14′59″E / 8.598728°S 148.249611°E / -8.598728; 148.249611 Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24D. Crashed on 18 October 1943. Wreckage is situated north of Gona.[20]
42-51430 Croatia 43°00′47″N 16°12′40″E / 43.013095°N 16.211020°E / 43.013095; 16.211020 Built at Douglas Tulsa as B-24J. Named "Tulsamerican." Crash landed 17 December 1944 off coast of Vis on way back to Italy. Notable as last B-24 built at Douglas Tulsa plant. Discovered in late 2010.[21] Was the subject of a NOVA episode entitled "The Last B-24." B-24 "Tulsamerican" wreck.jpg
42-51874 Croatia 43°06′05″N 17°06′51″E / 43.101362°N 17.114182°E / 43.101362; 17.114182 Built at Ford Willow Run as B-24J. "Le Petite Fleur." Ditched off the island of Hvar 20 November 1944 after bombing raid on Blechhammer, Germany. Discovered in 2014.[22]
42-73134 Australia 12°25′56″S 130°41′48″E / 12.432249°S 130.696694°E / -12.432249; 130.696694 Built at Consolidated San Diego as B-24J. Named "Milady." Crashed near Wagait Beach near Darwin, Northern Territory on 7 January 1945. Listed on the Northern Territory Heritage Register on 4 July 2001.[23][24][25]
42-50890 Arizona, United States 35°20′27″N 111°41′25″W / 35.340898°N 111.690295°W / 35.340898; -111.690295 Built at Ford Willow Run as B-24J. Crashed in Arizona on 15 September 1944 while en route from Bakersfield, California to Kirtland Field, New Mexico. It flew off-course and crashed into a boulder field near the top of Humphreys Peak at 0330 hrs.[26]
AL557 United States 40°35′23″N 105°02′44″W / 40.589585°N 105.045441°W / 40.589585; -105.045441 Built at Consolidated San Diego as Liberator II (LB-30A). Crashed in Alaska in 1958. Sitting in yard at Vintage Aircraft Ltd, Fort Collins Downtown Airport.[27]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Flying Bee had been used on 99 Squadron Liberator KH399 coded "B"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "India's reclaimed B-24 bombers." Archived 2009-12-12 at the Wayback Machine Bhargava (bharat- rakshak.com). Retrieved: 25 December 2015.
  2. ^ "FAA Registry for N24927". registry.faa.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  3. ^ "CAF B-24/B29 Squadron". www.cafb29b24.org. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  4. ^ "B-24D "Liberator" > Hill Air Force Base > Display". www.hill.af.mil. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  5. ^ "42-72843 Strawberry Bitch". Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  6. ^ "Consolidated B-24D Liberator > National Museum of the US Air Force™ > Display". www.nationalmuseum.af.mil. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  7. ^ "Castle Air Museum Collection". www.castleairmuseum.org. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  8. ^ PacificWrecks.com. "Pacific Wrecks". Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  9. ^ "FAA Registry for N224J". registry.faa.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  10. ^ "Consolidated B-24J Liberator - The Collings Foundation". The Collings Foundation. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  11. ^ User, Super. "LIBERATOR". www.pimaair.org. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  12. ^ "AF Museum". indianairforce.nic.in. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  13. ^ "FAA Registry for N94459". registry.faa.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  14. ^ Clark/Nikdel/Powell. "1944 Consolidated B-24J Liberator". Fantasy of Flight. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  15. ^ "Barksdale Global Power Museum". www.barksdaleglobalpowermuseum.com. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  16. ^ "Consolidated Liberator GR VIII - Canada Aviation and Space Museum". casmuseum.techno-science.ca. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  17. ^ "Consolidated B24L-20-FO Liberator". www.rafmuseum.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  18. ^ "DUXFORD B-24". www.bcwarbirds.com. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  19. ^ "Atka B-24D Liberator (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  20. ^ "B-24D-110-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-40885". PacificWrecks.com. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  21. ^ Gamallo, Manny (2010-12-14). "All of famed B-24, The Tulsamerican, found in Adriatic; survivor remembers crash". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  22. ^ "Steve Doherty - Google+". Retrieved 2017-08-03.[self-published source]
  23. ^ http://wagait.nt.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/The-crash-of-the-Milady-January-17-1945-70-years-on-2015-Compiled-by-Jack-Ellis-Lorraine-Gardner-and-Jill-Mumme.pdf
  24. ^ https://northernterritory.com/darwin-and-surrounds/see-and-do/wreck-of-b24j-liberator-bomber-milady
  25. ^ "WWII B-24J Liberator Aircraft Wreck". Heritage Register. Northern Territory Government. 4 July 2001. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  26. ^ "September 15, 1944: USAAF Consolidated TB-24J (42-50890), Humphreys Peak, San Francisco Peaks, AZ". LostFlights.com. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  27. ^ Henniger, Mike. "Aerial Visuals - Airframe Dossier - Consolidated LB-30 Liberator, s/n AL557 RAF, c/n 0055 {1}, c/r N92MK". www.aerialvisuals.ca. Retrieved 2018-05-20.