View Full Version : Calling all spotters, enthusiasts and clever fellows, identify a Liberator, please!

16th Nov 2004, 19:22
I have a photo of an RAF Liberator transport, whose RAF serial is invisible.
It's a No.206 Squadron aircraft, with the codes PQ-L on the rear fuselage, and 'ML' on the front of the nose, on the fairing that has replaced the front turret. The name 'DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE' is under the cockpit, and a small disney dragon and the name 'The Reluctant Dragon' is further forward, in front of and below an RAF Transport Command crest.

The (modification centre?) code 29-289 is applied low on the forward fuselage.

Or can anyone suggest anywhere else to ask?

17th Nov 2004, 01:14
You may try at this place


it's looks like pretty well Spotters/warbirds orientated

17th Nov 2004, 05:31
PQ-L was carried by a MkVIII, KK335 but a shot of that shows a front turret and no other markings as you mention.

PQ-L was also carried by a MkVI, KK375 but I have no photo's of that one.

There were probably others with the code but it's a start..

Fris B. Fairing
17th Nov 2004, 08:27

Tried to send you a PM but your mailbox is full. I have a mate who might be able to help. Let me know when you clear your mailbox and I will send you his email address.


17th Nov 2004, 10:31
Thanks chaps. All useful.

I was being sloppy - this photo could show a Mk VIII, since there's no sure way of telling a VI from an VIII by a photo if you can't see the serial. :8 The aircraft also appears to be in Coastal Command colours, suggesting that it may have been one of 206's wartime aircraft, hastily converted to transport duties when the war ended, when the unit had only VIIIs on charge. The Squadron later gained further aircraft (including converted GR.MK VIs) but these were mostly stripped of their Coastal Command camouflage.

The VIII differed from the VI only in having a re-located wireless operatorís station above the rear bomb bay. This gave more space in the nose for a better-equipped and roomier navigatorís station. The Coastal Command VIIIs also had an with improved 3-centimetre Mk X or Mk XV radar, and some had a radar bomb sight was known as LABS (Low Altitude Bomb Sight) for security reasons, linked the main radar, the attack radar (in the bomb-aimerís position) the Fluxgate Master Compass and the auto-pilot. Though most VIIIs were Ford-built B-24Ls, some were Consolidated-built Js, and a handful were Ford-built Js. Mk VIs were mostly Consolidated-built Js (and all GR VIs were Consolidated built) but some were Ford-built B-24Js and Ls.

From the photo, it looks as though 'The Reluctant Dragon' was not San Diego built (the nose gear doors open outwards) and isn't an 'L' - since it lacks the big 'scanning' windows and extended bomb-aimer's glazing. It's most likely a Consolidated-built B-24J.

Bearing in mind how many Libs 206 got through, I'd suspect that there may have been half a dozen 'PQ-L's - or perhaps even more, but KK335 is a candidate (a Consolidated-built J which would have lost its turret on conversion to the transport role) and so is KK375 (another Consolidated J).

Biggles Flies Undone
17th Nov 2004, 11:25
There's a picture of a 'Reluctant Dragon' here (http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/bombers/b2-45.htm)

I wonder if there may have been more than one, though, if there were a few people around with a classical sense of humour. I recall from a dim and very distant history lesson that [name forgotten] the Liberator of Rome declared that 'if Rome is a dragon, then it is a reluctant one'.

I really must get out more :(

17th Nov 2004, 12:26
Yes indeed! The Disney 'Reluctant Dragon' film was current then, so there were any number of 'Reluctant Dragon' nose arts - more on Libs (which could be reluctant to stagger into the air) than on other types, but also on B-17s and even a B-29.





Your Dragon is not the one I'm talking about, alas!