December, 2017 News
Thanks to all who returned their proxy vote papers. We easily made the quorum number. 28 members attended and we had 32 proxy votes. As our membership has dropped to 244 we were legal. The Amendment to the Constitution passed unanimously so the definition of our status as a not for profit organisation is now part of the Constitution.
2018 Executive: Lyn Gorman (President), Ken Abbott (Vice President). Judy Gilbert (Secretary), Murray Spowart (Treasurer)
2018 Committee of Management: Graham Collis, John Keevins, Bob Rose, Paul Rourke, Tony Maher, Tony Muller and Cyril Curtain (Nat Trust)
This was awarded to Tony Maher for his work as hangar manager and his long term commitment to Committee service.
Ken Bullen Award
Hangar workers awarded this to Margot Muller this year for her dedicated work in the shop and for her catering expertise. She spends hours preparing refreshments for visitors and in shopping. Best eye for a bargain anywhere!!!!
Unfortunately, Murray is unable to continue as Treasurer from mid-January. We have a couple of possible replacements at the moment. Will let you know when we officially have anew Treasurer.
The hangar will close to visitors from Thursday, 14th December 2017 and re-open Tuesday, 9th January 2018. If you have interstate or international visitors who really want to see the Liberator ring 03 07340094 and we MAY be able to open up for you. No promises!
Doug has just about completed the port wing so he is now designing and building a mobile cradle that can be used to support the wing on its edge and allow it to be moved safely when necessary. This will enable Doug to complete the last few jobs standing beside the wing surface….much more comfortable.
As usual: a work of art
The wing in its cradle will be able to stand between the Oxford area and the Boomerang allowing work to begin on the starboard wing.
Liberator A72-176 2017 Progress (Dave Miller)
As the majority of the major assemblies have been restored to a completed condition our activities this year have been focused on the overhauling and installation of system components that will be required when the aircraft becomes “live”. The major achievement this year was the final fitment and manual functioning of the bomb bay doors. After the engines this is the second major component to come on line.
The wing saddle re-alignment and fitting was completed after a long struggle. The rear turret has had its Perspex panels and gun fairings fitted. Electrical looms are being manufactured and progressively fitted throughout the airframe. The engine nacelles are subject to rework of the rear frames. Corrosion removal by bead blasting is being carried out internally on the wings prior to painting. The front turret holdings have been reviewed and numbered 1 through 4. Turret 1 is undergoing minor adjustments and Turret 4 is available for sale. The bomb release system components were manufactured locally and are being progressively fitted. The restoration and functioning of several gun sights is in progress. Hydraulic pipes and components are being cleaned, checked and installed. The monthly engine runs and Norden bomb sight runs and demonstrations are going to schedule and continue to be popular with visitors.
Perspex fitted to waist gunner’s position.
Article by Charles Cull
Charles is our man for the Norden, the radar and the radios.
S.E.R. 595 I.F.F. Set
The need for I.F.F. (Identification, Friend or Foe) became apparent when the first ground radar surveillance systems came into use in the late 1930s. The first of these systems was the British Chain Home equipment. This could detect the position of aircraft but could not distinguish between friend or foe. The S.C.R. 595 is an American version of the British I.F.F. MK3. It was fitted to many US Military aircraft including B-24s. The I.F.F. setup has a ground transmitter/receiver (TX/RX) and an aircraft transmitter/receiver (SCR595) The ground TX sends a signal to the aircraft R/X which only then will reply with a coded response. This causes a “blip” on the main search radar screen to be pulsed indicating a friendly aircraft. The equipment can be fitted with an explosive charge which would be fired by pressing the two buttons in the red box on top of the pilot’s instrument panel. This was to prevent the coding system falling into enemy hands.
When refurbished this unit will be part of Charle’s regular demonstrations.
The completed workbooks and copies of all documentation have been submitted to MAV for evaluation prior to the site visit on 12th February. It’s been a mammoth task: thanks to all those volunteers who have contributed to the work. To ensure we have buildings in which to house our museum we have convened a meeting of all stakeholders involved in the matter of finalising the second hangar on site for our use on 16th January 2018. We have invited Melbourne Water representatives, the Mayor of Wyndham, local politicians Tim Pallas and Joanne Ryan, our Patrons Carl Schiller and Andrew Elsbury and Peter Caddy from Treasury. Attending on behalf of the Liberator will be Lyn Gorman, Judy Gilbert, Dave Miller and Ken Abbott. Cyril Curtain from National Trust has also been invited. We’ve been in negotiation since 2005…..about time for a decision.
An early photo of our Liberator getting settled into George Toye’s back yard. Looks a bit better now!
Another Early Memory of A72-176
My flight in Liberator A72-176 on 22.5.1945 By R.K. White - Former F/Sgt R.A.A.F.
This story started on 5 February, 1945.
On that day, the USS "Peter Sylvester", a Liberty ship bound from Melbourne, Victoria, for Colombo, Ceylon, was sunk by torpedoes fired from a German
submarine in the Indian Ocean, some 820 miles from Fremantle, W.A.
The explosion from the first torpedo fired destroyed the ship's electrical system and radio. As a result, the ship's lifeboats and rafts were adrift in the wide expanse of the Indian Ocean, unknown to the outside world. One lifeboat drifted 1100 miles in a N.E. direction before being found.
On 9 February, survivors from one of the lifeboats were picked up by a motor vessel, "Cape Edmont", on route from Colombo to Melbourne, which immediately radioed of its find.
The Royal Australian Navy received a signal from the "Cape Edmont" reporting the rescue of 15 survivors from the "Peter Sylvester" and immediately informed Western Area.
A full sea and air search for other survivors involving the Royal Navy, the United States Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Australian Air Force, began at dawn the next day, 10 February.
B-24 Liberator aircraft from 25 Squadron (RAAF) based at Cunderdin, W.A. and Catalina flying boats from 205 Squadron, Royal Air Force, based at Crawley Bay, W.A., were immediately involved.
On 14 February, 1945, a Liberator B-24 aircraft A72124, preparing to continue the air search, crashed on take-off. Five members of the crew died and the aircraft was destroyed by the resulting fire.
Following the crash of Liberator A72-724, the eleven man air crew, of which I was a member (captained by Flying Officer D.H. Bennett), was posted from the air base at Nadzab, New Guinea, to 25 Squadron at Cunderdin, W.A. to replace the crew of A72-124.
On 1 March, I arrived at 25 Squadron at Cunderdin and re-joined the other members of our crew.
By 10.3.45, all 143 survivors of the sinking ship were rescued and restored to good health.
On 14.5.45, because our crew had no experience flying Liberators at night, we were posted to 7 O.T.U. Tocumwal for night flying training, during which time, on 22 May, 1945, we flew in Liberator A72-176 from Tocumwal down to Tasmania and return. We took off at 1830 hours and landed at 2300 hours, a four and a half hour flight.
From all the volunteers………
To all the members………
We wish you a…….
Healthy and safe