Date: 07/05/1943
Squadron Code: "V"
Serial Number: Liberator Mk.V-VLR
Flight/Mission Details:

Base; St Eval (detachement)
Take off time: Unknown.
Op: Escort

From the memoirs of Ernest Allen.

"At briefing we were advised that double patrols were being laid on for escort of the Queen Mary who was westbound for American shores. The shorter range airplanes were escorting until our arrival and we were to escort her through the mid-Atlantic section. I believe they told us Churchill was aboard, but in any event it was a very high priority escort in the south Atlantic. Peter Wright's crew was to leave at 9 a.m. along with our crew and we were as usual to proceed independently. The other two 59 Squadron aircraft were to depart at 11 a.m...

...Thus, of the four aircraft that set out to escort the Queen Mary in the middle of the Atlantic (a completely unnecessary escort with the Queen doing twenty-four knots) we lost three aircraft and eight experienced crewmen. It wasn't a good start for the #59 Squadron VLR Liberators. Anyway, after briefing Bartlett, I joined the rest of the crew at rum and breakfast. As a crew we got together after lunch. Everyone looked and felt like death. The doctor looked us over and said, "You guys are all grounded until I say you can fly." Nobody complained."(source-read-more)

This flight was captained by S/Ldr William Walter Cave DFC. Cave is also noted by Allen as Captain of a second tour crew. Cave was previously with 502 Sqdn in early 1942 but it is unknown if he was posted from there to 59. With 502, he and his crew were involved in what was thought to have been Coastal Commands first Uboat sinking on 30.11.1941, of U206, flying Whitley 502/B. Post war it is believed that this was an attack on U71, which escaped with no damage.


Crew Details:

All lost:

Memorial Page Links


Source: see link above

During WWII, the RAF used three-letter codes to identify their aircraft from a distance. Two large letters were painted before the roundel, which signified the squadron to which the aircraft belonged, and another letter was painted after the roundel which indicated the individual aircraft. Aditionally, there was the individual serial number for each aircraft, which was painted in a much smaller size, usually somewhere at the rear of the aircraft: (more)

Codes used by RAF 59 Squadron:

PJ Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
TR Sep 1939 - Oct 1942
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
WE Jul 1944 - Oct 1945
BY Oct 1945 - Jun 1946, Dec 1947 - Oct 1950