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CONSOLIDATED B-24J LIBERATOR 42-51232

Site Details


NPRN 240170

Map Reference SH28SW

Grid Reference SH2078684546

Unitary (Local) Authority Maritime

Old County Maritime

Community Maritime

Type of Site AIRCRAFT, FINDSPOT

Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Modern

Site Description The remains of this aircraft are designated as a Controlled Site under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. For further information on this Act and its administration with regard to aircraft, please contact the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, RAF Innsworth, Gloucester, GL3 1RZ.

A propellor blade has been recovered by divers and placed with a memorial plaque in Breakwater Park. Other pieces of the aluminium fuselage still lie spread over the seabed.

Event and Historical Information:
On 22 December 1944, this B-24 as one of 7 such aircraft returning to their home base at Cheddington from Manston after undertaking a mission to jam enemy communications using their onboard radio transmitters. The flight had been topped up with fuel and cleared for Cheddington with Atcham and RAF Valley being the backup airfields. When the flight reached Cheddington, the airfield had been forced to closed due to bad weather. Four of the aircraft managed to land at Atcham at around 16:00, the remaining three aircraft (call signs Marker Jig, Marker Item and Marker Fox) were diverted to RAF Valley. These were placed into a holding pattern, awaiting final isntructions to land, but at 17:34 Marker Jig reported that his number 2 and 4 engine had cut out and that he had given the order to bale out. The Coastguard soon after reported that an aircraft had gone into the sea off Holyhead Mountain. Search parties set out from 5th Cheshire Regt; 130 Coastal battery, 306 Holding Battalion, Ty Croes Practice camp, Mona , Llandwrog and Bodorgan assisted the RAF and USAAF, plus volunteers from Valley and the Police Force. Boats under the control of HMS Bee also carried out an intensive search. By 19:15: two members of the crew had been found –the co-pilot in Trearddur Bay and the pilot near Holyhead. By 23:30, it became apparent that the remaining 8 crewmembers had parachuted over the Irish Sea without flotation equipment. The crew comprised pilot 1st Lt Harold T Bochm (saved); co-pilot 2nd Lt Donald W Burch (saved); navigator 2nd Lt William S Lehner (missing); assistant engineer S Sgt Arthur R Clemens (missing); radio operator T Sgt Harvey N Nystrom (missing); radio operator S Sgt Francis J Lynch (missing); air gunner Sgt Andrew Zapotocky (missing); air gunner Sgt Robert F Cagene(missing); air gunner Sgt Jaine Fonseca (missing); and air gunner Sgt Charles H Duntel (missing).

Sources include:
Sloan, R, 2002, Anglesey Air Accidents during the 20th Century
UK Hydrographic Office Wrecks and Obstructions Database. © Crown Copyright and database rights. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk
US Air Accident Record 45-12-22-500, RCAHMW Digital Collections

WWW resources:
http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/Personnel/SPVA/AviationArchaeology.htm

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, January 2010.

Archive Records