Remembering Today 1st May 1945. The loss of Liberator KH312

Living History

1 May 1945

Liberator VI KH312 ‘X’

No.358 Squadron

This crew, who had previously set the time record for a Liberator sortie in this area of 20 hours 39 minutes, was returning to base following a successful drop, when the port outer engine failed and over Cheduba Island the starboard outer cut as well. The captain ordered his crew to ditching stations and at 0029 hours in light moonlight, the aircraft struck the water severely (30 miles south west of Cheduba Island, Burma) smashing in the nose section and breaking up rapidly. The survivors swam ashore and after some confusion as to who had survived and who had been killed or died subsequently, it transpired that there were four survivors and five fatal casualties. Two officers of the USAAF 7th Emergency Rescue Squadron; Lieutenants Hubbs and Puchalski, were commended for their skilful flying in rescuing some of the survivors by landing their Catalina and taking off in very heavy seas.

Fatalities

Flight Lieutenant Richard William ROBINSON 30 Pilot
Flying Officer Rothney Alex CARTER 26 RAAF Co-Pilot died of injuries 2 May 1945
Flying Officer Walter Henry BULL Navigator
Sergeant Thomas Frederick Courtney CLARKE 23 Wireless Operator
Sergeant Albert James BURLING 20 Air Gunner

Source – Though Without Anger – C. Cummings

Movement history of Liberator VI KH312.

Ex 44-44183
Delivered Dorval 16 October 1944
To India arriving at Mauripur 31 October 1944
To No.358 Squadron
Ditched at night 1 May 1945
Struck of Charge 31 May 1945.

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