Liberator III/G.R.V for RAF

Last revised April 22, 2005

The British Royal Air Force was provided with 366 B-24Ds as Liberator III. These and all subsequent Liberators were delivered to the RAF under Lend-Lease contracts. They were assigned USAAF serial numbers for contractual purposes, but there does not exist a complete list of cross-referenced RAF/USAAF serials of Liberators and unfortunately there are lots of gaps.

RAF Liberator IIIs were externally similar to USAAF B-24Ds, but they were fitted with numerous British equipment items to meet specific RAF requirements. The primary difference was in the armament fitted. They were equipped with standard RAF 0.303-inch machine guns in the nose, twin 0.303-inch machine guns in each of the waist positions, and twin-0.50-inch gun Martin power turrets in the upper dorsal position. Although delivered with Consolidated A-6 tail turrets, most RAF Liberator IIIs had the Consolidated turret replaced by a four-gun Boulton Paul tail turret.

A few Liberator IIIs were fitted with a special airfoil winglet attached to either side of the lower forward fuselage below the cockpit. These removable winglets carried eight 5-inch High Velocity Aircraft Rockets (HVAR) for attacking surfaced German submarines.

Beginning in January of 1944, numerous Liberator IIIs were retrofitted with Leigh lights underneath the starboard wing for illuminating surfaced submarines at night.

An additional eleven B-24Ds were delivered directly to RAF Coastal Command in 1942. They retained their standard US armament and were designated Liberator IIIA. They bore the RAF serials LV336/346. These planes served with No 86, 224, and 354 Squadrons of RAF Coastal Command.

Liberator IIIs and Liberator IIIAs served with Nos 59, 86, 120, 160, 224, 354, and 357 Squadrons of RAF Coastal Command and with Nos 159, 178, and 355 Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command. Nos 59, 86, 120, and 224 Squadrons served in the North Atlantic campaign against U-boats, during which they turned out to be outstandingly successful and are credited with at least nine U-boat kills between October of 1942 and October of 1943 with their Liberator III and IIIA aircraft. No 160 Squadron flew its Liberator IIIs out of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on maritime reconnaissance missions against Japanese shipping in 1943. No 354 Squadron flew out of India on maritime reconnaissance missions for the patrol of shipping lanes. No 357 Squadron of Coastal Command served in India, their primary mission being the dropping Nos 159 and 355 Squadrons of Bomber Command flew in the CBI theatre, whereas 178 was stationed in the Middle East and flew missions against targets in North Africa, Sicily, Crete, the Aegean Islands, the Balkans, Italy, and southern Germany.

A number of B-24Ds were supplied to RAF Coastal Command with an Air-to-Surface- Vessel (ASV) radar mounted in a chin fairing underneath the nose glazing. Alternatively, the radome could be installed in a retractable radome underneath the ventral fuselage. In such a configuration, these aircraft were known as Liberator G.R.V. Liberator G.R.Vs served exclusively with RAF Coastal Command, and flew with Nos 53, 59, 86, 120, 160, 200, 220, 311, 354, and 547 Squadrons.

A number of Liberator G.R.Vs were converted as unarmed transports under the designation Liberator C.V.

Nineteen Liberator G.R.Vs were delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force. Fifteen of these planes were diverted from RAF deliveries, whereas four were delivered directly to Canada from the USAAF. The Liberator G.R.Vs replaced the obsolescent Douglas Digbys (B-18 Bolo) aircraft of No. 10 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron. They operated out of Gander on antisubmarine patrol, and are credited with at least one U-boat kill.

RAF serials of the Liberator IIIs and GR.Vs (and corresponding USAAF serials where known) were as follows:

Liberator Mk. III:

BZ833/860, BZ890/909, BZ922/BZ929, BZ932/936, BZ946/959, FK214/245, FL906/926,FL928/936, FL939, FL940, FL943, FL945, and FL993/995

Liberator Mk IIIA:

LV336 (USAAF 41-1107), LV337 (USAAF 41-1087), LV338 (USAAF 41-1127) LV339 (USAAF 41-1096), LV340 (USAAF 41-1122), LV341 (USAAF 41-1097), LV342 (USAAF 41-1114), LV343 (USAAF 41-1111), LV344 (41-1093), LV345 (USAAF 41-1124), LV346 (USAAF 41-1108)

Liberator G.R.V:

BZ711/BZ724, BZ725 (USAAF 42-40447), BZ726, BZ727/BZ729 (USAAF 42-40451/40453), BZ730, BZ731, BZ732 (USAAF 42-40526), BZ733 (USAAF 42-40460), BZ734 (USAAF 42-40461), BZ735 (USAAF 42-40469), BZ736/BZ737 (USAAF 42-40470/40471), BZ738 (USAAF 42-40231), BZ739 (USAAF 42-40450), BZ747 (USAAF 42-40466), BZ755 (USAAF 42-40557), BZ756(USAAF 42-40560), BZ861/BZ889, FL927, FL941, FL942, FL944, FL946/FL991,

Liberator C.III:


The following G.R.Vs were converted to C.V transports:

BZ723, BZ743, BZ744, BZ760/BZ762, BZ769, BZ773, BZ781, BZ783, BZ786, BZ792, BZ793, BZ804, BZ806, BZ869, BZ871, BZ931, BZ941, FL941, FL970, FL979.

RCAF serial numbers of Liberator G.R.Vs were as follows:


586 BZ732 42-40526 587 BZ729 42-40543 588 BZ733 42-40460 589 BZ725 42-40447 590 BZ728 42-40452 591 BZ727 42-40451 592 BZ737 42-40471 593 BZ736 42-40470 594 BZ739 42-40450 595 BZ735 42-40469 596 BZ747 42-40466 597 BZ738 42-40231 598 BZ756 42-40560 599 BZ734 42-40461 600 BZ755 42-40557 3701 41-24236 3702 41-24001 3703 41-24281 3704 41-24277

Disposition of Liberator III FK214/FK240, delivered between June 1942 and November 1942

FK214 3/12/47 Sold as Scrap
FK215 Ground instructional 6/45
FK216 Control failure on take-off, Dorval 5/28/42:DBR
FK217 Swerved off runway on take-off & hit hanger, Boscombe Down 9/15/42:DBR
FK218 Overshot landing, Ringway 3/7/43:DBR
FK219 7/6/45 SOC
FK220 3/12/47 Sold as Scrap
FK221 Wheels up landing, Prestwick 3/25/45:DBR
FK222 7/6/45 SOC
FK223 1/5/47 SOC
FK224 Gear collapsed landing & overshot, Cluntoe 7/5/44:DBR
FK225 3/12/47 sold as scrap
FK226 Ground instructional 7/45
FK227 Damaged by enemy action (Ki-21) 4/1/44;7/6/44 SOC
FK228 7/6/45 SOC
FK229 3/12/47 Sold as Scrap
FK230 Hit house landing, Ayr 10/29/42:DBR
FK231 1/5/47 SOC
FK232 Overshot landing Reykjavik, Iceland 3/18/43
FK233 Skidded landing & nose wheel collapsed, Ballykelly, 11/25/44:DBR
FK234 Hit trees on take-off, Nutts Corner, 5/14/43
FK235 Flew into water during low alt turn, convoy coverage, 8/12/42
FK236 6/3/47 SOC
FK237 Raft came out of plane in flight fouling elevator;Crashed at
FK238 Nose wheel collpased landing at Nutts Corner 2/22/45
FK239 Missing near Andaman Isls 8/24/43
FK240 8/23/45 SOC
FK241 7/6/45 SOC
FK242 Hit ballon barrage at Plymouth while lost & crashed at Devon 10/30/42
FK243 Crashed in Canada while on a ferry flt, 1/12/43
FK244 6/3/47 SOC
FK245 Crashed while in landing circle, south of Beaulieu 11/7/42

Disposition of 90 Liberator IIIs and Vs delivered between Jul 1942 and Feb 1943. Mk.Vs were FL937, 938, 941, 942, 946-967, 969-991

FL906 Ditched in North Atlantic 6/20/43
FL907 Hit by flak from U-boat & ditched, 7/19/44
FL908 5/30/46 SOC
FL909 BOAC as G-AGFN, 2/15/46 SOC
FL910 Damaged by blast from own depth charges, force landed at Predannac,10/20/42:DBR
FL911 Damaged by blast from own depth charges & ditched off Puttalam, 5/6/44
FL912 4/26/45 SOC
FL913 To 5249th Maintence Unit 5/45
FL914 5/30/46 SOC
FL915 BOAC as G-AGFO;Sold for scrap 3/12/47
FL916 To 5069th Maintence Unit 5/45
FL918 BOAC as G-AGFR, 1/25/47 SOC
FL919 5/30/46 SOC
FL920 BOAC as G-AGFS, 2/15/46 SOC
FL921 Damaged, 8/21/42; SOC 10/30/42 
FL922 Swerved off runway on take-off & hit truck, Reykjavik,Iceland 4/28/44
FL923 Shot down by U-539, 10/4/43
FL924 Sold as scrap 3/12/47
FL925 To USAAF 4/23/43
FL926 Missing 10/26/43
FL927 To 8415th Maintence Unit 6/44
FL928 Swerved landing, nose wheel collapsed 3/2/45;DBR
FL929 7/19/45 SOC
FL930 8/14/45 SOC
FL931 Missing 6/27/44
FL932 To 5248th Maintence Unit 5/45
FL933 Sold as scrap 3/12/47
FL934 To 5605th Maintence Unit 5/45
FL935 4/8/45 SOC
FL936 4/11/46 SOC
FL937 Fire in air,crashed at sea;59-25N 04-15E 10/4/44
FL938 Attacked by JU-88s and ditched in Bay of Biscay 9/2/43
FL939 Attacked by Japanese fighters & shot down over Car Nicobar 9/22/43
FL940 5/31/45 SOC
FL941 Sold as scrap 3/12/47
FL942 4/23/46 SOC
FL943 Sold as scrap 3/12/47
FL944 Sold as scrap 3/12/47
FL945 1/18/45 SOC
FL946 Sold as scrap 3/12/47
FL947 MIA over Bay of Biscay. 5/13/43
FL948 2/4/46 SOC
FL949 Flew into ground, Rora Head, Orkneys 1/1/45
FL950 Fuek exhaustion, crew bailed 3/29/43
FL951 Sold as scrap 3/12/47
FL952 9/3/43 SOC
FL954 10/24/43 SOC
FL955 Sold as scrap 3/12/47
FL956 6/2/47 SOC
FL957 Crashed before delivery 2/28/43
FL958 2/5/46 SOC
FL960 6/3/47 SOC


  1. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1959.

  2. Liberator: America's Global Bomber, Alwyn T. Lloyd, Pictorial Histories Publishing Co, Inc, 1993.

  3. B-24 Liberator in Action, Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications Inc, 1987.

  4. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecsssors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  5. Consolidated B-24D-M Liberator IN USAAF-RAF-RAAF-MLD-IAF-CzechAF and CNAF Service, Ernest R. McDowell, Arco, 1970.

  6. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  7. American Combat Planes, 3rd Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  8. Jane's American Fighting Aircraft of the 20th Century, Michael J.H. Taylor, Mallard Press.

  9. E-mail from Terence Geary on disposition of Liberator IIIs and Liberator Vs.

  10. E-mail from Dave Reid on FL920 being G-AGFS and not G-AGES.