Saturday, October 1, 2011

B-24 Liberator of RCAF story

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This is a story from the Montreal Gazette Sat. Oct.1/2011 by Joseph Graham.
This is a true story of RCAF Flight Lt. Frank Fisher and one of his WWII’s exploits before his death in a mountain crash in the B-24 he was flying.
He was with the RCAF’s North Atlantic Sq. in the autumn of 1943. A usual flight would be a 12 hour recon of a section of the North Atlantic to hunt for German U-boats. On the morning of Sept. 19/1943 they were on duty when 1st Officer Peter Dale spotted a U-boat on the surface.  They were flying at 3,000 feet about 450 miles southwest of Iceland when contact was made.  They dropped down to 500 feet but was still too high to attack but the U-boat was able to get a shot at the plane with it’s deck guns.
The B-24 circled around and attacked from astern at about 50 feet above the sea and some large waves.  But with some bad luck the bomb bay doors would not open automatically so they had to hustle to get them open manually just before they passed over the sub.  The sub dived just as the bomber came around again but this time they were able to drop some depth charges just ahead of the sub.  Circling the attack site about 15 minutes later they saw an oil slick and a huge bubble erupted from the sea as the sub imploded under water. 
One month later on Oct. 19 they were flying from their base at Gander, Newfoundland to Mont Joli in the Laurentian mountains north of Montreal, Canada with a larger than usual  crew and passengers, 24 in all, when they were forced to redirect to Montreal because  bad weather had closed the small airfield at Mt. Joli. 
One of these little old mountains named Black Mountain was higher than most of the others and in the bad weather they  flew right into the peak. 
It was only about a year after the war had ended before the wreckage remains were found on June 20/1946 and only three bodies were able to be identified. 
There is now a memorial monument with a small grave site with crosses for all who perished that day near the crash site at St. Donat, Quebec, Canada.
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