In his Forward, S/Ldr T. M. Bulloch, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, recalls the experience of 17 hour flights in a practically unheated aircraft. It is grimly ironic that the Liberators used to close the Atlantic gap in the U-boat war were, almost invariably, death-traps for their own crews in the event of ditching in the sea.
The book commences with an overview of the history of Coastal Command from its inception as “Coastal Area” in 1919, to its renaming as “Coastal Command” in 1936 and on to its disbandment in 1969 when it was incorporated into RAF Strike Command. This is followed by a chapter describing the RAF Liberators including details of the aircraft produced, versions and variants, airframe differences and serial numbers. We then move on to individual histories of the 13 Coastal Command squadrons that operated the B-24 including two Operational Training Units and one Heavy Conversion Unit. The next section is the largest part of the book and details each of the 81 Liberators that were allotted to 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. Manufacturer, serial number, sub-type, operational history; it’s all here with as much information as would satisfy the most demanding rivet-counter. This is backed up with detailed and interesting appendices, hundreds of lavishly produced photographs and 70 high quality colour profiles.