Australia's Liberators


Author: Charles Darby

Classic aeroplane – classic book! Without a doubt, this A4 sized, 224 page soft cover book is exceptional. A Red Roo Publication written by Charles Darby, this publication surely rates as a ‘must have’ for any RAAF enthusiast and/or B-24 modeller. Extensively researched, well written, easily readable text backed by 315 black and white photos and 14 colour profiles, it’s been one of my better, recent acquisitions on aircraft in RAAF service.

It is divided into three major parts preceded by a prologue, foreword, abbreviations and introduction. Part One covers the 90th and 380th Bomb Groups of the USAAF in Australia; Part Two covers the introduction of the Liberator into RAAF service with 24, 21, 23 and 25 Squadrons (in that sequence) and covers detailed operations within separate chapters devoted to each Squadron along with 81 Wing, 200 Flight (and their still rarely publicised clandestine operations with agents and their re-supply in Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak) and 201 Flight (radar jammers); Part Three provides extensive information on ‘Communication, Navigation and Electronic Warfare’, a little technical for most perhaps, but absorbing information nevertheless. Finally there are extensive appendices including a short tabulated service history of each Liberator in RAAF service. There’s plenty there for the historian and the modeller. Is it any good – no! It’s better than good - and by a considerable margin!!

As my father worked on RAAF Liberators, during the war in the SWPA, I’ve a bit of a soft spot for the Lib, so I might be a bit biased. I’ve also a few books on the type, but this is without a doubt the best value for money book of recent years and it certainly does the type justice. True, I’ve seen a few of the pictures before, but there are plenty of new ones. My recommendation – buy it! Don’t miss out. You’ll curse yourself if you do.

I obtained my copy from Hyland’s Bookshop in Melbourne where it retails for about $36, a fair dinkum bargain!

John Baxter

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