Consolidated Liberator GR Mk.V BZ717/L crash 13th July 1944

On 13th July 1944 three Liberators of No. 311 Squadron took off on Anti/Submarine patrol :

FL966/B with crew led by F/O Linhart
BZ717/L with crew led by W/O Košek
BZ732/H with crew led by W/O Pospíchal.

The patrols of all three planes were aborted owing to very bad weather and they were ordered to land at RAF Exeter. Two of the Liberators, piloted by F/O Linhart and W/O Pospíchal, landed safely at Exeter.
The last one, Liberator BZ717 with crew of W/O Košek, was circling in thick fog in the area Start Point to Dorthmouth, but too low at about 80 meteres. At 13.45 Liberator BZ717 crashed into a hill near the villiage of Malborough and burn out. All nine members of the crew were killed.

Trade Name
Cpt W/O L. Košek
2nd Pilot F/O K. Novotný
Nav Sgt J. Hornung
WOP/AG W/O V. Tarantík
WOP/AG F/Sgt R. Němeček
WOP/AG Sgt V. Čapek
WOP/AG Sgt J. Filip
AG Sgt P. Dřevěný
FE Sgt M. Maňásek


The official report of the crash says:
"When returning from operational flight the crew was diverted to Exeter where was good weather and 19 aircraft landed successfully. Captain of plane (Liberator BZ717) however did not use available navigational equipment. It seems that insted of flight to Exeter in safe height with help of W/T, Radar, SBA, etc., he tried to descent under clouds to find his position. He should have known that the clouds were too low over the ground.
Closure:
The finding and opinion of the investigating commission was that the captain made a wrong decision when he was trying to get under clouds in a hilly area. He killed himself and the other eight mebers of his crew."

Source: Pajer M.: Nad moři a oceanem, Svět křídel, Cheb 2000, pp. 208-209.


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