A BOAC Liberator passing the coast of Arran after flying the Atlantic from Montreal. In addition to carrying urgent war supplies these aircraft were used extensively by VIPs, and traffic in both directions was heavy.
An old shirt was used to demonstrate how the loose end of a mailbag could well have wedged itself into the gap between the tailplane and the elevator of a Liberator, in this case the Aerospace Museum’s example at Cosford. The amount of up-elevator represents the expected position during lift-off on that fateful night at Gibraltar.
Left, a reconstruction showing the open side hatch used on combat Liberators by the waist gunners, as it would have been used on the ground for ventilation. The photograph at right shows the locking mechanism of this side hatch.