David Tallichet gives a little TLC to Doris’s No 2 Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engine at Grand Rapids. Built by Consolidated at Fort Worth, Texas, this Liberator saw service with the RAF as KH401, as which it served with No 357 Sqn in northern India on long-range sorties as far afield as Malaya and Sumatra. It later served with No 232 Sqn at Poona in central western India until it was struck off RAF charge on September 20, 1946.
Consolidated Liberator Delectable Doris in a gin-clear sky while operating as part of David Tallichet’s Military Aircraft Restoration Corp during 1980-94.
No 2 engine undergoes a running test before the flight to Buffalo - it was a very different experience from the author’s regular day job, flying corporate jets around Europe for the Ford Motor Company, although his experience on flying the Douglas DC-3 for Skyways Coach-Air stood him in good stead.
The author poses for a photograph with his new paramour, Delectable Doris, at Grand Rapids, Michigan, on August 10, 1989.
The Vargas-style artwork of "Delectable Doris" painted on the port side of the Liberator’s front fuselage. The original Delectable Doris, of the 566th BS, 389th BG, was lost on an Eighth Air Force raid on February 3, 1945, when more than 1,200 B-17s and B-24s bombed marshalling yards in Berlin and a synthetic oil plant at Magdeburg in central Germany.
With a cough and a puff of smoke, No 3 engine is started at Grand Rapids. Note the nose artwork is on the port side only. After leaving RAF service, this machine served with the Indian Air Force, which acquired a number of examples refurbished by Indian company HAL after they had been appropriated from abandoned RAF stocks in India.
On June 1, 1975, at Duxford, the original Doris and her husband William Graff approved the newly applied reconstruction of the original nose art and christened David Tallichet’s B-24 (as seen here). The occasion was the 28th Reunion of the Second Air Division Association, held in Norwich during May 30 - June 14 that year.
It was hoped that Delectable Doris would return to Britain to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first arrival of USAAF wartime units in the UK in 1992. The author canvassed support from Ford, which built numerous examples of the bomber, but it came to naught. In late 1994 Tallichet sold Doris to Kermit Weeks in Florida.
The author (left) at the controls of the Liberator during the Grand Rapids - Buffalo flight, with David Tallichet in the righthand seat.
The "office" of the Liberator, with basic flying instruments ranged to the left for the pilot and the engine controls to the right for the copilot, including the two paired manifold pressure gauges inside a red-taped box, below which are the r.p.m. gauges in a white box, to the right of which are the oil pressure gauges in a yellow box.