During World War II, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator was manufactured in larger numbers than any other heavy bomber. In RCAF service, however, the type primarily served the long range maritime reconnaissance and heavy transport roles although some RCAF personnel did fly this type of aircraft on heavy bomber operations in the South East Asia theatre of war. From Canada's east coast, the type was used primarily in the ASW role; this aircraft type provided convoys with air cover as far as the mid-Atlantic. An Operational Training Unit (OTU) using Liberators was also established on Canada's west coast.
Marks: Mk VI-T, C. Mk VI, B Mk VI, GR Mk V (Canada), GR Mk VI, GR Mk VIII, B-24D
The RCAF B-24 Designations
There has been some confusion over the B-24 designations in RCAF service. Probably the most confusing is the transport models used by 168(HT) Squadron. The following provides a brief guide to the B-24 Liberator designations as used in RCAF service:
Mk VI-T (570-579) were delivered to 168(HT) Squadron as B-24J bombers and were modified into transports. In official documents they have been recorded as B-24J, Liberator Mk VI-T, and Liberator C Mk VI. In J. Griffins book, Canadian Military Aircraft Serial and Photographs, he refers to these aircraft as GR Mk VIT but that is totally incorrect. GR stands for General Reconnaissance and only the anti-submarine aircraft had this nomenclature. Unfortunately, this error as been perpetuated in other books and documents. It would appear that Liberator Mk VI-T is most widely used of the "more official" designations. There was no C Mk VII.
The GR Mk V (Canada): (Ser 586 to 600) was an official designation for the first 15 (586 - 600) Liberators delivered to the RCAF. They were similar to the RAF GR Mk V but had a number of Canadian modifications which made them unique, hence the GR V (Canada).
GR Mk VIII (11120-11135). These aircraft were taken on as B-24L but were re-designated GR Mk VIII, 24 May 1945
B Mk VI. The aircraft operated by 5 OTU were definitely the B Mk VI as they were bombers and were identical to the standard RAF B Mk VI. They were not GR Mk VI as only the anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft of 10(BR) and 11(BR) Squadrons had the "GR" designation
ASW Patrol aircraft in standard camouflage markings (CF Photo)