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Malaya Historical Group :: MHG
Aviation and Military Archaeology may cover almost any form of research into or collecting of artifacts connected with the history of aviation and military relics.

If you have any information about any war relics and air wrecks in our country, please send an email to me malayahg@gmail
 

 

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B-24 Consolidated Liberator
 

2006 Expedition

In 2006, we took two trips to the wreck site and the last one, we found the positive id of the B-24 KL654/R. The faded serial number was found near the SNAKE letter thus revealing her identity and no doubt that it was KL654/R after all.

Most of her numbers were painted in black and after getting most of the worst tropical climate almost in 60 years, the paint were faded away. We have to draw a line and finally it show her true identity.

2007 Expedition

After unsuccessful trip in early 2007, we took a month to re-organize again and make another trip with Malaysian Army Museum team together with 2 British Army Officers. Some positive location were found and checked. After some digging and clearing the slope where the front section were crushed and burned we found several positive personal belongings of KL654's crews. Two set of rings, dagger and part of a watch burned into aluminum were found. Also we traced down some serial numbers which bolted into her 4 engines. It is a difficult task to find it until I found her engine serial number plates on one of her engine. It show the exact number and match with our records.
One of the engine where we found
the serial plate
Two sets of silver rings were found Positive ID of KL654/r!

Additional notes ( Thank you Mr Arthur Lane and Joe Carberry )

Receive additional info regarding KL654 mission on the 23rd August 1945. 5 B-24s were flew to central Malaya to drop supplies. Approx 30 containers and 20 packages weight 7120lbs and 5980lbs were dropped by parachutes. B-24 "D", "A", "F", "P" and "R" were involved in this drop supplies mission. Mission carried out from 10.05am until all aircraft arrived at 01.21am. KL654/R was a fourth plane take off at 10.30am.

Two routes were carried out.

  • Base - Taborjoeng - Kuala Selangor - Drop Zone - Kuala Selangor - Taborjoeng - Base
  • Base - Taborjoeng - Cape Rachardo - Drop Zone - Cape Rachardo - Taborjoenng - Base

3 Planes drop their loads into drop zone perfectly but later when R was missing, 'D' was flying for 3 quarters of an one hour searching the jungle although numerous fires were seen from the jungle. We assumed that the fires were from 'R' which already crashed and burned into flames.

Confirmation crew lists :-

  • Flight Lieutenant John Selwyn Watts, ( Pilot )
  • Flying Officer Edward Donald Mason, 166082 ( 2nd pilot )
  • Flying Officer William Kenneth Dovey, 166352 ( Navigator )
  • Flight Sergeant Jack Blakey, 1582692 ( Flight Engineer )
  • Flight Sergeant William Ross, 2213814 ( Rear Air Gunner )
  • Flight Sergeant Raymond Arthur Towell, 1624252 ( Front Air Gunner )
  • Flying Officer BROMFIELD, JOHN TREVOR 166369 ( Air Bombardier )
  • Flight Sergeant TURNER, ARTHUR 1621393 ( Wireless Operator )

Near To End
With the help of Army Museum and volunteers from UK ( Ed Macy and Clayton Ford ), on July 2009 we visit the site again for final excavation and analysis of the crashed site. For 10 days, we encamped near the wreckage, do extensive excavation lead by expert from Army Museum and the volunteers, we successfully recovered suspected human remains and personal belongings to the crews. All areas in the vicinity of the crashed site were carefully checked and plotted and to ensure we did not missed anything. On the river bed, aircraft equipment were found and this helped us to determined the final moment of the plane before impacted on the ground. Ed Macy carefully detailed the scene and ground heights and also distance from the first where the plane hit the trees and checked all the parts scattered in the area where we and others were clearing the impact point.


Proper Digging Proces


Carefully detailed in a plotted grid

 


Hand made sculpture


Final Day

During the last day of the excavation, we concluded that nothing were found and the rear fuselage had already been checked thoroughly and decided that it is near to end for the expedition. Everything that have been found and recovered were cleaned and put on the records. Scattered parts that were found during excavation and not important were round up and buried near the wreckage to ensure no one in the future would found and remove it for souvenirs.


While we searched, others were prepared food for lunch

Later a ceremony was held near the impact point where members from the documentary team built and erected sculpture made from parts of the aircraft to resembled a cross. Both flags from England and Malaysia were put near the sculpture and the volunteers lead by Clayton held a memorial service witnessed by all members who involved on the excavation.

Later the suspected human remains were handed over to forensics expert at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. In the final outcome, 90 percents from the suspected human remains were confirmed human remains. The remains were tag, sealed and put in a safe place waiting for the British and MoD to contacted the families and to determine the next move. Few personal belongings were handed over to the families.

Final Journey
On 11 October 2012, the remains of crew KL654/R were officially handed over to Captain Kenneth Taylor Royal Navy, the Defence Adviser at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. The ceremony was held at Army Museum Port Dickson.


Handed Over Ceremony held at
Army Museum Port Dickson


Handed Over Ceremony held at
Army Museum Port Dickson

On 18 October 2012, the remains of the crew KL654 were laid to rest at  Cheras Road Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery witnessed by the familes of KL654 together with British High Commissioner Simon Featherstone, British Government Representative, JCCC,  Royal Air Force representative, Malaysian Army , MHG and the media. 


Coffin being lowered down by
The Queen Colour Squadron


RAF Chaplain conducted a service

 

The families have the final opportunities to said goodbyes, pay their last respects to the crew of KL654 and they also bring in pictures and related stuff that belong to the crews. Members of The Queen’s Colour Squadron bore the single coffin carrying the remains of the crew to their final resting place. Later Reverend (Wing Commander) Jonathan Beach, the RAF chaplain conducted the graveside service and and bugle from Gurkha battalion Brunei played the Last Post.


Families gathered with British Representatives


Photos and belongings to the crews


The few


Rest in peace

It is a great achievement for MHG battled 16 years to get the crews of KL654 a proper recognition and buried with military honors. We managed to meet the families and relatives and feel proud and happy that this event will marked their final closure for their loves one. A small piece from the parts the KL654 were given to the families as a reminder and memory to the crews of KL654.

 

 

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Copyright © 2006 MHG