Kingman Army Air Field
& Sales-Storage Depot No.41
Considering the tons of artifacts in the
piece more awe-inspiring
than the 4' X 8-1/2' aluminum assembly above,
a Kingman junkyard, one of which had the faint
remains of a certain Bomb Group's green stripe, that
is now attached to the underside of the
Yankee Air Museum's PB4Y Privateer:
The third Bomb Bay Door was the lucky one chosen early in 1989 to be mounted on a custom, rotating stand, then painted with preliminary artwork and taken to the December 1989 San Diego celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Liberator's first flight, where autographs of B-24 people would be sought (Taking a que from Boeing's 5 GRAND, North American's BONES, Douglas' CABOOSE, and at least 2 Liberators named V GRAND).
By the end of this historic gathering (hosted by The Liberator Club), over 275 signatures had been applied
to the Bomb Bay Door in paint... signatures from men
& even a few women who had, five decades prior, designed, built, worked on and/or flown in the Liberator, both stateside and in overseas combat. Considered to be historically priceless, this once obscure remnant from an anonymous Kingman bomber is now considered to be a focal point of the
Depot 41 Museum Collection!
Some of the fellas with the Door in San Diego:
RECENT UPDATE !
The Door was carefully loaded into a van for the 400 mile journey north and on February 6, 2011, totally unplanned, but precisely 64 years to the day from when he took his now-famous and historic series of Kingman photographs in 1947, Bill Larkins kindly added his name to the hundreds who have signed this B-24 Bomb Bay Door over the years:
(See also: B-26, B-32 & P-40 Pages)
And, to round out this Page, here's a pair of
The number stamped on the red fob indicates they belonged to B-24 #44-51425, one of nearly 1700 "M" models that Ford Motor Company cranked out at its Willow Run, Michigan plant during WWII.
This silver bomber was accepted by the USAAF on 4 April 1945 and after a short visit to the St. Paul, Minnesota facility for undisclosed modifications, she spent the next 7+ months in storage before being declared excess. Still an unused aircraft at this point, her final destination was Kingman's Reconstruction Finance Corporation in November of that same year, becoming just one more of around 1000 B-24Ms in the desert surrounding this former Army Air Base.
Some fighters also used keys, such as the P-38 and its Canopy Lock (see the P-38 Page), but of the thousands of keys that came with the Kingman planes, this is the only Set known to survive.
Photo credits this Page:
Frederick A. Johnsen,
Depot 41 Photo Archive
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