Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Avro Lancaster

Pictured here is Avro Lancaster PA474 from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RIAT 2013. A total of 7,377 Lancasters were built between 1941 and early 1946. Around 3,500 of these aircraft were lost on operations, with around 200 more destroyed or written off in crashes. The remainder were scrapped when their services were no longer required, leaving this one and one in Canada as the only two airworthy examples today.

PA474 was completed at the Vickers Armstrong Broughton factory at Hawarden Airfield, Chester on 31 May 1945. The Second World War in Europe had just come to an end, and so she didn't take part in any hostilities. After a brief time in storage, she had various roles including photo reconnaissance work, aerial survey duties and being a test platform for experimental aerofoil sections. In preparation for her photo reconnaissance duties, she had her gun turrets removed and she was stripped back to a bare metal finish.

In 1964 she was adopted by the Air Historical Branch, with the intention of displaying her in a planned RAF museum. She was transferred to 44 Squadron in 1965, and work began to restore her. By 1966, both front and rear turrets had been replaced, and she gained permission to fly regularly again in 1967. She joined the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in 1973, and had her mid-upper turret fitted in 1975 after one was discovered in Argentina.

During her time she has appeared in the two films "Operation Crossbow" and "The Guns of Navarone".

She is seen here painted in the colours of "Thumper Mk III" of 617 Squadron, which was one of the replacement Lancasters issued to the squadron after the Dambusters raid in 1943.

"Lest we forget."

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