No.424 (Tiger) Squadron RCAF celebrate the Squadron's 2,000th sortie. Canadian Museum of Flight / mediadrumworld.com

By Rebecca Drew

INCREDIBLE black and white images of the famous WW2 Lancaster bomber which was central to the RAF’s bombing campaigns on Nazi Germany have been revealed in a new book documenting its history and crew.

 

Aussie, a suitably named Lancaster serving with No.460 Squadron RAAF. No.460 Squadron suffered the highest loss rate of any Lancaster Squadron in No.1 Group. Art Sewel / mediadrumworld.com

The stunning photographs tell the story of the plane and its crews and show the No. 460 Squadron standing proudly in front of a Lancaster called Aussie and the No.419 Squadron RCAF Lancaster at RAF Middleton St George working on the plane with parts scattered on the ground.

Other photos show the devastation to the Krupp works in Essen, Germany that was completely destroyed by bomber command raids.

 

The Krupp works at Essen, Germany. These were totally destroyed by Bomber Command raids. Martin Keen / mediadrumworld.com

The fascinating photographs have been revealed in the book, The Lancaster by retired military and commercial pilot, Gordon A. A. Wilson and is published by Amberley Publishing.

“The Avro Lancaster is a four-engine, all-metal, mid-wing cantilever monoplane with an oval-shaped fuselage, the wide tail section has twin elliptical fins and rudders. It was initially powered by four wing-mounted twelve-cylinder Merlin engines with three-bladed propellers” said Gordon in the book.

 

Art Sewel / mediadrumworld.com

“The propellers were originally ‘needle blade’, switching later to Hamilton Standard ‘paddle blade’ type. It has two main landing gears (undercarriage) that retract hydraulically rearward into the inner-engine nacelles, and a non-retractable tailwheel.

“The cockpit has a distinct greenhouse look, with the forward gun turret and bomb aimer’s bubble making up the nose of the aircraft.”

 

Flt Sgt Ken W. Brown, pilot of No. 617 Squadron Lancaster ED918- G AJ-F, meet King George VI at RAF Scampton on 27th May 1943. Gordon Wilson / mediadrumworld.com

The seven-man Lancaster crew consisted of a pilot, bomb aimer or nose gunner, wireless operator, flight engineer, navigator and mid-upper and rear gunners.

The book focusses on the four most complete Lancasters including the only two flying planes in the world, the PA474 and FM213 and the two ground-running planes which are the NX611 and FM159.

 

No.419 Squadron RCAF Lancaster at RAF Middleton St George. Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre / mediadrumworld.com

“The wartime Lancaster had a crew of seven,” added Gordon.

 

The BBMF Lancaster, PA474, passes over NX611 during events at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. Martin Keen / mediadrumworld.com
“Unlike the fighter pilots, who performed their mission alone in their aircraft and gathered afterwards to tell each other of the events, the bomber crew lived the terror, excitement and satisfaction of a ‘job well done’ together.

 

Canadian Lancaster B.Xs of No. 428 (Ghost) Squadron. Anthony Walsh / mediadrumworld.com

“The crew bonding and team spirit of the seven-member crew during wartime was never forgotten and, at the many reunions over the years, those remaining always toasted those crew members that had passed away with the words, ‘We will remember them.’”

 

PA474 is currently the only airworthy Lancaster in Europe. Martin Keen / mediadrumworld.com
The Lancaster by Gordon A. A. Wilson is published by Amberley Publishing is now available to buy for RRP £19.99.

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