Avro Lancaster – Bomber Command Backbone
The iconic example of the WW2 RAF and RCAF bomber force – the Lancaster started life as the twin engined Manchester which proved a technical and operational failure. The apparently simple expedient of lengthening the wing and tacking on another couple of engines (Merlins instead of the unreliable Vultures) resulted in the Lancaster – far and away the most capable of all WW2 heavy bombers – including those of the USAF ‘Mighty 8th’. The load carrying capability was exceptional and the final versions routinely carried the 12,000 lb weapons and in some operations the 22,000lb ’earthquake’ bomb. In excess of 7,000 were built serving as the mainstream RAF bomber force from 1942 onwards, the last Lancasters were ‘put out to grass’ in 1954- two remain in flying condition one with the RAF Memorial flight and one in the Canadian Historic flight in Ontario.