Updated 17th August 2014 – Lincolnshire, England. The sounds of the Merlin engines filled the Lincolnshire countryside as Avro Lancasters belonging to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) and Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum joined up with the BBMF Spitfire and Hurricane after ‘Lanc’ V-RA’s arrival from Canada. The occasion marked the first time in some 50 years that multiple Lancasters were airborne together.
“The sound brought chills,” remarked one excited observer as she referred to the ground shaking reverberations. “Bloody marvelous!” exclaimed an older gent. Meanwhile Craige Harpham of Horncastle snapped images from his residence as the venerable two behemoths wheeled gracefully in the sky.
The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster completed a 3,700-mile journey from Canada to England via Iceland. A maintenance interlude is scheduled to take place in the BBMF’s hangar at RAF Coningsby. After qualifying for a certificate, the Canadian bomber will display throughout England during the Thwaites Lancaster Bomber Tour.
The iconic Avro Lancaster was a mainstay of RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War, and the aircraft were also produced in Canada by Victory Aircraft in the province of Ontario for Royal Canadian Air Force crews.
Lancasters and other Allied types, including Handley Page Halifaxes and Short Sterlings, regularly flew nocturnal missions over occupied Europe and the Nazi homeland. Despite heavy losses to Luftwaffe night fighters and anti-aircraft fire, British and Commonwealth aircrews kept the pressure on by night as the U.S. Army Air Force pounded targets during daylight.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre, which is located at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, is offering guided tours on the following dates: 25 August 2014; 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 September 2014.
Notably, Bomber Command Museum of Canada hopes their Lancaster will be airworthy within a few years. That would present the possibility of 3 Lancasters someday cavorting amongst the clouds together.
The author (John Stemple) thanks Annie Thomas and Craige Harpham for their gracious assistance.
Sources, Suggested Readings & Viewings
Canadian Lancaster lands at RAF Coningsby
Canadian Lancaster: Arriving today at RAF Coningsby for six-week display ‘season’
Canadian Warplane Heritage
Dambusters hero welcomes Canadian Lancaster bomber to RAF Coningsby
Lancaster bombers take to the skies together
RAF Waddington – News
Two Lancaster bomber planes fly together for first time in 50 years