Including exclusive and original pictures of the Avro Lancaster PA474, one of only two Lancasters in flying condition in the world. Taken in Chatsworth, Derbyshire in August 2018.
The Avro Lancaster was a British four-engined strategic bomber that was used as the RAF’s principal heavy bomber during the latter half of the Second World War. The typical aircraft was powered by an arrangement of four wing-mounted Rolls-Royce Merlin piston engines. It possessed mostly desirable flying characteristics, having been described by aviation authors Brian Goulding and M. Garbett as being: “a near-perfect flying machine, fast for its size and very smooth…”
The Lancaster has its origins in the twin-engine Avro Manchester which had been developed during the late 1930s in response to the Air Ministry Specification P.13/36 for a capable medium bomber for “worldwide use”. Originally developed as an evolution of the Manchester (which had proved troublesome in service and was retired in 1942), the Lancaster was designed by Roy Chadwick and powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlins and in one version, Bristol Hercules engines. It first saw service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and as the strategic bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it was the main aircraft for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed. As increasing numbers of the type were produced, it became the principal heavy bomber used by the RAF, the RCAF and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF, overshadowing contemporaries such as the Halifax and Stirling.