Lancaster Bomber

Lancaster Bomber 1

Yesterday, I became part of a privileged few to see a living, working, fully-flying; queen of the skies the Lancaster Bomber… and she was looking beautiful as ever! But at the same time, daunting as her graceful bodywork whirled over your head, banking and sending vibrations through the floor and up your spine to give you the sense of instantly falling in love.

When you saw it coming from the distance (at Croome Park) for the first time, its wide body stretched out of the landscape, no noise (that was saved when it was up and personal) just floating with 4 Rolls-Royce engines doing their job, until suddenly it banked, and flew low above us over the trees… the sound was timeless… I will never forget the sound of that plane in my head.

It came over again right in-front of us, banking through the trees and around a church. Over a stately home then around the field again. It appeared to me, that the RAF pilot was having alot of fun chucking the girl around, and she seemed like she could still take on the world and win. Then coming close to the end, it whooshed, low over our heads, the under-carriage glinting with the RAF circles underneath… the sight was amazing.

It then continued to do a farewell swoop before going off back to where it sleeps… I will probably never get the chance to see one of these ladies flying again… which is really sad – But at the same time, makes me feel special – I have had a smile on my face since.

To tell you how rare they are; there were over 7,000 of these made for WWII but only 2 survive that are allowed to fly, we saw the one that is based at The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Museum the other is in Canada.

This was such a special occasion I have decided to give this post it’s own category… the memory is that special to me. I have also put some of my fathers photos of the plane (taken on a compact camera due to being hideously un-prepared) and some camcorder footage.

Lancaster Bomber 2

Lancaster Bomber 3

Lancaster Bomber 4

Ross Hetherington

Owner of this website

41 thoughts on “Lancaster Bomber

  1. I must be seriously uber privilaged, I’ve seen a full flying one at least 6 times in my life when i used go out with my grandparents and the experience is fantastic, I love the noise of the engine and the propellars, makes me tingly.
    (:

    Great photots btw. O: O:

  2. This is totally awesome! I’m jealous I wasn’t there taking pictures too! Look for a post on my site later today for ya! Great Article!

    John

  3. wow*

    that Plane was a real Workhorse*

    i remember seeing the one in Windsor, Ontario*

    Somebody on Flickr had some aswesome shots up of the sleek Spitfire!!

    ;))

    Peace*

  4. It was awesome!
    We didn’t even hear it coming ^^
    Was just cool =]
    Me a very lucky lady to see that :)
    Thankies ^^
    x

  5. He he yep it was cool – it just floated through the sky and then suddenly banked and sent shivers down my spine… mmmm.

  6. Great photos Ross – thanks for sharing! It is strange to think that so many went to war in these not that long ago, but so few are flying today. What a great machine!

  7. Hi Ross
    & those who came to Croome Park.

    We were the people who arranged the fly past for the weekend and we are over come by the comments you made.

    We are so pleased that so many came and loved the display.

    We are planning it again next year so please come again and be prepared to be amazed by her beauty.

    We would love very much to have a copy of the video you took as we were involved with the memoriablia and could not get footage of her & also any photographs people have. We want to take them to our members day and show the crew.

    If folks join the BBMF they will get a beter display than that along with Spitfires and Hurriacanes and the Dokota all for £8.00 per year plus wonderfull magazines.

    Once again thank folks for the wonderfull comments and watch out for next year.

    regards

    Lesley & Shane Willett

  8. Thanks Ross for sending me a copy of the footage. Will pass on all the kind words to the National Trust.

    Regards
    lesley W

  9. I think the Lancaster Bomber shows what british avaition can actually achieve and i also think the lancaster is the most beautiful plane ever made.

    Now i wonder why the germans were terrified lol!

  10. I visited the BBMF on 8th August and the Lanc and a Spit were parked outside the hanger, as we walked outside during the tour the ground technicians started one of the Lancs engines, it was wonderful from 30ft away.

  11. Went to the Lincolnshire Aviation Museum at East Kirkby and saw one of only 3 working Lancaster Bombers ‘Just Jane’, with all her 4 Merlin Engines working. She makes regular taxi’s and engine displays. The noise was incredible. Apparently she will be flying over Skegness next week. Fantastic experience to stand so close to her when all her engines rev up.

  12. Comment for Julie Byrne – Sorry but the Just Jane Lancaster does not put to the sky- she only taxi’s at present. There are only two surviving lancaster’s that fly at the moment. One belongs to the BBMF – Coningsby ( the one pictured in Ross’s pictures ) the other is over in Canada.

    Therefore it was the Lancaster from BBMF that was to fly over Skegness.

    To Paul Cannell – well done for being so close to the Old Lady when she started up her engines. It certainly is a heart stopper.

    Lesley Willett

  13. I am very fortunate to live in Croydon which is close to Biggin Hill and Kenley and see my beloved Lancaster at least twice a year. In fact the flypast which always occurs around 6th June is always on the day of my son’s birthday party which, when he was little, we always held in the park. He grew up convinced that they put on a personal flypast for him. My most recent sighting of the Lancaster was yesterday when she flew over the Kenley Battle of Britain Memorial. Amazing – always makes me cry.

  14. Lovely pics. A Lanc in flight just makes my hair stand on end. Just “enjoyed” Harry Holmes book Avro Lancaster: The Definitive Record. Detailed records of each Lanc and its fate. Raise a prayer for all Lanc crews and their victims. Best bomber of WW2 without any doubt. I wonder just what it is about these machines that catures your heart. Long live the BBMF!

  15. Hey Ross, Just happened across your site. I live in Peterborough, more or less south of Coningsby and for a lot of the summer get the Lanc coming overhead (sometimes flanked by the Spit and Hurricane) heading south for air shows … I stand in wonderment every time and the noise as it goes over and away from you is thrilling.

    All the old men walking through our village always stop and stare as well – the youngsters don’t understand what it’s all about.

    Cheers, Mike

  16. Having read about “the other flying Lancaster”, I couldn’t stop to jump in and tell you all that I’ve been fortunate enought to assist to the 67 anniversary of the Battle of Britain in Ottawa Canada last Sept 16.

    They had a magnificent Fly-By with the Lancaster from the Hamilton Air Museum flying in close formation with a Hurricane, Spitfire and a P-51 Mustang.

    Just imagine the awesome sound of not only 4, but 7 Merlins at the same time!

    Later on, I visited the Toronto Aerospace Museum on Sept 26 where they are restoring another Lancaster, but the engines are only restorable to a Show condition, not able to fly again.

    By the way, the building where the Toronto Aerospace Museum is housed, is the same building where the Canadian Built DeHaviland Mosquitos were assembled!
    Best Regards.

  17. I was privileged to watch a flypast by a Lancaster and a Spitfire at Salcombe in Devon last summer…it was brilliant

    I would like to try and arrange same for my wifes 60th birthday part in Sept 2008…can anyone put me in touch please

  18. hiya, unable to verify or find any information but there is a 65th anniversary fly past at the Derwent Dams at Ladybower reservoir this 16th March. the lancaster and a few other aircraft are to be there also some of the film crew / cast and some of the remaining pilots of the sorte are to be there. Any help please ?

  19. Just a reply to the post from Glynn Roberts, sorry to say that the date of the Derwent Dam flypast is actually the 16th of MAY, not March. It is the 65th anniversary of the Dambusters riad in WW2. The flypast will take place during the morning, but I don’t know much more than that.
    I am fortunate to be a member of the Lincolnshire Lancaster Association (www.http://www.pa474.f9.co.uk/html/index.html) and I am sure there will be some more information on that website very shortly.
    As a birthday treat my family paid for a ‘taxi-run’ on board “Just Jane” at East Kirkby, now that WAS awesome. (http://www.lincsaviation.co.uk/)

    Hope this helps.

  20. Hi Ross
    I would be grateful if you have any information on the actual experiencing of a flight in a Lancaster Bomber. ( eg. co piloting) for my brother’s 50 birthday. My other brother who is unfortunately deceased, instigated the Brew ‘Lancaster Bomber’
    Could this be possible?
    A Hoyle

  21. I now realise it must be out of the question to actually co pilot a Lancaster Bomber. So ?Could you put me in touch with anyone who could give me any info on the experience of actually seeing one fly over (if possible)
    Silly me
    Angela

  22. what a beautiful aircraft to hear roaring along the skies with those big merlin engines being throttled up

  23. my wife & I have been on the one at east Kirkby Lincolnshire. my wifes Brother was the las Lacaster to be shot down at Munster on 25rh march 1945 He took off from mepal and was part of the 75th squadron. it was a daylight raid and one of our own lancasters dropped their bombs and they hit my wifes brothers plane stood no chancs as they had not dropped their bombs. he is mentioned in despatches previouly to this event. he was pilot officer although he was flying as mid gunner on this misson.

  24. Well, I must be super lucky because I have had the privilege of seeing this beautiful aircraft on numerous occassions when special commemorative flypast go over my house! I live near an RAF base

  25. i live in boston lincolnshire, the lancaster and spitfire fly over many times a year. Its great to see them both together, you can tell their about by the great sound they make. Best bit is east kirkby not far away either with the grounded lancaster .

  26. Just wanted to say I was lucky enough to be at Lords this year watching the England Australia one day international, the big screen they use as the scoreboard flickered and there she was on the screen, getting closer and louder until she flew directly over the famous Lords cricket ground.
    The entire crowd got to there feet and gave the old girl a standing ovation, even the players on the pitch stopped play to pay there respects, she then banked very steeply to show off her full beauty and then passed over again before flyng off into the late summer afternoon.
    Just writing this has brought me out in goose bumps, fantastic experience. What a plane, and a real tribute to the memory of all those who flew in these giants of the skies and a fantastic tribute to all those who work so hard to keep her flying, long may it continue!

  27. sir thank you all for reving old memories, we were stationed at Defford, LANCASTERS LINCOLNS YORKS, AND THE FIRST OF THE METEORS, IT WAS ALSO A NAVEL STATION TOO, WE DO HAVE BLACK /WHITE PICS OF COOMBE ABBEY.? Happy days

    Robin Jermy ex FMA G0UVP rj

  28. Dear Ross,

    I enjoyed reading your blog.

    My Uncle, who is now in his eighties used to fly in Lancasters as a Navigator during WWII. He was part of Bomber Special Command. His memory is not good these days, but my mother (his sister-in-law) says he used to tell a story about a return flight from a mission when they were without instruments and he had to navigate visually coming in low over the water using the moon, stars and wave patterns on the sea for wind direction.

    His name is Douglas Woodhead. I would be interested in learning more about his activities during the War, are there official records/archives on those who flew in Bomber Special Command and the missions they flew. Unfortunately, I don’t know in which Squadron he flew.

    Yours sincerely,

    Barry Setterfield

  29. What amazing photos – I just love these bombers and everytime I see one am just amazed they ever took off. It is the cosford air show in the uk this weekend and as we do not live to far from there we get a great show of all the planes circling.

  30. I see the ‘other’ flying lancaster fly over my house every Saturday Morning..I should say that I HEAR it first and we all run out into the garden and watch it fly over Main Street in Hamilton Ontario!!!!!what a sight..what a sound!..

    Brings tears to my eyes….

  31. I must be one of the lucky ones to fly in a 1946 Avro Lancaster Bomber the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton Ontario Canada takes 4 passengers on a number of flights in the summer mine being a 1 hour flight to Toronto twice round the C.N. Tower and back passing over my home in Burlington [ passed over twice to-day] on the way back to Hamilton. They have 4 single seats on the port side behind the rear wing strut and narrow windows for viewing but once airbourne you roam up behind the pilots, observation bubble or the upper gun turret. This was a retirement gift to myself but to others like the 85 year old gentleman on our flight it was memories, log book in hand the last entry being a bombing run over Hanover, our pilot signed it for him.A great experience. A great day and most weekends in the summer we hear it coming way before we see it and worth running out to see.

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