The Canadian Lancaster Bomber Vera is about to be reunited with the Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight for a six week UK flying tour
The last two remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers in the world will take to the skies later this month as Eastbourne Airshow kicks off a UK tour remembering the role of the men from Britain and the Commonwealth who served in Bomber Command during World War Two.
© Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
The Canadian Mynarski Memorial Lancaster bomber, named after Canadian VC hero P/O Andrew Mynarski and known as ‘Vera’ because of the registration number VRA, is making her first return to England since the war.
She is due to make her first public flight at the Eastbourne Airshow on August 14 with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which features the only other flying Lancaster bomber PA 474. The event will be the first formation flypast by Lancasters in Britain for more than 50 years.
The meeting of the vintage bombers made the headlines earlier this week when the aircraft from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum was grounded in Canada after one of its engines flooded and failed to start.
Eventually cleared for take-off, the 70-year-old bomber is now en-route to the UK via Greenland and Iceland and is due to land at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, home of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial flight, on August 8.
More than any other British-designed bomber, the Lancaster has become synonymous with RAF Bomber Command during World War Two. The plane is famous for its part in the Dambuster Raids of May 16-17 1943, when Lancasters of 617 Squadron breached the Möhne and Edersee Dams using a ‘bouncing bomb’ designed by Barnes Wallis.
Since the war the Allied bombing strategy of targeting German cities has become the subject of much scrutiny and debate, but with Bomber Command crews suffering a terrifying 44.4% death rate, resulting in more than 55,000 being killed and a further 8,403 wounded, their role has become one of defining aspects of Britain's experience of World War Two.
A permanent memorial to them was opened at Green Park in London by the Queen in June 2012.
Vera will be making dozens of air show appearances throughout August and September in the tour sponsored by Lancaster Bomber Ale, until her return to Canada on Monday September 22.
There are also opportunities for tours of both Lancasters at the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre at RAF Coningsby.
Eastbourne will, however, be the first European airshow to host the historic reunion with flypasts on each of the four days of the ‘Airbourne’ weekend.
Crews from both the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum will also be on hand throughout the weekend to chat to members of the public about the aircraft and its history.
For full details of the Lancaster tours visit www.warplane.com/lancaster-2014-uk-tour.aspx and www.lancasterbomberale.co.uk
Follow the flight of Lancaster AVR Vera on Twitter via @MaffManson and @LancsBomberAle. Use the hashtag #Lanc2UK.
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