Lancaster bombers head to IWM Duxford for reunion with Flying Fortress

By Richard Moss | 20 August 2014

Imperial War Museum Duxford is lining up a weekend of legendary bombers for its September airshow

a photo of two Lancaster Bombers in formation
The last two flying Lancaster bombers© Darren Harbar Photography
The UK tour of the last two remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers has already got aviation enthusiasts talking, but Imperial War Museum Duxford is lining up what might just be the best appearance of the summer. 

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Avro Lancaster Mk X will fly in tandem with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster on Sunday September 14 as part of the weekend airshow that also features another iconic World War Two bomber, the American B-17 Flying Fortress, Sally B.  

B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B is well-known and loved by visitors to IWM Duxford and is the UK’s last remaining airworthy B-17. Based at the museum, the aircraft is a flying memorial to the 79,000 Allied airmen who lost their lives in Europe during the Second World War.

But it is the appearance of the Lancasters, arguably the most famous Allied bomber of the conflict with impressive flying characteristics and operational performance, that will be one of the main draws of the weekend.

The Canadian Lancaster touched down on UK soil on August 8 and is currently housed at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Retired from the Royal Canadian Air Force in late 1963, Lancaster KB726-VR-A or 'Vera' is dedicated to PilotOfficer Andrew Mynarski and is painted in the colours of his aircraft, which flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force No.419 (Moose) Squadron.

Mynarski won the Victoria Cross on June 13 1944, when his Lancaster was shot down in flames by a German night fighter.

As the bomber fell, he attempted to free the tail gunner trapped in the rear turret. The tail gunner miraculously survived the crash and lived to tell the story, but sadly Mynarski died from his severe burns.

Thousands of Canadian airmen and ground crew served with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF) Lancaster squadrons in England during the Second World War. By late 1944, the Canadian No.6 Group of Bomber Command operated 13 squadrons of Lancasters.

The Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Flight is currently painted to represent Lancaster DV385 Thumper Mk III of No.617 Squadron, famously known as The Dambusters.

Thumper was one of the brand-new standard Lancasters issued to the squadron after the Dams Raid in 1943.

For many of DV385's operations it was flown by a crew led by pilot Bob Knights who flew 41 ‘ops’ with No.617 Squadron, 29 of them in Thumper Mk III. Many of them were amongst the unit’s most challenging precision bombing operations. He also took part in all three Lancaster raids against the Tirpitz.

In December 1944, after flying a total of 67 bombing raids, Bob was rested. Thirty two of his fellow aircrew had been killed and more had been injured or became prisoners of war. In January 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Duxford’s September air show also features an appearance by another iconic Avro built bomber, the Vulcan.

Perhaps not as famous as the Lancaster, arguably as iconic and certainly its Cold War successor, the delta-winged Vulcan became the main RAF strike bomber at the forefront of Britain’s nuclear bomber deterrent during the Cold War.

Vulcan XH558 was the first Vulcan B Mark 2 to be delivered to the RAF and was the last Vulcan to leave RAF service after 33 years. It is now the oldest complete Vulcan in the world.

Operated by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, it will fly on Saturday 13 September.

The Duxford Air Show takes place on Saturday and Sunday September 13 – 14 2014. Advance ticket prices: Adult (16 or over) £24.75; Child (5 to 15 years) £16.30; Disabled £16.30 Purchase online at www.iwm.org.uk

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 @LancsBomberAle.

an aerial photo of a large delta-winged aircraft banking
The Avro Vulcan© Courtesy IWM Duxford
What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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Last two airworthy Lancaster bombers to begin UK flying tour at Eastbourne Airshow

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Really great to see the two Lancaster's flying over Duxford.I started work on the car park East at 5 45 am on Sunday finished at 2o/c dog tired ,but I just had to wait to see these two lovely planes fly over .Not since the end of WW11 have I seen two in the air at once.Marvellous Duxford and the crews of both planes,thank you
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