This site is currently under construction. Although it is being updated on a weekly basis, [part time] it will take some years to reach completion. Looking at something with hindsight, gives a somewhat inaccurate picture, and I apologise in advance, if I have misread any situation.
The main section of this site, is the Register. This lists the fate of all 7377 AVRO Lancasters manufactured. Clicking the + sign will expand to show further information. If you know anyone who may have a story to tell, no matter how small, or a photo to show, please do contact us. Likewise, if you notice a mistake, or I have omitted something important, please do let me know, I would like it to be as near correct as possible.
The basic idea for this site, came about through my interest in the AVRO Lancaster Bomber, designed by Roy Chadwick & built by AVRO in the United Kingdom. [Later to be also manufactured in Toronto, Canada]. Add to that, the achievements & bravery of ordinary men & women, thrust into great danger, to protect the United Kingdom and its people, & to some degree, the freedom of the World.
One can read about these exploits in many different books, about individuals from the United Kingdom, and the Countries that together, made up the British Commonwealth. Young men, wanting to play their part in preserving the freedom of the United Kingdom, & other countries in Europe. Men from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa & India. Of course, people came from many other countries, too, even the United States (via the RCAF), and 300 squadron was made up of Polish volunteers, flying out of Faldingworth from April 1944.
Many Bomber crews were quite cosmopolitan in their make-up. The Dam Busters raid from May 1943 gives us an insight into this. 617 Squadron was formed in March 1943 at Scampton in Lincolnshire. Their initial task, was to destroy certain Dams in Germany. There were 19 Lancasters involved, with 7 crew members in each, 133 crew members in all. The identification letters for 617 squadron at this time, were AJ- followed by the specific aircraft’s letter.
Leading the raid was Wing Commander Guy P. Gibson in AJ-G. His navigator and front gunner were members of the RCAF, [Royal Canadian Air Force]. His bomb aimer was a member of the RAAF, [Royal Australian Air Force]. The rest of the crew were members of the RAF, [Royal Air Force].
Flight Lieutenant H.B.Martin pilot of AJ-P, RAF, had in his crew; navigator, RAAF, bomb aimer, RAAF,
front gunner, RAAF, rear gunner, RAAF, wireless operator, RNZAF, [Royal New Zealand Air Force]. The seventh man, the flight engineer, was a member of the RAF.
Lancaster AJ-W was piloted by Flight Lieutenant J.L.Munro, RNZAF. His wireless operator and rear gunner, were both members of the RCAF.
Out of the 19 Pilots, eight were from Commonwealth Air Forces. [Flight Lieutenant J.C.McCarthy in AJ-T, a member of the RCAF, came from the USA].
From this small example, one can see there were many crew members from Commonwealth countries. in the RAF. On the Dam Busters raid, the crews consisted of- 12 RAAF, 27 RCAF, 2 RNZAF, 92 RAF.
World War 2 was all about freedom. Hitler was aiming for World domination, thankfully, there were enough people with other ideas. We can only imagine what it would have been like, if Hitler had won, and our imagination tells us, that it would not have been good. The AVRO Lancaster, and the many people connected with it, helped to ensure that Hitler and the Nazi threat, did not become a reality.
I personally, value my freedom, and I will always be eternally grateful to the many young people who paid the supreme sacrifice, for the freedom of others. It is easy to assume, that the young men in their Avro Lancasters, died mainly, in confrontations with the enemy. Sadly, this was not the case. Many died during training, or bad weather, and others through a failure of some system or item in their aircraft. Planes crashed into each other in poor visibility, and some ran out of fuel, because the weather was not as predicted, or there were hold ups over the target area.
The Aircraft itself, was a mere tool, albeit, an absolute cracker! Completed ready for War, in record time, due to British engineering skill, and the determination of the ordinary men & women who built that magnificent Avro Lancaster.
The people who surrounded it, were the real heroes. The designers, the builders, the ground crews, Sir Arthur Harris & all his staff, and of course, all the crews, the people we can learn so much from. They worked as a team, each looking out for the other, generally 7 young men, fighting for our freedom. Probably, in doing their job, they shortened the course of the War, & saved thousands of lives in so doing.
We welcome reciprocal links to other sites that may be of interest to our visitors.
There are many memorials around the World. If you are ever near Runneymede, which is between London’s Heathrow Airport, and Windsor, you may wish to visit the RAF Memorial up on the hill. There are 20,000 names, on large vertical marble tablets, of Airmen, with no known grave. From all corners of the Globe, people come to see the name of their friend or relative. Perhaps to leave a note, or some flowers, it is a beautiful, & peaceful place. The names listed are divided as below-
South African Air Force 17
Royal Indian Air Force 7
Women’s Auxiliary Air Force 10
Ferry Command 9
Air Transport Auxiliary 8
British Overseas Airways Corporation 7
Air Training Corps 4
Commonwealth & Polish Lancaster Squadrons, during WW2.
44, Rhodesian. 460, Australian. 467, Australian. 426, Canadian. 405, Canadian. 408, Canadian. 432, Canadian. 463, Australian. 419, Canadian. 75, New Zealand. 300, Polish. 428, Canadian. 431, Canadian. 434, Canadian. 424, Canadian. 433, Canadian. 427, Canadian. 429, Canadian. 420, Canadian.
I hope you find something interesting in this website, but above all, if you are free, spare a thought for the thousands of young men who lost their lives during WW2, fighting for freedom .
Royal Air Force Command Losses 1939-45 WW2
West Africa 461
Army Coop 634
2nd Tactical 2,828
Flying Training 3,863
Tech Training 7,345
Middle East 13,225
Charles H Pinion
Website register data collated & input by Gordon Stone of Real Steel.
Website design by Rob Morgan of Avro Systems
Investigating “suitability” of statements, and “construction” by David A Brown [New Zealand]