Luck of a Lancaster: 107 operations, 244 crew, 103 killed in by Gordon Thorburn

By Gordon Thorburn

No nine Squadron of Bomber Command switched over from the Wellington to the Lancaster in August 1942. W4964 was once the 70th Lanc to reach on squadron, in mid April 1943. She flew her first op at the twentieth, in which time No nine had misplaced 41 in their Lancs to enemy motion and one other 5 have been transferred to different squadrons and misplaced by way of them. No nine could quickly lose one more 13 of the seventy. the entire ultimate 11 will be broken, repaired, transferred to different squadrons or education devices, and misplaced to enemy motion or crashes with the exception of 3 which, in a few type of retirement, might final lengthy adequate to be scrapped after the war.

Only one of many seventy completed a century of ops or something love it: W4964 WS-J.

Across all squadrons and all of the battle, the typical lifetime of a Lancaster was once 22.75 sorties, yet a little less for the front-line squadrons going to Germany 3 and 4 instances per week in 1943 and '44, which was once while W4964 was once flying her 107 sorties, all without nine Squadron and all from RAF Bardney. the 1st was once Stettin (Szczecin in smooth Poland), and thereafter she went anywhere nine Squadron went, to Berlin, the Ruhr, and many of the gigantic ops of the time resembling Peenemünde and Hamburg. She used to be given a distinct personality as J-Johnny Walker, ‘still going robust’ and on September 15 1944, skippered through Flight Lieutenant James Douglas Melrose, her Tallboy certain bomb was once the one one to hit the battleship Tirpitz.

During her occupation, good over 200 airmen flew in J. None have been killed whereas doing so, yet ninety-six of them died in different airplane. this can be their tale, and the tale of 1 fortunate Lancaster.

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