The Avro Lancaster was a British four-engined heavy bomber, designed and built by A.V. Roe and Company (Avro) for the Royal Air Force (RAF). It first saw active service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and, as the bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it became the main heavy bomber used by the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF. The "Lanc", as it was affectionately known, ultimately became the most famous and most successful of the Second World War night bombers.
Of the many variants of this versatile aircraft that were used, only the Lancaster B Mark X, manufactured by Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario was produced in significant numbers in Canada. A total of 430 of this type were built, differing little from their British-built predecessors, except for using Packard Merlin engines, built in Detroit, and American-style instrumentation and electrics. A total of 7,377 Lancasters of all marks were built throughout the duration of the war, each at a 1943 cost of £45-50,000. Today, only 17 remain in the world and only two of those are currently flying. Ten of the remaining Lancasters are Canadian-built Mark X models.
Our Lancaster, FM212, came off the assembly line in Malton shortly after the end of hostilities and never saw combat operations. In 1946, it was taken on charge by the RCAF and was modified for aerial and photo-reconnaissance work. It performed much of the mapping of northern Canada, amassing over 8000 hours of flight time, until 1962 when it was retired from service. It was purchased in 1964 by the City of Windsor and one year later placed on a pedestal in Jackson Park as a memorial to those who served and died during WWII.
In 2005, due to structural weakening by time and the elements, it was brought down from its pedestal and, in 2007, it made the journey through the streets of Windsor to No.7 E.F.T.S. where the CH2A is currently restoring it.
You can see regular updates on the restoration project at our Lancaster FM212 Restoration Facebook page......
Below is a chronological timeline in pictures of the life of Lancaster FM212. She is nowhere near the end of her storied career. We thank the many photographers, both amateur and professional, who have, over the years, donated these photographs.
(Click on the Start button in the lower right corner of the slideshow window to begin. You may also pause the slideshow at any time.)
Victory Aircraft Ltd. was a Canadian manufacturing company that, during WWII, built mainly British-designed aircraft under license. It acted as a shadow factory, safe from the reach of German bombers.
The Malton, Ontario plant received a contract on 18 September 1941 to build the Avro Lancaster Mk X heavy bomber. When the first drawings arrived in January 1942, the complexity of the project seemed daunting. Some 500,000 manufacturing operations were involved in manufacturing over 55,000 separate components that went into a Lancaster (excluding engines and turrets and small items such as rivets, nuts and bolts).
A Lancaster Mk I (R5727) from Avro Aircraft (UK) was flown across the Atlantic in August 1942, to act as a "pattern" aircraft for production. Differences between the British Lancasters and the Canadian built versions (known as the Mk X) revolved around engines, instruments and radio equipment being manufactured in Canada or the United States instead of England. The Rolls-Royce Merlin engines were the same design, but manufactured by Packard in the United States. A later series Lancaster Mk X replaced the original Frazer-Nash FN 50 mid-upper turret with a US-made Martin 250CE turret moved to a new location farther back on the upper fuselage due to differences in weight between that unit and the original turret. All major sub-assemblies of the Canadian Lancasters were interchangeable with the British versions so that in the event of damage, spare parts were immediately at hand.
From the first blueprints arriving to the first test flight took only 16 months, an impressive accomplishment, not lost on Avro (UK) management. The Malton work force climbed from 3,300 (1942) to 9,521 in 1944, most of them initially unskilled workers and about a quarter of them women. Almost exactly a year to the day from when the "pattern" aircraft was flown to Canada, the Canadian prototype, (serial number KB700), rolled off the Victory Aircraft assembly line on 1 August 1943. Named the "Ruhr Express," much publicity was made of its christening, first flight and its departure to England.
The first Canadian-built Avro Lancaster setting off for war was an occasion for which the country could be proud.
Eventually, Lancaster production at Victory Aircraft reached the impressive mark of one aircraft per day. After being ferried to England and sent to operational squadrons, the Canadian "Lancs" were assigned to No. 6 Group RAF, the RCAF component of RAF Bomber Command, to complete this "all-Canadian" contribution to the war effort. The Malton plant went on to build, by war's end, a total of 3,629 Avro aircraft: 3,197 Ansons, 430 Mk X Lancasters (including six Lancastrian transport conversions), one Mk XV Lincoln heavy bomber, and a single York transport.
Source:Wikipedia Powerpoint presentation: Frank Harvey