Aircraft History

Avro Lancaster X

The Lancaster Mark X was built in Canada by Victory Aircraft in Toronto from 1942 until the end of the Second World War to supplement production of Lancasters built by AVRO in Great Britain. The first and best-known Canadian-built Lancaster, the "Ruhr Express" was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in the summer of 1943. It was flown by Nos. 405 and 419 Squadrons until it was destroyed on 2 January 1945 in a taxiing accident after returning from a raid on Nuremberg, Germany. The Lancaster and its companion bomber, the Halifax, were flown by the RCAF's No. 6 Group (15 Squadrons), which formed Canada's major contribution to the RAF's Bomber Command. After victory in Europe in May 1945, the RCAF established No. 6 Group Advance Headquarters in Halifax N.S. to reorganize and train No. 6 Group squadrons for operations with the RAF "Tiger Force" in the Pacific. Eight squadrons, re-equipped with Mark X Lancaster's, were repatriated to Canada and formed into the following Heavy Bomber Wings: 661 Wing, Yarmouth N.S. (419, 428 Sqns.); 662 Wing, Dartmouth N.S. (431, 434 Sqns.); 663 Wing, Debert N.S. (420, 425 Sqns.) and 664 Wing, Greenwood N.S. (405, 408 Sqns.).

The Lancaster X wartime camouflage paint scheme consisted of matte earth brown and dark green on the upper surfaces to blend in with the terrain when viewed from above and matte black on the sides and under surfaces to blend in with the night sky when seen from below. A bulge on the aft lower ventral fuselage housed the H2S radar used for night navigation.

The two "Tiger Force" Dartmouth squadrons 431 (Iroquois) and 434 (Bluenose) flew their last operational missions in Europe on 15 April and 25 April 1945 respectively. 431 Squadron was officially based at RCAF Station Dartmouth on 12 June 1945 followed by 434 Squadron on 25 June 1945. Victory in Japan occurred before the "Tiger Force" could deploy to the Pacific and both 431 and 434 Squadrons were disbanded at RCAF Station Dartmouth on 5 September 1945. The other Lancaster Mk. X squadrons at Yarmouth, Debert and Greenwood were similarly disbanded in September 1945.

When Nos. 404 and 405 Squadrons reformed in April 1951 and March 1950 respectively at Greenwood NS, they flew the Lancaster Mk. X in the maritime patrol role until replaced by the Lockheed P2V7 Neptune in 1955.

Type: Long Range Heavy Bomber

Wing Span: 31.09 m (102 ft )

Length : 21.18 m (69 ft 6 in)

Height: 6.10 m (20 ft)

Max. Speed: 462 kph (287 mph)

Service Ceiling : 7468 m (24,500 ft)

Range: 4072 km (2530 miles)

Max. Weight: 31,751 kg (70,000 lb)

Empty Weight: 16,738 kg (36,900 lb)

Crew : Seven; Bomb Aimer, Pilot, Flight Engineer, Navigator, Radio Operator, Mid-Upper Gunner, and Tail Gunner

Power Plant: Four 1223 kW (1640 hp) Rolls Royce Merlin 24, inline piston engines

Armament: Eight 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns (two each in nose and dorsal turrets and four in tail turret) plus one 9979 kg (22,000 lb) bomb or up to 6350 kg (14,000 lb) of smaller bombs.