Aircraft History

Westland Lysander

The Lysander was built by Westland in England to meet the Royal Air Force's (RAF) requirement for an army co-operation aircraft. The first of 1,652 Lysanders was delivered to the RAF in 1938 and were used in France from the beginning of the Second World War until the evacuation from Dunkirk. After withdrawal from front line use Lysanders played an important role in clandestine operations. The Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) No. 112 and 400 Squadrons flew Lysanders in Europe until replaced by more suitable tactical fighters.

The Lysander was also in demand in Canada during the war for a myriad of general-purpose duties ranging from target-towing to light transport. National Steel Car (later Victory Aircraft) in Toronto built 225 Lysnders under license for the RCAF, which flew the aircraft in Canada from 1939 until retired in 1946.

The first Lysanders arrived at RCAF Station Dartmouth in October 1939 as part of No. 118 Coast Artillery Co-operation Squadron. The Lysanders provided target information for the army's coastal artillery batteries, which were located along the shore of the Halifax approaches to help defend the harbour against enemy naval gun bombardment. When 118 Squadron disbanded to become a fighter squadron later in 1939 the Lysanders at Dartmouth formed No. 2 Coast Artillery Co-operation Detachment. The Lysanders were absorbed into No. 121 Composite (K) Unit at Dartmouth in January 1942 where in addition to their coastal artillery spotting duties they were used for target towing, light transport and search and rescue until March 1944.

Type: Two-seat army co-operation aircraft

Wing Span: 15.24m (50ft 0in)

Length: 9.30m (30ft 6in)

Height: 4.42m (14ft 6in)

Max. Speed: 341 kph (212 mph) (600 miles)

Service Ceiling: 6555m (21,500 ft)

Range: 966 km

Max. Weight: 2866 kg (6,318 lbs)

Empty Weight: 1980 kg (4,365 lbs)

Power Plant: One 649-kW (870 hp) Bristol Mercury XX radial piston engine

Armament: One 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Browning machine gun in each spat (2) and two on trainable mount in rear cockpit plus up to 227 kg (500 lbs) of bombs