The Lancaster bomber was the mainstay of RAF Bomber Command during the second World war and flew deep into Nazi Germany on some of the most hazardous missions of the entire war. Developed from the two engines Manchester bomber, it first flew in 1941. Information extracted from the George Doughty archives points to statistics claiming that 59 Bomber Command Squadrons operated Lancasters, which flew more than 156,000 sorties and dropped 608,612 tons of H/E bombs and more than 51 million incendiary bombs. Of the 7,377 Lancasters built, almost 4,000 were lost in combat.
No. 22 MU was a holding unit and serviced many Lancasters throughout the War. However, as Akitt (2015) indicates “…having flown many missions over occupied territories during the war, afterwards, a sad end came to many of our aircraft at Silloth & Kirkbride under the scrapman’s axe. Here we see some once noble Lancs awaiting their fate at Silloth. The Lancaster in the image below (about 1950) was one of many about to be scrapped at the end of the war.”
“I once heard a tale of a crew bringing a Lancaster into Silloth post war, an aircraft that had seen them safely through a full tour. They thought the aircraft would perhaps be preserved, but discovered it was to join the waiting line of doomed airframes waiting to be cut up…must have been a heartbreak for them, when it had been so dependable, many felt betrayed that their faithful aircraft would come to such a swift and harsh end. Nowadays there is a greater awareness of aircraft preservation, but some WW2 types were lost altogether, at the hands of the scrappers, with not a single example remaining, such was the desire to rid the country of these ‘machines of war’…” (Akitt, January 2015)
Reference: Gordon Akitt (Post abstracted from Silloth History Group Facebook Page, 7th January 2015)
The Lancaster Bomber: Documentary on England’s Most Successful Bomber
History of Everything: Published on 22 August 2013