Veteran Lancs (Paperback)
A Photographic Record of the 35 RAF Lancasters that Each Completed One Hundred Sorties
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Aviation historians will know that the Avro Lancaster bomber is the most famous aircraft to have fought with RAF Bomber Command during World War Two. They will know too that, of the 7,366 that were built, over 3,400 were lost on operations and a further 200 plus were destroyed and written-off in crashes. Operational sorties flown totalled more than 156,000, carrying over 600,000 tons of bombs to targets all over Europe.
But this came at a terrible cost. With extensive losses on some night operations, occurring when bombers were pitted against a dedicated German night-fighter arm (as well as anti-aircraft fire) it is not surprising, or even incredible, that just 35 Lancasters managed to complete 100 or more sorties during the course of the war. A number of them actually achieved well over one hundred sorties, and a few were tragically lost after reaching this amazing figure.
This book covers the history of these 35 incredible Lancasters, featuring many photographs of both aircraft and crew members drawn together in an effort to create a photographic record of these veterans. In addition, there is a section dedicated to many Lancasters that, whilst not achieving this almost magic total, either through eventual loss or the ending of the war, did achieve a large number of operations. Pictures of these have been added so that their achievements, as well as the achievements of the crews who flew in them, can be viewed together.
As featured inFliegerblatt, 2016 (no.5)
The average Lancaster bomber, flying operations during W.W.II, could expect to return fromAircrew Book Review
about twenty trips before being lost. It’s therefore no surprise to learn that out of more than 7000 examples, just 35 are known to have flown more than 100 raids.
In this book, the prolific and respected
Norman Franks shares the stories of each of those centenarians and a number of others
that almost made it. Some of the featured aircraft – like R5868 ‘S-Sugar’ or EE139
‘Phantom of the Ruhr’ – are quite famous, but most are not. That is both a strength and a limitation of this book. The inclusion of the
less-famous aircraft tells a rarely told part of the Bomber Command story, but it follows that there is less information on some, and Franks occasionally falls into the trap of supposing and assuming, where there perhaps
wasn’t quite enough recorded detail to work with.
Billed as a ‘photographic record’, Franks includes several well-known photos, but also
draws extensively from a very large collection of images that have never before been published.There are some outstanding photos among them.
The final section, a potted collection
of nineteen ‘almost-centenarians’, is particularly good. In places the reproduction,
which is just on standard paper stock, is not the most impressive quality, but bearing in mind the varying condition of wartime
prints, it may well be that this is as good as it gets.
Don’t expect the most exciting read, but for that collection of images ‘Veteran Lancs’ is
worth a look.
Because of its subject, this volume is encyclopedic in nature. It is well written, and contains a wealth of information about its subjects.NZ Crown Mines
This recent Images of War title takes an interesting look at the famous Lancaster. As it tells us in the introduction, I think it is quite thought provoking that of 7,366 Lancasters that were built, only 35 made it to the magic figure of 100 missions. To reach this figure took longer than you might have thought, but it also gives a good indication of the loss rates suffered by Bomber Command, and the odds that were against the 7-man aircrews who manned each Lancaster.Military Modelling, Robin Buckland
It is an interesting story and great to have a collective record of these 35 aircraft and the crews who flew them. For the modeller, you will also find some useful reference detail for the aircraft themselves, as well as uniforms and ground equipment that was used around the aircraft.
Read the full review here!