Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 3: Avro Manchester

Avro Manchester

27 Dec 2020.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk. IA, (Serial No. L7284), coded D-EM, powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Vulture engines.  None were on the RCAF establishment, but many were flown by RCAF aircrews serving with the RAF overseas in No. 408 and No. 420 Squadrons during the Second World War.

During May-June 1942, No. 408 Squadron, RCAF, had one Manchester aircraft, (Serial No. L7401), coded EQ1N, for evaluation as a possible replacement for the Handley Page Hampden.  A Man­chester Conversion Flight was set up under S/L L.B.B. Brice, who flew this aircraft on its two sorties with the squadron: the 1,000-plane raid on Cologne, 30/31 May, and a bombing of Essen on 1/2 June 1942.  The Manchester had to turn back from Cologne owing to hydraulic failure; in the raid on Essen it dropped 126 four-pound incendiaries.  The last Bomber Command sorties by Hampden aircraft were flown by No 408 Squadron on the night of 14/15 September 1942 against Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

No. 408 "Goose" Bomber (B) Squadron operated the following Manchester B. Mk. I's:
(Serial No. L7401), coded EQ-X and Bar later changed to EQ-N and Bar.
(Serial No. L7415), coded EQ-B and Bar.
(Serial No. L7425), coded EQ-C and Bar.
(Serial No. L7484), coded EQ-? and Bar.
(Serial No. R5835), coded EQ-N and Bar.
The Manchester Conversion Flight operated (Serial No. L7401) and (Serial No. R5775).  (Chris Charland)

No. 420 Squadron, RCAF, flew the following Avro Manchester B Mk. Is in Dec 1941: (Serial No. L7291), (Serial No. L7402) and (Serial No. R5771).  The Squadron's Manchester Conversion Flight also used the same aircraft.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Manvchester Mk. I.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk.1A (Serial No. L7486), with extended tail fins.

The Avro 679 Manchester was a British twin-engine medium bomber developed and manufactured in the United Kingdom. While not being built in great numbers, it was the forerunner of the famed and vastly more successful four-engined Avro Lancaster.  Avro designed the Manchester to replace its inventory of twin-engine bombers.  It first flew on 25 July 1939, and entered squadron service in November 1940, just over twelve months after the outbreak of the war.  Operated by both RAF and the RCAF, the Manchester proved to be underpowered and unreliable, and production was terminated in 1941.  However, the Manchester was redesigned into a four-engined heavy bomber, the Avro Lancaster, powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.

 (IWM Photo, CH 3879)

The forward section of an Avro Manchester Mark I of No. 207 Squadron RAF, while running up the port Rolls-Royce Vulture II engine at Waddington, Lincolnshire, showing the nose with the bomb-aimer's window, the forward gun-turret and the pilot's cockpit.

The 193 operational Manchesters flew 1,269 sorties with Bomber Command, dropping 1,826 tons of bombs and lost 78 aircraft in action, flying its last operation against Bremen on 25 June 1942.  A further 45 were non-operational losses of which 30 involved engine failure.  The Manchester was withdrawn from operations in mid-1942 in favour of more capable aircraft.  Its final role in RAF service was as instructional trainers for converting crews to the RAF's new Lancaster bombers; the Manchester and Lancaster shared nearly identical crew positions and fuselages.  The type persisted in use for training purposes into 1943 before being completely retired.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk. IA.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk. IA.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk. IA.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk. IA.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk.1A (Serial No. L7486), with extended tail fins.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk. I (Serial No. L7427), coded OL-Q of No. 83 Squadron, RAF.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Manchester Mk. I (Serial No. L7279), No. 207 Squadron, RAF.

 (RAF Photo)

Nash and Thompson FN4A tail turret of an Avro Manchester Mark I of No. 207 Squadron