Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 4: Avro York

Avro York

Data current to 30 Dec 2020.

(Bomber Command Museum of Canada Photo)

Victory Aircraft Ltd, Canada (Avro) York (Serial No. FM400) was the only one built in Canada, as a C. Mk.1 with modified cabin floor for the RCAF.

The Avro York was a British transport aircraft developed during the Second World War.  The design was derived from the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber, with several sections of the York and Lancaster being identical.  Due to the importance of Lancaster production, York output proceeded at a slow pace until 1944, after which a higher priority was placed upon transport aircraft.

The Avro 685 York featured a high wing mounted on a new square-section boxy fuselage with a considerably increased internal volume when compared with the Avro 683 Lancaster.  The first two prototypes had twin fins (as did the Lancaster) but all subsequent aircraft were fitted with a third central fin to improve directional stability.

The York saw service in military and civilian roles with various operators between 1943 and 1964.  In military service, large numbers of Yorks were used for air-supply missions during the Berlin Blockade 1948–49.  

A total of 257 Avro 685 York aircraft were built, comprising four prototypes, 208 aircraft for the RAF (five of which were diverted to BOAC), 25 'new-build' aircraft for BOAC, 12 British South American Airways, 3 Skyways (one of which was diverted from RAF order), and 5 FAMA.  One additional aircraft was built by Victory Aircraft Ltd in Canada.

The Avro York Lancaster derivative built in Canada was FM-400. In early 1943, Victory Aircraft was given an order to build fifty of these aircraft to be used for Trans-Atlantic service.  The York modification was significant in that the fuselage was square-shaped in cross-section in order to make the aircraft more suitable to carry passengers or freight.  By the summer of 1943 it was determined that the York's large rectangular fuselage would introduce an unacceptable icing hazard on the North Atlantic route and would also be unsuited for pressurization if it was determined that this was necessary.  Modified Lancasters were then chosen for the Trans-Atlantic role.  FM-400 first flew on 14 November 1944 and was delivered to Britain shortly afterwards.

It was registered in Britain as G-ALBX and was lost during the Berlin Airlift in June 1949.  It had served well though, completing an astonishing 467 trips into the city as a tanker.

A number of British-built Avro Yorks flew in Canada as privately owned transports during the 1950's.

 (Wilma Bearman Photo via Don Smith)

Avro York C Mk. 3 (Serial No. MW100), built in the UK.

 (Wilma Bearman Photo via Don Smith)

Avro York C Mk. 3 (Serial No. MW100), built as a C. Mk.1 with modified cabin floor for RCAF.  Pilot unidentified.

 (Wilma Bearman Photo via Don Smith)

Avro York, RAF, visiting RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia in 1949.

 (Wilma Bearman Photo via Don Smith)

Avro York, RAF, visiting RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia in 1949.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro York Mk. I in flight, RAF. 

 (SDA&SM Archives)

Avro York, RAF.