Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 5: Avro Lancaster, RCAF post-war

Avro Lancaster, RCAF post war

Data current to 12 April 2021.

(RCAF Photo via Mark Allen)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM207), coded MN, in flight, post war.  Built by Victory Aircraft Ltd. in Jul 1945; Flown to England on 22 Aug 1945; the last Lancaster manufactured in Canada delivered overseas; returned to Canada on 19 Nov 1945; placed in storage until Jun 1949.  Avro (Canada) converted it to Mk. 10P standard, the seventh conversion, for use with No. 413 (P) Squadron, No. 9 (T) Group.  On the formation of No. 408 (P) Squadron, it was reissued, coded MN207; also coded AK207; SOC 26 Sep 1962; used as spares.

The Canadian built Avro Lancasters were powered by four Packard Merlin 224 engines with 1,640 hp each.  These aircraft had a maximum speed of 442 kmh (275 mph), a cruising speed of 337 kmh ((210 mph), a service ceiling of 7,833 m (25,700 ft)  and a range of 4,071 km (2,530 miles).  Thousands of Canadian airmen and ground crew served with RCAF and RAF Lancaster squadrons in England, during the Second World War.  By late 1944, Canada's No. 6 Group, Bomber Command operated thirteen squadrons of Lancasters carrying the war to Germany.  At home, thousands more Canadians worked at Victory Aircraft in Malton (Toronto), Ontario to produce 430 Lancaster Mk. 10s, between 1943 and 1945.  Their role in the war from 1942 to 1945 is covered on a separate page on this website. 

Following the end of the Second World War, approximately 230 Lancasters served with the RCAF in several roles including, Arctic reconnaissance, maritime patrol and as a bomber.  Beginning in 1946, Avro Lancaster Mk. 10s were modified in Canada for service with the post-war RCAF.  Fourteen aircraft were modified to perform aerial and photo-reconnaissance missions; these would go on to perform much of the mapping of northern Canada until as late as 1962.  Throughout the 1950s, the RCAF operated seventy modified Lancasters, designated Lancaster 10MR/MPs, as Maritime Reconnaissance and Patrol aircraft in an anti-submarine role.  Modifications involved the installation of radar and sonobuoy operators' positions, removal of the rear and mid-upper gun turrets, installation of a 400-gallon fuel tank in the bomb bay to increase the patrol range, upgraded electronics, radar, and instrumentation, and a cooking stove in the centre section.  These Lancasters served throughout the 1950s, when they were replaced by the Lockheed Neptune and the Canadair Argus.

The Lancaster was officially retired from the RCAF at Downsview (Toronto), Ontario, in April 1964. 

Avro Lancasters flown by the RCAF post-war had the following unit codes:

AF, No. 404 Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Squadron.

AG and VN, No. 405 Maritime Recnaissance (MR) Squadron.

AJ and RX, No. 407 Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Squadron.

AK and MN, No. 408 Photographic (P) Squadron.

AP, No. 413 Photographic (P) Squadron.

CH and FH, No. 103 Rescue Unit (RU).

CJ and FH, No. 123 Rescue Unit (RU).

CQ, Central Navigation School (CNS).

CX, No. 107 Rescue Unit (RU).

DD, Central Flying School (CFS).

DH, Central Navigation School (CNS).

DK, Air Armament School (AAS).

FC and PX, Central Experimental Proving Estabishment (CEPE) and Winter Experimental Establishment (WEE).

GS, No. 1 Air Navigation School (1 ANS).

HW, No. 2 Air Navigation School (2 ANS).

XV, (Maritime) Operational Training Unit  (OTU).

 (British Columbia Archives Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, taking off at RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia, ca 1950s. 

The Canadian-built Lancaster B Mk. X was produced in significant numbers.  A total of 430 of this type were built, earlier examples differing little from their British-built predecessors, except for using Packard-built Merlin engines and American-style instruments and electronics.

Postwar, the Lancaster was supplanted as the main strategic bomber of the RAF by the Avro Lincoln, a larger version of the Lancaster (three were built in Canada and flown by the RCAF).  The Lancaster took on the role of long range anti-submarine patrol aircraft and air-sea rescue.  It was also used for photo-reconnaissance and aerial mapping.

Beginning in 1946, Lancaster Mk. Xs were modified for service with the RCAF.  Fourteen aircraft were modified to perform aerial and photo-reconnaissance missions; these would go on to perform much of the mapping of northern Canada until as late as 1962.  Throughout the 1950s, the RCAF operated seventy modified Lancasters, designated Lancaster 10MR/MPs, as Maritime Reconnaissance and Patrol aircraft in an anti-submarine role.  Modifications involved the installation of radar and sonobuoy operators' positions, removal of the rear and mid-upper gun turrets, installation of a 400-gallon fuel tank in the bomb bay to increase the patrol range, upgraded electronics, radar, and instrumentation, and a cooking stove in the centre section.  They served throughout the 1950s, when they were replaced by the Lockheed Neptune and Canadair Argus.

The B.X was a Canadian-built B.III with Canadian- and US-made instruments and electrics.  On later batches the heavier Martin 250CE was substituted for the Nash & Thomson FN-50 mid-upper turret, mounted further forward to maintain centre of gravity balance.  Canada was a long term operator of the Lancaster, using modified aircraft after the war for maritime patrol, search and rescue and photo-reconnaissance until 1964.  The last flight by the RCAF was by F/L Lynn Garrison in (Serial No. KB-976), on 4 July 1964 at the Calgary International Air Show.

Postwar the RCAF modified the B X (as the Lancaster Mk 10) to fill a variety of roles, with specific designations for each role. These included:

10ARArea Reconnaissance – three aircraft modified for surveillance operations over the Arctic. Fitted with lengthened nose (40 inches (100 cm) longer) and carrying cameras and ELINT equipment. These remained in service until 1964.

10BRBomber Reconnaissance. Minimally modified variant with additional windows for observers in rear fuselage. 13 converted.

10DCDrone controller with Ryan Firebee drones – two modified in 1957 and operational until 1961.

10MR (later 10MP): Maritime Reconnaissance or Maritime Patrol anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, based on BR with mid-upper turret removed.  70–75 converted. In service from 1950 to 1955.

10NNavigational trainer. Five converted.

10OOrenda jet engine testbed for the engine used in the Avro CF-100 Canuck.

10PPhoto reconnaissance mapping duties. 11 converted 1948–1950.  Retired 1964.

10S&R: Interim search-and-rescue aircraft, minimally modified 10S. Replaced by disarmed 10BR and 10MRs.

10S : Standard – designation applied to baseline standard, with Merlin 224 engines, Marin mid-upper turret and H2S radar, for aircraft retained postwar for future use. Sometimes referred to by unofficial designation 10U.

B.XV: As per Lancaster B.IV/Lincoln B.1 but built in Canada and renamed Avro Lincoln XV.  Three were built before order was cancelled when war ended.

Of the 17 surviving and largely intact Lancasters known to exist, two are airworthy; one, called Vera (Serial No. FM213), coded VR-A, is in Canada, operated by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope, a suburb of Hamilton, Ontario, and the other, (Serial No. PA474), is based in Coningsby, in the UK, operated by The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.  In 2014, "Vera" toured the UK in a series of joint displays with the BBMF aircraft.  For the 2018 flying season, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Operation Chastise, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Lancaster is painted in the markings of Guy Gibson's 617 Squadron aircraft (Serial No. ED932), coded AJ-G, when he commanded the "Dambusters" raids.

Another Lancaster, Just Jane, based in East Kirkby Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre is able to taxi but is not currently airworthy, though there are plans to return her to flight in the future.  The fourth Lancaster with working engines and able to taxi is "Bazalgette" (Serial No. FM159), based at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta.  It has been carefully restored from a vandalised state and is now a major tourist attraction.

Post war RCAF Lancasters by Unit

No. 404 Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Squadron, aircraft coded AF, was reformed on 30 April 1951, at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  On 17 July 1956, No. 404 Squadron was redesignated as a Maritime Patrol squadron, and when the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora came into service the title was changed again to No. 404 Maritime Patrol and Training Squadron. The current title is No. 404 Long Range Patrol and Training (LRP&T) Squadron.

 (DND Photo, PL53537 via Fred Paradie)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM126), coded AF-J, No. 404 Squadron, Maritime Lancaster.  Arrived at No. 419 (B) Squadron at Middleton St George, Durham, England by May 1945; not on operations; flown back to Canada as a spare; placed in storage for a short while then transferred to Camp Borden, Ontario, on 19 Mar 1947 as Ground Instruction Machine No. 551B, used for Engine run-ups; SOC 5 Mar 1954.

Avro Lancaster Mark variations include 10 AR (Aerial Reconnaissance/Arctic Reconnaissance), 10BR (Bomber Reconnaissance), 10C (Chinook engine test bed), 10MR (Maritime Reconnaissance), 10MP (Maritme Patrol/Maritime Photographic), 10SR (Search and Rescue), 10 DC (Drone Carrying/Controler/Carrier), 10O (Orenda jet engine development), 10P (Photographic Reconnaissance/Photographic Survey), 10N (Navigation Trainer), 10S (Standard/unmodified).

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Maehler)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM110), painted B110 on the nose, No. 404 Squadron, starting engine No. 3 at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia with the fire guard standing by and the back door still open.  Flown to England and issued to No. 405 (B) Squadron in May 1945 at Linton-on-Ouse, Yorks; returned to Canada on 17 June 1945 for use with Tiger Force,No. 664 (HB) Wing, RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia; to Avro Canada converted to Mk. 10MR in 1950; issued to No. 2 OTU; SOC 23 Jan 1955; scrapped.

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MP (Serial No. KB959), coded AF-A, No. 404 "Buffalo" (MR) Squadron, RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  Flown to England; issued to No. 405 (B) Squaron, coded LQ-Y; too late for operations; returned to Canada on 17 Jun 1945; attached to No. 664 Wing, Tiger Force, RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia; converted to Mk. 10MP; issued to No. 404 (MR), coded VC-AFA; in service until SOC 17 May 1963

Lancaster KB959 was used in the flypast over the Canadian Parliament buildings during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953.  F/O M.J. Piercy, was navigator and Wing Commander D.E. Galloway was pilot. (Brent Piercy)

No. 405 Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Squadron, aircraft coded AG and VN, was reformed on 1 April 1947 as No. 405 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  It was later redesignated No. 405 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron and then No. 405 Maritime Patrol Squadron.  In April 1950, as a Maritime Patrol Squadron, the squadron was equipped with modified Mk. X Lancasters.  These were replaced in mid-1955 by the Lockheed P2V7 Neptune, giving the squadron a much greater anti-submarine capability.   In Apr 1958 the squadron was the first to fly the Canadair CP-107 Argus.  The squadron made its last flight in the Argus on 10 November 1980 before it was replaced by the Lockheed CP-140.  Though No. 405 Squadron's primary combat functions are anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASUW), most of its time is spent fulfilling a variety of non-combat roles.  These include search and rescue, counter-drug operations with the RCMP, and anti-pollution and fisheries patrols.  It flew operations in the Arabian Sea after the 11 Sep 2001 terrorist attacks.

(USN Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MP, RCAF (Serial No. KB868), No. 405 (MP) Squadron, running up at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, Feb 1955.

KB 868 was built by Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario.  It was flown to England in Jan 1945 and issued to No. 431 Squadron, RCAF, in Mar 1945.  It returned to Canada on 5 Jun 1945 with No. 431 Squadron, coded SE-E, for use with the "Tiger Force", No. 662 (HB) Wing, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  It was later converted to a Mk. 10MP maritime patrol aircraft and issued to No. 405 (MP) Squadron in 1952, coded VC-AGS.  It was retired on 23 Jun 1955.  No. 405 Squadron had been reactivated on 31 Mar 1950 as No. 405 (Eagle) Squadron, as a maritime patrol squadron based at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MP, RCAF (Serial No. KB868), No. 405 Squadron.  KB868 previously served with No. 431 Squadron (SE-E) until Mar 1945.  It was flown back to Canada in June 1945, modified to Mk. 10MP and eventually scrapped in June 1955.

 (USN - NAS Jacksonville Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MP of No. 405 Squadron, RCAF, at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida, in February 1955.  No. 405 Squadron had been reactivated on 31 Mar 1950 as No. 405 (Eagle) Squadron, as a maritime patrol squadron based at Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

No. 407 Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Squadron, aircraft coded AJ and RX, was reactivated on 1 July 1952 at RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia flying the Avro Lancaster.  On 17 July 1956 it was redesignated as a Maritime Patrol Squadron.  The squadron has served continuously at Comox since 1952.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM 219), coded RX, No. 407 Squadron, RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia.  TOS 21 Aug 1946; converted to Mk. 10MP; issued to No. 407 (MR) Squadron as RX219; arrived at Comox on 9 Mar 1955 as the first squadron aircraft equipped with APS-33 radar system; F/Sgt. Sid Skinner flew it on its last mission on 12 May 1959 with No. 407 (MR) Squadron, with a crew that had all served in Lancaster bombers during the Second World War.

 (SDASM Archives Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10N, RCAF (Serial No. KB892), coded AJ, No. 407 (MR) Squadron.  Issued to No. 419 (B) Squadron on 29 Mar 1945; not on operations; Returned to Canada with No. 419 Squadron, coded VR-P for use with Tiger Force, No. 661(HB) Wing, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  Stored; then converted to Mk. 10MP in 1951; issued to No. 407 (MR) c1952, coded RX892; converted to Mk. 10MP in 1956 with an armoured nose turret and the letter J; SOC 2 Jun 1960.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM219), coded RX, No. 407 Squadron, along with a line-up of 407 Squadron Lockheed Neptunes at RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia.

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro Lancasters on the line with No. 407 Squadron, RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10N, RCAF (Serial Nos. KB973 and KB892), coded AJ, No. 407 (MR) Squadron.

AK and MN, No. 408 Photographic (P) Squadron, aircraft coded AK and MN, was reformed on 10 Jan 1949 at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario.  Equipped with eight Avro Lancaster Mk. X photographic aircraft, it was tasked with the mapping of Canada, specifically the far North.  In 1962, the squadron formed a flight of Canadair CT-133 Silver Star aircraft and was given the additional task of photo reconnaissance missions in support of Army exercises.  The Lancasters were retired on 29 Feb 1964, and replaced with Douglas CC-129 Dakotas.  The "Goose" Squadron moved to Rivers, Manitoba, and was re-designated as a transport support and area reconnaissance squadron.

On 1 May 1964, RCAF Station Rivers Transport Support Flight with its Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars, was transferred into No. 408 Squadron.  In 1965, the Boxcars were replaced by Lockheed CC-130 Hercules aircraft.  As the decade drew to a close, No. 408 Squadron was once again redesignated.  On 1 Oct 1968, it started its long history with No. 10 Tactical Air Group as a "Tactical Fighter Squadron".  During this post-war era, the squadron flew seven different aircraft: the Avro Lancaster, Cansos, Norseman, Dakotas, Boxcars, CT-33s, and Hercules.  Late in 1970, the squadron was once more disbanded.  On 1 Jan 1971, No. 408 Squadron was once again re-activated at Namao in Edmonton, Alberta, as a tactical helicopter squadron (THS) and equipped with Bell CH-135 Twin Huey and Bell CH-136 Kiowa helicopters.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643745)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10P, RCAF (Serial No. FM214), coded AK-B, No. 408 Squadron, Aug 1949.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. KB882), coded MN, No. 408 (P) Squadron, over Edmundston, New Brunswick in the late 1940s.

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10P (Serial No. FM215), coded AK-C, No. 408 "Goose" (P) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario.

 (RCAF Photo via Fred Paradie)

Avro Lancaster (Serial No. KB882), coded MN, post-war with No. 408 Squadron, RCAF.

(RCAF Photo via Mike Kehler) 

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. KB976), coded MN, in flight.  No. 408 (P) Squadron, "Victory", with an extended nose.

 (Larry Farley Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. KB976), coded MN, No. 408 (P) Squadron, "Victory", with an extended nose, Calgary, Dec 1964. 

KB994 was flown to England in June 1945, where it served with No. 32 Maintenance Unit, 408 Squadron (EQ-K).  Returned to Canada 16 June 1945.  Aircraft was struck off Charge from the RCAF 22 Jan 1947.  It stood on a farm in Alberta until acquired by teh No. 408 Squadron Museum, CFB Edmonton, Alberta, 1984-1988.  Sold to Charles Church and shipped to Manchester, England.  Registered as G-BVBP, stored dismantled at Bedford, Biggin Hill, UK, fuselage to be used in the rebuild of KB976.  Forward fuselage under restoration with David Arnold, Flying A Services, North Weald Airfield, Epping, Essex, England.

 (DND Photo via Francois Dutil)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM207), coded MN, No. 408 (P) Squadron.

 (DND Photo via Francois Dutil)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM207), coded MN, No. 408 (P) Squadron.

 (DND Photo via Francois Dutil)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM207), coded MN, No. 408 (P) Squadron.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Shearwater Aviation Museum)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. KB976), coded AK, in flight.  No. 408 (P) Squadron, "Victory", with an extended nose.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584502)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, coded AK-A, No. 408 (P) Squadron, 23 May 1951.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584572)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM217), coded AK, No. 408 (P) Squadron, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 6 Sep 1951.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584553)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM217), coded AK, No. 408 (P) Squadron, 18 Jun 1951.

 (SDASM Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. 120), coded MN, No. 408 (P) Squadron.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207414)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM207), No. 408 (P) Squadron, 2 Apr 1951.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584699)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. 212), coded AK-A, No. 408 (P) Squadron, 26 Aug 1952.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584509)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, coded AK, No. 408 (P) Squadron, 23 May 1951.28 May 1951.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584666)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM217), coded AK, No. 408 (P) Squadron, 26 Aug 1952.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584553)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM217), coded AK, No. 408 (P) Squadron, 18 Jun 1951.

 (DND Photo via Francois Dutil)

Avro Lancaster (Serial No. FM199), coded MN, No. 408 (P) Squadron.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR (Serial No. FM212), coded AK-A, No. 408 (P) Squadron.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584699)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR (Serial No. FM212), coded AK-A, No. 408 (P) Squadron, 25 Aug 1952.

No. 413 Photographic (P) Squadron, aircraft coded AP, reformed on 1 Apr 1947 at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, it took over the duties of No. 13 (Photographic) Squadron.  It operated in this role until 1 Nov 1950.  The squadron reformed again on 1 Aug 1951, as a fighter squadron at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec.  Equipped with the Canadair CL-13 Sabre, No. 413 Squadron deployed to 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrücken, Germany.  No. 413 Squadron stood down on 7 Apr 1957, and was then reformed on 1 May 1957 operating the Avro CF-100 Canuck at Bagotville.  The squadron again disbanded on 30 Dec 1961.  The squadron was reactivated at CFB Summerside on 8 July 1968, in its current role of a Transportation and Rescue Squadron.  With the closure of CFB Summerside, the squadron was relocated to CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia on 10 June 1991.

(RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM128), coded AP-U, No. 413 (P) Squadron.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584468)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM216), coded AP-D, 28 No. 413 (P) Squadron, Dec 1959.

No. 103 Rescue Unit (RU), aircraft coded CH and FH, stood up on 1 April 1947, at RCAF Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia as No. 103 Search and Rescue Flight a section of 101KU.  Later that year, the unit moved to RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  In 1950, the unit was renamed No. 103 Rescue Unit and moved to RCAF Station Summerside, Prince Edward Island, where it remained until the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, when it was disbanded.  The remnants of the unit formed No. 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron at CFB Summerside As No. 103 RU it flew a variety of aircraft: Canso A (until 1962), Avro Lcaster (until 1965), Douglas Dakota (until 1968), Noorduyn Norseman (until 1957), and Sikorsky H-5 helicopters (until 1965).  No. 103 RU also had detachments at RCAF Station Torbay, Newfoundland, and RCAF Station Goose Bay (closed in 1954).  The RCN provided High Speed Launch vessels (ex-RCMP) support at select locations.  The unit was re-activated in 1977 at CFB Gander, Newfoundland, to meet the search and rescue demands in Canada's area of responsibility in the western North Atlantic region.

 (Wilma Bearman Photo via Don Smith)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10SR, RCAF (Serial No. KB954), coded VC-CHG, No. 103 Rescue Unit.

No. 123 Search and Rescue (SAR) Flight, aircraft coded CJ and FH, formed at Sea Island, British Columbia in 1951.  It was equipped with two Cansos, two Lancasters, two Norseman, and one H-5 Helicopter. 

Central Navigation School (CNS), aircraft coded CQ and DH, was re-formed at Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on 1 Aug 1951, and then moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1954.  In August 1967, CNS and Central Flying School (CFS) joined as Central Flying and Navigation School (CFNS), training both flying and navigation.  In November 1968 navigator training was again separated from flying training, and became the specialty of the Canadian Forces Air Navigation School (CFANS).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586596)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM211), coded VC-DHZ, Central Air Navigation School, 8 Aug 1949.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586597)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10N,  (Serial No. FM208), coded VC-DHP, "Polaris", 8 Aug 1949.  FM208 came off the assembly line at Malton in July 1945, one of three converted to Mk. 10N, a flying classroom for navigator trainees.  It was stationed at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  It was bought by Ajax Aircraft Ltd. on 28 May 1957, Reg. No. CF-KHH, with the intent to use it to fly fuel into northern Canada.  However, it sat at Dorval airport inQuebec for years before eventually being scrapped. (Don Christopher)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3580433)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM211), coded DHZ, 2 May 1949.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3586595)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10N,  (Serial No. FM208), coded VC-DHP, "Polaris", 8 Aug 1949.  

RCAF Station Torbay, Newfoundland, King's crown crest.

No. 107 Rescue Unit (RU), aircraft coded CX.  A detachment of 103 Rescue Unit (RU) had been stationed in Torbay since Newfoundland joined Canada in November 1949.  This unit was kept busy supporting Newfoundland and the Eastern oceanic approaches to Canada.  In 1954, the decision was made to make the detachment a full unit, and so No. 103 RU Det was disbanded and in its place No. 107 Rescue Unit was stood up on 1 April 1954.  The action was merely administrative in nature since the same crews and aircraft kept flying in the same role. 

 (Larry Creel Photo)

Avro Lancaster (Serial No. CX214), No. 107 Rescue Unit (RU), Torbay, Newfoundland, June 1957.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM104), coded CX, No. 107 Rescue Unit, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, ca 1950s.

Lancasters assigned to the Search and Rescue role carried the RESCUE sign pained in red, initially on the bombay doors and later on the side of the fuselage edged in blue and enhanced with a florescent orange-red band, from 1952 to 1964.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM104), coded CX, No. 107 Rescue Unit, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, ca 1950s.

(RCAF Photo via Mike Kehler) 

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM104), coded CX, No. 107 Rescue Unit, Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM104), coded CX, No. 107 Rescue Unit, Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

Central Flying School (CFS), aircraft coded DD, 

Air Armament School (AAS), aircraft coded DK.  The Mountain View aerodrome in Ontario opened on 23 June 1941 to host No. 6 Bombing and Gunnery School (6 B&GS), one of eleven bombing and gunnery schools that opened across Canada under the BCATP during the Second World War.  The station was later designated RCAF Station Mountain View when No. 6 B&GS was renamed the Ground Instruction School and merged with the Air Armament School at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.  The main use of CFB Trenton Mountain View Detachment in the present day, is the storage and overhaul of older aircraft.  This facility belongs to the Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) based at Trenton. 

Central Experimental Proving Estabishment (CEPE) and Winter Experimental Establishment (WEE), aircraft coded FC.  Central Experimental and Proving Estabishment (CEPE), aircraft coded PX, authorized as Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) on the amalgamation of CEPE (authorized 1951), No.10 Experimental Squadron (authorized 5 Nov 1952), and No. 448 Test Squadron (authorized 20 Jun 1967).  The Winter Experimental Establishment (WEE) was established in 1947 at Edmonton. It had advanced bases at Watson Lake and Churchill. It main focus was to provide guidance in the design of new equipment for cold weather use and in improving existing technology. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) carried test for Canadian forces and for British and American air forces.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10DC (Serial No. KB851) with Ryan Firebee drone KD-4656, 1962.  KB851 and KB848 were the only Lancaster Mk. 10DC's (DC-Drone Carrier).  They were coded PX-851 and PX-848 while with CEPE's Air Armament Evaluation Detachment at RCAF Station Cold Lake, Alberta.  KB848 had previously served with CEPE at RCAF Station Uplands, Ontario.

(NDIL image PCN-1965)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10DC (Serial No. KB851) with Ryan Firebee drone KD-4656.

(RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro Lancaster with Ryan Firebee drone.

 (Ryan Aeronautical Company Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Avro Lancaster with Ryan Firebee drone.

No. 1 Air Navigation School (1 ANS), aircraft coded GS.

 (RCAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. FM211), coded GS-X, "Zenith", No. 1 Air Navigation School (1 ANS).

No. 2 Air Navigation School (2 ANS), aircraft coded HW.

No. 2 (Maritime) Operational Training Unit  (OTU), aircraft coded XV, became operational on 12 Dec 1949, the same day that No. 405 Squadron reactivated, using modified Avro Lancaster bombers as maritime reconnaissance aircraft . Part of No. 2 (M) OTU became No. 404 Squadron, the base's second operational maritime reconnaissance squadron on 30 Apr 1951, with No. 2 (M) OTU continuing to train units at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  The station  was experiencing a crowding problem, thus No. 2 (M) OTU was moved to RCAF Station Summerside, Prince Edward Island, effective 14 Nov 1953.  The Lockheed P2V Neptune replaced Greenwood's Avro Lancasters beginning 30 Mar 1955 as the operational maritime reconnaissance aircraft. 

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584032)

Avro Lancaster cockpit.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584365)

Avro Lancaster OSC camera  installation.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584855)

Avro Lancaster radio altimeter installation.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584318)

Avro Lancaster Shoran equipment.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584029)

Avro Lancaster installation and equipment. 

(Nanton Bomber Command Museum Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10C, RCAF (Serial No. FM209).  This aircraft was used as a jet engine test bed.  It was converted by Avro Canada as a Mk.10C test bed for two 3,000 pound thrust Avro Chinook TR.4 Mk. II axial-flow turbojets in outer nacelles in 1951 and scrapped in 1956.

FM209 was taken on strength with the RCAF as a Mk. 10U on 21 Aug 1946.  FM209 was loaned to Avro (Canada) in the latter part of 1948 and converted to designation Mk. 10O (Orenda).  The bombadier’s position and nose turret were removed, and the tail turret was replaced by tail-cone and observation windows in each side of the fuselage for photographic test recording.  The two outboard Merlin engines were replaced by various Orenda enginess with the first test flight on 13 Jul 1950 with pilot Don Rogers at the controls.  Flying on its jets alone, with the inboard props feathered, was as fast as a stock four engine Lancaster bomber.  One incident with Mike Cooper-slipper at the controls took place at an airshow in which Mike asked the engineer to start the Merlin engines and a mixup occured and the Lancaster became a glider.  The jet engines were started on time.  The aircraft became an ideal engine test bed and was able to fly on either jet or Merlin engines or both.  The crew of pilot, two engine test observers and a navigator were normal with over 500 hrs logged up till Jul 1954.  FM209 was lost in a fire on 24 Jul 1956 in Avro’s wartime flight test Hangar at Malton, Ontario.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584072)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF, 1947.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584103)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF, 1947.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584476)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF, warming up, 2 Feb 1951.

 (DND Photo via Francois Dutil)

Avro Lancaster Formation.

 (RCAF photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10N (Serial No. KB986) as Instructional Trainer A561 being towed out of the hanger at 2 Maritime OTU.

 (RCAF photo via Mike Kaehler)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10N (Serial No. KB986), Dunnville, Ontario.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4236026)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, Reg. No. CF-IMF, Spartan Air Services Ltd.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3562607)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, Reg. No. CF-IMF, and de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, Spartan Air Services Ltd.

Surviving Avro Lancaster Mk. 10s in Canada:

 (Author Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM104), mounted on a pylon on the Toronto waterfront before being taken down for restoration.  FM104 has been transferred by the Toronto City Council to the British Columbia Aviation Museum, Sidney, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

 (Author Photos)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM104), undergoing restoration in the Canada Air and Space Museum, Toronto, Ontario.  FM104 has been transferred by the Toronto City Council to the British Columbia Aviation Museum, Sidney, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR (Serial No. FM104), built as a Mk. 10 at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario.  Flown to England in January 1945. Kept in reserve at No. 32 Maintenance Unit for RCAF No. 408 Squadron RCAF and RCAF No. 428 Squadron.  Returned to Canada 10 June 1945 in expectation of use with Tiger Force against the Japanese.  Converted in November 1945 to Mk. 10SR and assigned to No. 10 RU at Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland.  Converted to Mk. 10MR in April 1951 and assigned to No. 107 Unit at RCAF Station Torbay, Newfoundland.  Struck off 10 February 1964.  Displayed mounted on a concrete pylong on the harbourfont grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario in 1964.  Purchased by RCAF Association and put on display in Coronation Park in 1965.  Ownership transferred to Heritage Toronto in 1990.  Moved to Toronto Aerospace Museum (later the Canadian Air and Space Museum) in 1999.  Following the museum's closure in 2011, the plane went into storage.  In the fall of 2018, FM104 was moved to the British Columbia Aviation Museum and will be restored by the museum in conjunction with Victoria Air Maintenance Ltd., at Victoria, BC.

 (Author Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM136), coded NA-P, mounted on a pylon at the Calgary Airport, ca. 1977, before its restoration.

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photos)

 (Daniel Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM136), coded NA-P, No. 420 Squadron.  Aerospace Museum of Calgary, Alberta.

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR (Serial No. FM136), built at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario as a Mk. 10.  Flown to England June 1945 but returned to Canada 29 August 1945. Served as RCAF Maritime Reconnaissance plane with RCAF No. 404 Squadron at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia and with No. 407 Squadron at RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia.  Flown to RCAF Station Fort Macleod in 1961 for scrap.  Purchased in 1961 by Lynn Garrison and put on display mounted on a concrete pylon in 1962 at entrance to the Calgary Municipal Airport, Alberta, as a memorial to those who trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.  Transferred to Calgary Aerospace Museum in 1992.  It wears the colours of (Serial No. KB895), which flown by Calgary's Ronnie Jenkins.

 (Joanna Poe Photo)

Avro Lancaster nose section art replica, port side, "Sugar's Blues" at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, Nanton Alberta.

 (Eric Friedebach Photo)

Avro Lancaster nose section art replica, starboard side, "The 'Ell Cat" at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, Nanton Alberta.

 (Author Photo)

Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM159), coded RX, mounted on concrete pedestals, long before its restoration, ca 1981.  Now restored with four of its engines in running condition, FM159, coded F2-T, is named in honour of Canadian born, Ian W. Bazalgette, VC, No. 635 Squadron.  Museum centre-piece.  National Bomber Command Air Museum, Nanton, Alberta.

 (Tony Hisgett Photo)

 (Joanna Poe Photo)

 (National Bomber Command Museum Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR (Serial No. FM159), with all four engines running.  FM159 was built at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario as a Mk. 10.  It was flown to England in May 1945 and returned to Canada in September 1945.  It was flown as an RCAF Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft from 1953 to 1958 with No. 103 Squadron, RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia and No. 407 Squadron at RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia.   It was flown to RCAF Station Vulcan, Alberta in 1960 for scrapping, but was pPurchased that year and moved to Nanton, Alberta for display, where it was mounted on a concrete pylon beside the main highway.   FM159 has undergone gradual restoration since the formation of the Nanton Lancaster Society in 1986, and all four engines now run.  It wears the colours of (Serial No. ND811) in honour of Ian Bazalgette, VC.

 (John Meneely Photo, 1995)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR (Serial No. FM212), coded EQ-W, built at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario as a Mk. 10.  Returned to factory, by then owned by Avro Canada, in 1948 and converted to a Mk. 10P.  Served with 9 Squadron, 418 Squadron and 408 Squadron. Struck off 9 October 1964.  Stored at RCAF Station Dunnville, Ontario.  Sold to the City of Windsor, Ontario and moved on barge.  Placed on display on a concrete pylong in Jackson Park.  Currently undergoing restoration by the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association (CHAA).  The CHAA has added distinctive nose art on the port side of FM212, "Bad Penny", coded SR-N, to commemorate a Lancaster flown in "Operation Manna", which involved the dropping of much needed food to the Dutch near the end of the Second World War.

 (Griffin Library, Wheeler Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR (Serial No. FM213), Maritime Air Command, as it appeared while on display in front of the Royal Canadian Legion at Goderich, Ontario, on 23 May 1966.  It is now with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Mount Hope, Ontario.  Built at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario as a Mk. 10, it was stored at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario from 1945 to 1950.  It was converted to a Mk. 10MR by de Havilland Canada.  FM213 served with No. 405 Squadron at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia and No. 107 Rescue Unit at RCAF Station Torbay, Newfoundland.  It was struck off strength on 30 June 1964 and was stored at RCAF Station Dunnville, Ontario until purchased by the RCL.

 (Dave Miller Photo)

 (Dave Miller Photo)

 (Author Photo)

 (Svdmolen Photo)

 (Redkryptonite Photo)

 (Dave Miller Photo)

 (JustSomePics Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10MR (Serial No. FM213), with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Mount Hope, Ontario.  Built at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario as a Mk. 10, it was stored at RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario from 1945 to 1950.  It was converted to a Mk. 10MR by de Havilland Canada.  FM213 served with No. 405 Squadron at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia and No. 107 Rescue Unit at RCAF Station Torbay, Newfoundland.  It was struck off strength on 30 June 1964 and was stored at RCAF Station Dunnville, Ontario until purchased and displayed at the Royal Canadian Legion in Goderich, Ontario.  It was then purchased by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM), Mount Hope, Ontario, and moved to Hamilton in November 1979.  FM213 was flown for first time after its restoration on 11 September 1988.  It wears the colours of (Serial No. KB726), coded VR-A, No. 419 Squadron, RCAF, in honour of F/O Andrew Mynarski, VC.  Along with Britain's (Serial No. PA474), it is one of only two airworthy Lancasters.

 (Author Photo, ca 1974)

 (Author Photo, ca 1977)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10SR (Serial No. KB839), built at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario as a Mk. 10.  Flown to England 1 January 1945.  Assigned to RCAF No. 431 Squadron, coded SE-G, and then to No. 419 Squadron, coded VR-D, "D Daisy." KB839 flew 26 sorties.  Returned to Canada 5 June 1945.  Sent to Avro Canada and converted to Mk. SR.  Served with No. 405 Squadron and No. 408 Squadron until 1961.  Stored at RCAF Station Dunnville.  Flown to RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia in 1964 and mounted on pedestal.  Later transferred to Greenwood Military Aviation Museum, CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  Wears the colours of (Serial No. JB226), coded LQ-G, of No, 405 Squadron which was lost 18 November 1943.

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10SR (Serial No. KB839), CFB Greenwood.

 (Author Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10SR (Serial No. KB839), painted as (Serial No. JB226), coded LQ-G, CFB Greenwood

 (Dennis Jarvis Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, (Serial No. KB882), AR, Edmundston, New Brunswick.  In 2017, formerly retired after its Cold War service and more than 50 years on display in Edmundston, New Brunswick, Lancaster (Serial No. KB 882) was moved to its new home at the National Air Force Museum of Canada at CFB Trenton, Ontario, where it will be restored and placed alongside the museums' restored Handley Page Halifax (Serial No. NA 33).

 (Dennis Jarvis Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, (Serial No. KB882), AR, Edmundston, New Brunswick.

 (Author Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, RCAF (Serial No. KB882), Edmundston, New Brunswick.

 (Author Photo) 

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, (Serial No. KB882), AR, Edmundston, New Brunswick.  This aircraft has been moved to the National Museum of the RCAF, CFB Trenton, Ontario as of Oct 2017.  

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10AR (Serial No. KB882), built at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario as a Mk. 10.  Flown to England in 24 February 1945.  Assigned to No. 431 Squadron without code, and then to No. 428 Squadron, coded NA-R "Rabbit Stew".  Flew 19 sorties.  Returned to Canada 2 June 1945.  Stored in Alberta.  Sent to Avro Canada in 1952 and converted to Mk. 10P.  Served with No. 408 Squadron at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario.  Struck off 26 May 1964 Purchased in 1964 by City of Edmundston, New Brunswick.  Ownership transferred to the National Air Force Museum at CFB Trenton, Ontario.  KB882 was moved in September 2017.  Restoration work began immediately and will be completed by 1 April 2024, the 100th anniversary of the RCAF.  Will be restored as post-War Mk.10AR.

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10, nose section with twin .303-inch Browning machineguns, preserved in the Canada Air and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

 (Author Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. 10AR (Serial No. KB944), preserved in the Canada Air and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.  KB944 was built at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario as a Mk. 10.  Flown to England 8 March 1945 as Mk. 10.  Assigned to No. 425 Squadron, coded KW-K.  Did not fly any sorties and returned to Canada 15 June 1945.  Stored at RCAF Station Fort Macleod, Alberta.  Converted to Mk. 10SR by Fairey Aviation, Easatern Passage, Nova Scotia. Served with No. 404 Squadron at RCAF Station Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  Struck off January 1957.  Stored at RCAF Station Dunnville, Ontario.  Restored by the RCAF.  Purchased by National Aviation Museum in May 1964.  This aircraft is painted in the colours of (Serial No. KB760), of No. 428 Squadron.

 (David Merrett Photo)

Avro Lancaster B Mk. 10 (Serial No. KB889).  This Canadian built Lancaster was delivered to Britain in March 1945 and returned to Canada that June without seeing any service.  KB889 was later converted for Maritime Reconnaissance use.  Struck off charge by the RCAF in 1965, the aircraft was displayed in Ontario before being sold to prolific warbird collector Doug Arnold in the UK in 1984.  The aircraft was put on the UK register as G-LANC, but was never flown.  It was sold in 1986 to the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK.  The aircraft was restored over eight years to static condition, and has been on display since 1994 as NA-I.

 (Alan Wilson Photo)

Avro Lancaster B Mk. 10 (Serial No. KB889), c/n 37190.  Canadian built in early 1945, she was delivered to the UK in March, but returned to Canada in June for service with the Royal Canadian Air Force.  Retired in 1965, she went on display at the ‘Age of Flight’ museum at Niagara Falls until moved by barge to Oshawa for a planned restoration to fly.  Stored until 1984, she then made a second journey to the UK, but this time not under her own power.  Owned by Doug Arnold’s Warbirds of Great Britain, she was stored first at Blackbushe and later Bitteswell, at some point going on the British civil register as G-LANC.  In 1986 she was sold to the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and arrived at Duxford in May 1986.  A full and complete restoration, both inside and out, was then carried out to a very high standard and was completed in 1994.  She wears the markings of 428 Squadron and represents (Serial No. KB743), a Lancaster B Mk. 10 lost on the night of 18th/19th August 1944, during an operation to Bremen.  KB743 was actually the only aircraft lost that night, from the 288 taking part in the operation.  She is on display in the ‘AirSpace’ hangar at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford Airfield, Cambridgeshire, UK.  26 Jan 2018.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster bombing Bremen, Germany, 18 Aug 1944.

Avro Lancasters in Canadian service, data bank:

            The four-engine Lancaster was developed from the Avro Manchester, and became the premier heavy bomber for the RAF during the Second World War.  Lancasters were built in Canada under licence by Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  The first Canadian built “Lanc” flew overseas in September 1943.  The Lancaster was designed to carry a maximum internal load of 18,000 pounds.  On a range of 1,000 miles its normal load was 14,000 pounds. A number of Bomber Command versions were modified to carry the 22,000 pound “Grand Slam,” the heaviest bomb load lifted by any bomber during the Second World War.  The four basic Lancasters were the Mk. I with four Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engines, the Mk. II with four Bristol Hercules VI air-cooled radial engines, the Mk. III essentially the same as the Mk. I but with four Packard-built Merlin engines, and the Canadian manufactured Mk. 10, a version of the Mk. III fitted with Packard-built Merlin engines.  (Wikipedia)

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. II with four Bristol Hercules VI air-cooled radial engines.

 (RAF Photo)

Avro Lancaster Mk. II (Serial No. SS689), coded -S, with radial engines.

The first Lancaster combat mission came on 2 March 1942 and the first bombing raid on Essen, Germany, followed 8 days later.  The Lancaster Mk.1 was fitted successively with Merlin XX engines and remained the only version in service throughout 1942 and 1943.  In Canada, Victory Aircraft Limited of Malton, Ontario, manufactured 430 Lancaster Mk. 10s that had Packard built Merlin 28’s of 7,400 built.  After the war a number of Lancasters conducted photo-survey operations in the high arctic.  Lancasters were also employed on search and rescue duties towards the end of their post-war RCAF service.  

The Mk. B 10 was a Canadian-built B III with Canadian and US-made instrumentation and electronics.  On later batches the heavier Martin 250CE was substituted for the Nash & Thomson FN-50 mid-upper turret, mounted further forward to maintain centre of gravity balance.  Canada was a long term operator of the Lancaster, utilising modified aircraft in post-war maritime patrol, search and rescue and photo-reconnaissance roles until 1964.  The last flight by the RCAF was flown on 4 July 1964 at the Calgary International Air Show.  (Wikipedia)

Following exemplary service with the RCAF’s No. 6 Group in Bomber Command, the Lancaster was used post-war in Canada for photo-reconnaissance, air-sea rescue and maritime patrols. The last Lancaster was retired from RCAF service on 1 April 1964.  The Lancasters of the CWHM and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) in England are the only two flying today.

There are 17 largely complete examples of Lancasters in the world and a at least eight Lancaster survivors in Canada including one in the ASMC, Calgary, Alberta, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM136), NA-P, 420 Squadron.  NLAM, Nanton, Alberta, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. 7841), (Serial No. FM159), F2-T, in honour of VC winner Ian W. Bazalgette, 635 Squadron.  Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM118), fuselage and parts in storage.  CA&SM, Ottawa, Ontario, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. KB944).  CH2A, Windsor, Ontario, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10P (Serial No. FM212), camouflage, EQ-W, formerly mounted on a pylon in Jackson Park, now stored indoors and under restoration.  CWHM, Mount Hope, Ontario, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. CX213), (Serial No. FM213), painted with (Serial No. KB726), C-GVRA.  BCAM, Sidney, BC, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM104).  Edmundston, New Brunswick, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10AR (Serial No. KB882).  GMAM, CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. KB839), 696, silver.  Resolute Bay, Northwest Territories, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. FM221).

FM136 was part of the second production batch of 130 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  Serial numbers in this batch included FM100-FM229.  Aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 28, 38 or 224 engines.  TFM 136 was manufactured in 1945 by Victory Aircraft, assigned to No. 20th and 30th Maintenance Units in England, never issued to active Squadron.  Returned to Canada and converted to Maritime Reconnaissance.  The aircraft was taken on strength by No. 404 ‘Buffalo’ (MP) Squadron (Greenwood, Nova Scotia) as RX-136.  Transferred to No. 407 ‘Demon’ (MP) Squadron, CFB Comox, British Columbia.  Struck off strength April 1961.  Lancaster FM136 was purchased from Crown Assets Disposal Corporation by Lynn Garrison, in 1961.  He created The Lancaster Memorial Fund to see the aircraft displayed, in 1962, on a pedestal at McCall Field, Calgary, as a memorial to those who trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.  It was subsequently moved to the Aerospace Museum of Calgary in 1992.  A new shelter was built for it in 2007.

FM159 was flown to England May 1945 Stored at No. 32 Maintenance Unit awaiting assignment to a squadron.  Returned to Canada September 1945.  Modified to Mk. 10MR (Maritime Reconnaissance), No. 407 Squadron (RX-159), No. 103 Rescue Unit.  Part of the second production batch of 130 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  Serial numbers of this batch included FM100-FM229.  Aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 28, 38 or 224 engines.  On display at the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum, Nanton, Alberta.

FM118 was flown to England April 1945.  Stored at No. 32 Maintenance Unit awaiting assignment to a squadron.  Returned to Canada June 1945.  Part of the second production batch of 130 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario, Canada.  Serial numbers of this batch included FM100-FM229.  Aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 28, 38 or 224 engines.  The majority of the fuselage is in storage at the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum, Nanton, Alberta.  Other surviving pieces can also be found in storage with the BCATP Museum, Brandon, Manitoba.

KB944 was flown to England March 1945.  No. 32 Maintenance Unit, 425 Squadron (KW-K).  Returned to Canada 15 June 1945.  Part of the first production batch of 300 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.   KB944 was built in Canada in 1945 by Victory Aircraft.  Later that year, after briefly serving overseas, it was put into stored reserve in Canada where it went on to spend most of the following years, except for a brief period in 1952 serving with 404 Maritime Patrol Squadron at Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  In 1964 the RCAF refurbished this aircraft and placed it in the CA&SM.  Aircraft has been fully restored to its wartime configuration and is on public display at the CA&SM, Ottawa, Ontario.

FM212 was retained in Canada during the war.  Modified to Mk. 10P (Photographic Survey), No. 408 Squadron, coded MN.  Part of the second production batch to 130 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  Serial numbers in this batch included FM100-FM229. Aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 28, 38 or 224 engines.   this Lancaster has been renamed “Bad Penny” to commemorate the first RAF Lancaster to fly into Holland during Operation Manna to save the Dutch from starvation in the closing days of the Second World War, 29 April 1945.  On 29 April, 2007 (to coincide with the 62nd anniversary of Operation Manna) FM212 was removed from storage in Jackson Park and towed to the Sears parking lot of Devonshire where it was on display and open for tours through the aircraft.  On 13 May 2007, FM212 was towed from Devonshire Mall to Windsor Airport where it is on display and undergoing extensive restoration to return the aircraft back to a flight worthy status over the next few years. 

FM213 was retained in Canada during the war.  Modified to Mk. 10 MR (Maritime Reconnaissance), No. 107 Rescue Unit (CX-213).  Returned to storage during 1958.  Part of the second production batch of 130 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  Serial numbers of this batch included FM100-FM229. Aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 28, 38 or 224 engines.  This aircraft was retired from active duty with the RCAF on 6 November 1963, and then stored at Dunnville, Ontario.  FM213 had 4,392.3 hours on the airframe when it was handed over.  It would probably have been sold for scrap metal except for the intervention of The Royal Canadian Legion in Goderich.  The aircraft was acquired by the CWHM in 1978, underwent a ten-year restoration, and has remained flyable since 1988.  Restored and maintained in flying condition by Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum, Mount Hope, Ontario, it is flown in the paint scheme of (Serial No. KB726), VR-A, it is known as the “Mynarski. Memorial Lancaster in honour of Canadian VC recipient Andrew Mynarski.

FM104 was flown to England in January 1945, Stored at Maintenance Unit awaiting assignment to a squadron.  Returned to Canada June 1945.  Modified to Mk. 10MR (Maritime Reconnaissance), No. 10 Rescue Unit.  Part of the second production batch of 130 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario, Canada. Serial numbers of this batch included FM100-FM229. Aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 22, 38 or 224 engines.  FM105 was donated to the City of Toronto in 1964 and placed on a pedestal on Lakeshore Drive.  After sitting outside for 36 years, the aircraft was removed from the pedestal and placed on loan to the Canadian Air and Space Museum, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The aircraft is now with the BCAM, Sidney, BC.  With spare parts from the remainder of FM118, it is planned to be complete as a museum quality piece in 2015.  Internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Lancaster.

KB882 was flown to England May 1945.  No. 32 Maintenance Unit, 434 Squadron, 428 Squadron (NA-R).  Returned to Canada 2 June 1945.  Modified to Mk. 10AR (Aerial Reconnaissance), No. 408 Squadron, coded AK.  Part of the first production batch of 300 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  Serial numbers of this batch include KB700-KB999.  The first 75 aircraft of this batch were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 38 engines.  The remaining 225 aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 224 engines.  Deliveries commenced to England in September 1943 and were completed in May 1945.  Average rate of production was approximately 4 aircraft per week.  KB 882 was built by Victory Aircraft in 1945 and delivered to Britain.  The aircraft joined No. 428 Squadron in March of that year.  Flown on six operational sorties over Germany, the aircraft was returned to Canada in June 1945 and entered storage.  In 1952 the aircraft was modified to Mk 10P configuration and flew with No. 408 Squadron.  In 1964 the aircraft was purchased by the City of Edmundston, New Brunswick and has since been on outside display at the Municipal Airport.  It is now with the NMRCAF, CFB Trenton, Ontario.

KB839 was flown to England January 1945.  No. 32 Maintenance Unit, No. 431 Squadron, No. 419 Squadron (VR-D).  Returned to Canada 5 Jun 1945.  Modified to Mk. 10AR (Aerial Reconnaissance), No. 408 Squadron, coded AK.  Patch of the first production batch of 300 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  Serial numbers of this batch included KB700-KB999.  The first 75 aircraft of this batch were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 38 engines.  Whilst the remaining 225 aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 224 engines.  Deliveries commence to England in September 1943 and were completed in May 1945.  Average rate of production was approximately 4 aircraft per week.  Built by Victory Aircraft and delivered to No. 419 Squadron in January 1945.  The aircraft completed 26 sorties, wearing the code letters VR-D.  It was twice damaged by German anti-aircraft fire.  It returned to Canada after the end of the war in Europe, initially for service against Japan but was modified after the war to Mk 10AR Arctic Reconnaissance specification.  After being struck off charge in 1963, the aircraft was preserved at CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  It has received several restorations and is now displayed outside at the GMAM, CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

FM221 was retained in Canada during the war.  Modified to Mk. 10BR (Bomber Reconnaissance) in 1948, coded VP-DDR.  Aircraft crashed at Resolute Bay, Northwest Territories, Canada, 23 Sep 1950.  The wreckage is still visible.

Lancaster B Mk. I (Serial No. PA474)  “City of Lincoln” has been flown by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in the UK since 1973.  The paint scheme is periodically changed to represent notable Lancasters, and the aircraft is currently flown as (Serial No. EE139) “Phantom of the Ruhr”, wearing the codes HW-R on the port side and BQ-B on the starboard side.

Canadian Lancaster survivors overseas: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. 10 (Serial No. KB889).  North Weald Airfield, Epping, Essex, UK, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. X (Serial No. KB994).  Private owner, Florida, USA, Avro 683 Lancaster Mk. X (Serial No. KB976).  

KB889 was flown to England March 1945.  No. 32 Maintenance Unit, 428 Squadron.  Returned to Canada 4 June 1945.  Modified to Mk. 10MR (Maritime Reconnaissance), No. 408 Squadron, coded AR.  Part of the first production batch of 300 aircraft ordered from Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  Serial numbers in this batch included KB700-KB999.  The first 75 aircraft of this batch were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 38 engines.  The remaining 225 aircraft were equipped with Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin 224 engines.  Deliveries commenced to England in September 1943 and were completed in May 1945.  Average rate of production was approximately 4 aircraft per week.  KB889 was delivered to Britain in March 1945 and returned to Canada that June without seeing any service.  This aircraft was later converted for Maritime Reconnaissance use. Struck off charge by the RCAF in 1965, the aircraft was displayed in Ontario before being sold to prolific warbird collector Doug Arnold in the UK in 1984.  The aircraft was put on the UK register as G-LANC, but was never flown.  Sold in 1986 to the Imperial War museum, the aircraft was restored over eight years to static condition, and has been on display since 1994, coded NA-I.  KB889 has been completely restored to its wartime configuration and is currently on public display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England.

 (Alan Wilson Photo)

KB976 was part of the first production batch of 300 aircraft ordered for Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario.  It was flown to England May 1945, but saw no action, serving with No. 32 Maintenance Unit, No. 405 Squadron, RCAF, coded LQ-K.  Returned to Canada 17 June 1945.  Modified to Mk. 10 Aerial Reconnaissance (AR), No. 408 Squadron (MN-976), "Victory", with an extended nose.  KB 976 was struck off charge in 1964.  Avro Lancaster KB976 made the last official flight as an RCAF aircraft on 4 July 1964 at the Calgary International Air Show with F/L Lynn Garrison, as Captain, and F/L Ralph Langemann as co-pilot.  Lynn Garrison then purchased KB976 from Crown Assets Disposal Corporation as an addition to his historic collection.  He created the Air Museum of Canada in April, 1964.  KB976 was sold for an abortive conversion to a fire bomber.  Sold in 1974 to the Strathallan Collection in Scotland, KB976 was flown across the Atlantic,  registered as G-BCOH and then statically displayed until 1987.  When the collection closed in 1987, the aircraft was bought by Charles Church and moved, by road, to Woodford for restoration to airworthy condition.  Charles Church was sadly killed in the crash of Supermarine Spitfire Mk. V (Serial No. EE606), and the Woodford hangar containing KB976 collapsed.  Doug Arnold, of Warbirds of Great Britain fame, purchased the remains.  Mr Arnold purchased 2 further airframes, Avro Lincoln (Serial No. RF342) previously at the Southend museum, and the fuselage of Avrp Lancaster (Serial No. KB994) from Canada.  The parts of all 3 aircraft were brought to Biggin Hill, then North Weald and later Sandtoft in the UK, before being bought by Kermit Weeks in 1992.  Some of the Lancaster parts are stored at his Fantasy of Flight museum at Polk City, Florida which officially has the identity KB976, while the Lincoln is in Australia.  It would appear that the forward fuselage of KB976 which was damaged in the Woodford hangar collapse is still with the Brooklands Museum.  The Kermit Weeks Lancaster KB976 likley includes the nose section of KB994, combined with the airframe of KB976.  The ex-RCAF nose section at Brooklands is has the Port side painted in RAF Bomber Command markings, as "Our Beautiful Babe", while the starboard side remains in its original RCAF colours. 

References

Milberry, Larry, Canada’s Air Force At War and Peace - Volume 3.  (CANAV Books, Toronto, Ontario, 2001).

Patrick Martin, Royal Canadian Air Force - Aircraft Finish and Markings 1947-1968 - Volume 2.

Kostenuk, S. and Griffin, J.A., RCAF Squadrons and Aircraft 1924-1968.  (A.M. Hakkert Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, 1977).