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Thread: Churchill's Lancaster

  1. #1
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    Churchill's Lancaster

    I'm currently reading Martin Gilbert's excellent one-volume biography of Winston Churchill.

    In it, he mentions a specially modified Lancaster with seats, bunks, galley and toilet.

    I've heard of his Liberator and Skymaster (and the BOAC Boeing 314 flying boat that he was famously photographed flying) but never the Lancaster. I don't recall it being mentioned in anything I've read on the type.
    Anyone know more or have photos and history?

    Early in the book it mentions his pre-WWI flying lessons and the fact one of his instructor who was killed in a crash of one of Churchill's usual trainers.
    Later, another if his instructors was killed.
    Any records of the types involved?

    It also mentions that after D-Day he toured allied army units in France where he flew in "a captured German aircraft".
    I'd guess it was a Storch. Again, anyone know more?
    Last edited by J Boyle; 4th April 2017 at 05:11.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  2. #2
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    Would the specially modified Lancaster have been the Avro York (LV633 Ascalon)?
    Martin

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    A Lancaster seems unlikely but IIRC he did have a York at some stage.

    Edit: Need to type quicker!

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    York was my first thought.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  5. #5
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    Avro York.

    The navigator wrote an autobiography which I have somewhere. More details below in his obit.
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/obituar...ator-1-4033527

  6. #6
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    I have a picture somewhere, that I was given, of a Lancaster kept at Blackbushe airport. I was told it was for the evacuation of Churchill and other important people in case of invasion. Could this be true?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tona View Post
    I have a picture somewhere, that I was given, of a Lancaster kept at Blackbushe airport. I was told it was for the evacuation of Churchill and other important people in case of invasion. Could this be true?
    By the time that the Lancaster was available the threat of invasion must have been greatly diminished?
    Martin

  8. #8
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    Still pretty reasonable to assume they had a contingency plan in place. I would be interested to know if there is any truth to this, and if so, where would they have fled to? Presumably the same route Vera took when returning to Canada.

  9. #9
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    Blackbushe appears to be an odd place to station an aircraft as an escape route being some distance out of London WSW-ish.
    Northolt or somewhere N or NW seems more obvious to me.

  10. #10
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    Also York MV 100 from 511 Squadron flew many dignitaries for the important conferences held in the Middle East and onto Teheran (Op Eureka) from November 1943 onwards to discuss the invasion of Europe etc with Churchill Stalin and Roosevelt. It was the responsibility of the Flight engineer to provide food and drink for the guests (as well as a few games of cards - which Churchill is recorded as having taken part on occasions). 24 Squadron under 24 Group also flew VIP's in York aircraft.

  11. #11
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    I meant 24 Squadron under 44 Group!

  12. #12
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    It seems odd so renowned an author have made that mistake since he mentions it several times.
    Probably someone told him or a researcher that it was a transport based on a Lancaster and something got lost in the translation or he too it too literally.

    To he honest, I did not think of a York, although In retrospect I do recall reading of one for the PM's use in one of my books.

    In reading the description of the aircraft's interior fittings, I did think it seemed rather a lot for a Lancaster. I haven't been through one, but I did go through a 8 Sqdn Shackleton, and there was none too much room in it.
    Last edited by J Boyle; 5th April 2017 at 05:31.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  13. #13
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    D1566 was spot-on. The aircraft was definitely a York, serial number LV633. It was the third prototype York and was indeed named Ascalon (the lance or sword with which George had slain the dragon). There are photos in John Mitchell's book, "Churchill's navigator" (Grub Street, 2010), and Mitchell describes the aircraft in detail in the book.

    Philip West painted Ascelon taking off from Gibraltar on 28 June 1943 -- see attachment.

    Google will bring up more info on this aircraft, and photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 5th April 2017 at 00:44. Reason: Crediting D1566
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Boyle View Post
    I'm currently reading Martin Gilbert's excellent one-volume biography of Winston Churchill.


    Early in the book it mentions his pre-WWI flying lessons and the fact one of his instructor who was killed in a crash of one of Churchill's usual trainers.
    Later, another if his instructors was killed.
    Any records of the types involved?
    He had associations with Sopwith/ Brooklands and I recall mentions in Bruce Robertson's book, but possibly elsewhere too: the recent Pemberton-Billing book maybe?

  15. #15
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    Hi
    might it have been an early lancastrian ?
    first canadian 'lancastrian' was in I think in 1943
    cheers J

  16. #16
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    Long range types used by Churchill in WWII were Boeing 314 flying boat, Liberator ('Commando'), York ('Ascalon') and Skymaster(EW399). Wing Cmdr John Mitchell serialized his account of his time as Churchill's navigator in the 24 Squadron newsletters http://www.24sqnassociation.royalair...et/newsltr.htm

  17. #17
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    On reflection I think the mention of his instructor was in the book, "Churchill's War Against the Zeppelin 1914-18: Men, Machines, and Tactics" by Leon Bennett.

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