The Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster was a British four-engine heavy bomber, designed and built by A.V. Roe and Company (Avro) for the Royal Air Force (RAF). It first saw active service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and, as the bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it became the main heavy bomber used by the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF. The "Lanc", as it was affectionately known, ultimately became the most famous and most successful of the Second World War night bombers.
Of the many variants of this versatile aircraft that were used, only the Lancaster B Mark X, manufactured by Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario was produced in significant numbers in Canada. A total of 430 of this type were built. A total of 7,377 Lancasters of all marks were built throughout the duration of the war, each at a 1943 cost of £45-50,000. Today, only 17 remain in the world and only two of those are currently flying. Ten of the remaining Lancasters are Canadian-built Mark X models.
Our Lancaster, FM212, came off the assembly line in Malton shortly after the end of hostilities and never saw combat operations. In 1946, it was taken on charge by the RCAF and was modified for aerial and photo-reconnaissance work. It performed much of the mapping of northern Canada, amassing over 8000 hours of flight time, until 1962 when it was retired from service. It was purchased in 1964 by the City of Windsor and one year later placed on a pedestal in Jackson Park as a memorial to those who served and died during WWII.
In 2005, due to structural weakening by time and the elements, it was brought down from its pedestal and, in 2007, it made the journey through the streets of Windsor to No.7 E.F.T.S. where the Canadian Aviation Museum is currently restoring it.