The Avro Lancaster took the RAF's bombing campaign right to the heart of Nazi Germany, night after night, despite sometimes suffering appalling losses. The unique airframe, with one continuous long bomb bay and four powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, allowed the Lancaster to carry a variety of bomb loads suited to the target being attacked. There is no doubt that without the Lancaster, RAF Bomber Command's offensive against Germany would not have had the devastating and controversial impact that it achieved. The speed, agility and bomb-carrying capacity of this bomber allowed it to destroy targets ranging from hardened-concrete submarine pens and reservoir dams, to railway marshalling yards and factories producing vital military hardware.
This book is both the story of the Lancaster and that of its seven-man crews: pilot, bomb aimer/nose gunner, wireless operator, flight engineer, navigator and mid-upper and rear gunners. Illustrated with over 250 photographs, including several wartime images as well and many in full colour, it is also the history of the four most complete surviving airframes: the only two flying Lancasters in the world (PA474 and FM213) and the two ground-running aircraft (NX611 and FM159). Lancaster NX611 has been extensively photographed inside and out by Martin Keen, to give a real sense of what it was like to fly in this aircraft.
Gordon A. A. Wilson is a retired military and commercial pilot. He flew with the Canadian air forces 414 Electronic Warfare Squadron, flying target aircraft on secret missions to test the defences of North America and as a test pilot. He subsequently flew for thirty years for a major airline and since retiring has worked as a ground school instructor for Air Canada and as an aviation consultant writing standard operating procedures manuals. His other books include NORAD and the Soviet Nuclear Threat. He lives in British Columbia, Canada. Martin Keen is a professional photographer and runs Silksheen Photography. He is the official photographer for Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre and is also a member of the small team that maintains and operates Lancaster NX611. He lives in the heart of Lincolnshire, just a short distance from the former RAF East Kirkby.