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“G for George” Arrives

8 NOV 1944: World War II and “G for George” arrives at RAAF Base Amberley. This Lancaster bomber survived 89 operations with No. 460 Squadron RAAF. After touring to support war loan campaigns, it was presented to the Australian War Memorial Canberra.

G-George flew 96 combat missions over occupied Europe with 460 Squadron, and is the second most prolific surviving Lancaster, behind R5868 S for Sugar of No. 83 Squadron RAF/No. 463 Squadron RAAF/No. 467 Squadron RAAF (137 sorties).

Most operational Lancasters were shot down before they had reached 20 sorties: of the 107,085 sorties by Lancasters despatched in bombing raids on Germany 2687 aircraft went missing G-George has the added distinction of bringing home, alive, every crewman who flew aboard it.

Upon retirement from combat duty in 1944, G-George was flown to Australia by an all-RAAF crew of Bomber Command veterans, and played a major part in raising war bonds during a round-Australia publicity trip. Post war, it was left to decay in the open air at RAAF Base Fairbairn, before being moved to the AWM in the early 1950s.

In 2003, G-George returned to display at the AWM in the new ANZAC Hall after a five year restoration program, which restored the aircraft as faithfully as possible to its wartime configuration.

It is displayed in conjunction with a sound and light show that attempts to convey something of the atmosphere of a World War II Bomber Command raid, and incorporates a German ’88’ flak gun and a Bf-109 fighter.

The display is based on a sortie captained by Flying Officer “Cherry” Carter to Berlin on “Black Thursday” December 1943, so called because Bomber Command lost 50 of the 500 bombers detailed for the raid – more than half were lost in landing accidents due to bad weather.

G-George serves as a memorial to all Australians who flew with Bomber Command, and to the 1,018 dead of 460 Squadron.

The name ‘G-George’ comes from the RAF phonetic alphabet in use at the time for the individual aircraft letter ‘G’ in the aircraft’s squadron code.

Photo: “G” fr George on display at the Australian War Memorial. The Lancaster is a four engine heavy bomber. Serial number W4783 was ordered in 1940 as part of a batch of 400 Lancaster aircraft constructed by Metropolitan Vickers Ltd in the UK. The aircraft was delivered to 460 Squadron RAAF in October 1942.

It is powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlin XX 12 cylinder liquid-cooled engines, with a single stage centrifugal supercharger. Note W4783 was fitted with Merlin 22 engines while in Australia. The airframe is constructed primarily of aluminium alloy.

The aircraft breaks down into a number of major sub-assemblies for ease of construction and transport. Steel tube and forgings are used for the installatioin of the engines undercarriage and some smaller fittings. It is fitted with a tailwheel undercarriage.

The aircraft normally carries a crew of seven: Pilot, Navigator, Wireless Operator, Bomb Aimer, Flight Engineer, Mid-Upper Gunner and Rear Gunner. When first constructed W4783 was fitted with a mid-under defensive gun position, which would have required an eigth crewman. There is no evidence that this position was retained when the aircraft entered operational service.

A timber blanking panel was fitted in the mounting equipped with a flare shoot. This aircraft was never fitted with H2S radar.

The bomb load varied depending on the type and duration of the operation but a common load was 14000 pounds (6350 kgs of bombs or incendiaries). Defensive armament consists of eight guns installed in three turrets; two in the forward turret, two in the mid-upper turret and four in the rear turret. The cruising speed is 200mph (322km/h) and maximum speed is 287mph (467km/h). More;

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