Home » Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster bomber got new paint scheme

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster bomber got new paint scheme

by Till Daisd
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Lanc 7

Avro Lancaster PA474 is regularly repainted with squadron markings representative of those that operated the Lancaster in World War II

The photos in this post, which were taken on October 6, 2016, at RAF Coningsby, show the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Avro Lancaster PA474 flying to Duxford in preparation for a six-month major service.

Before it returns to Coningsby in the spring of 2017, the legendary World War II bomber will undergo routine maintenance at the Duxford airstrip.

Lancaster PA474

Notable PA474, one of only two Lancaster aircraft still in flight-ready condition worldwide (the other is the example at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum), is frequently repainted with squadron markings reminiscent of those used by the Lancaster during World War II and is frequently spotted at airshows.


The current paint job on PA474 has the code letters “KC-A” and represents Lancaster DV385 “Thumper Mk III.” Following Operation Chastise, the famous “Dams Raid,” in 1943, Thumper Mk III was given to 617 Squadron as a replacement.

Thumper Mk III

When the Squadron was based at Coningsby, this Lancaster joined the squadron in November 1943. From Coningsby, it flew four missions before the 617 Squadron relocated to Woodhall Spa in January 1944. The cartoon rabbit from the 1942 Walt Disney cartoon “Bambi” is depicted on its nose art holding a foaming pint of beer.

Avro Lancaster

Even though Thumper Mk III performed 50 flights in total, only 35 of them are shown in the “bomb log” on PA474 in a wartime photo. The “D” indicating Operation “Taxable” (the “spoof” D-Day chaff operation on June 5 and on June 6, 1944) and a swastika meaning a kill against a German fighter are also included among the bomb symbols.

Furthermore, a total of 15 of the big “Tallboy” “earthquake” bombs were dropped by Thumper Mk III. The first Tallboy raid against the Saumur railway tunnel on June 8, 1944, and other raids against “V” weapon sites were just a few of the significant missions in which it participated. Flying Officer (later Flight Lieutenant) Bob Knights and his crew flew the plane for the majority of February to August 1944.

RAF Lancaster

Additionally, Flying Officer John Castagnola, who claimed to have hit the battleship Tirpitz directly on the last raid, used the Thumper Mk III in two missions against it in Tromso Fjord on October 28 and November 12, 1944.

The Lancaster will be carrying a new paint job and markings when she makes her way back to Coningsby, telling the tale of another valiant aircraft and crew.

Lancaster Thumper Mk III

Photo by SAC Jack Welson / Crown Copyright

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