Lancaster bomber restored to its former glory|
On the anniversary
of the Lancaster Bomber, Andy Johnson goes on an emotional trip down memory lane
with a couple who helped build this iconic plane.
The Lancaster is more
than a plane
it's a legend of the skies which is part of the North West's
It's also a legend which helped shape the destiny of the Second
Its only when you get close to a Lancaster that you realise what
an incredible weapon of war it was.
It's amazing to think that there are
now only four planes left in Britain.
The first prototype of the Lancaster
flew 65 years ago. The plane began its life at the A.V. Roe works at Chadderton
The Lancaster became a key part of RAF bomber command's
strategy and was able to strike deep into the heart of Germany.
At its peak
38,000 people in the North West were working on the Lancaster.
was joined by Woodford, Metro VICKERS at Trafford Park, and Chester plus a host
of other factories were converted to make parts.
Working on the Lancaster
plane's success was an incredible tribute to the hard work and talent of the workers
who made the planes.
Don and Joan Andrew, who live near Rochdale, both
helped build the bombers at the Chadderton factory.
Lancaster bomber commemorates WW2|
The Lancaster is linked
forever in their lives - they've been married for more than 50 years.
had served his time as an apprentice draughtsman, and after the outbreak of war
worked on the design of the Lancaster.
Joan was just 17-years-old, and an
apprentice hairdresser at Kendal Milne store in Manchester, when she suddenly
had to swap scissors for spanners.
For Don and Joan and the many others
working at the Chadderton factory the effort to produce the planes completely
took over their lives - the hours were long and the planes were produced at an
At one point the workers built 136 Lancasters in a month.
the factory and its famous assembly floors lie silent and empty. It will soon
close for good.
Designed by Roy Chadwick. First flight in January 1941. Entered service 1942.
speed 280mph at 15,000 feet.
One of the reasons for the plane's success
was its four Rolls Royce Merlin engines.
Renowned for its reliability and
best known for taking part in the Dambuster raids in 1943.
as a night bomber. Between 1942-45 the Lancaster flew 156,000 operations and dropped
608,612 tons of bombs.
Only 35 Lancasters survived more than 100 successful
The Lancasters were the only planes that
could carry and deliver the bouncing bombs which did so much damage to the dams
The legacy of those daring raids turned the Lancaster from
bomber plane into legend.
But there was a high price to pay. The bomber
was an easy target, and more than half of the 7,000 Lancasters produced were shot
Bomber Command lost more than 50,000 men.
Joan Andrew spent years making the pilots' consoles for the Lancaster, she never
saw the parts assembled into the plane
Inside Out takes her to Lincolnshire
Aviation Heritage Centre in East Kirkby, home to one of the few Lancasters left
today for an emotional trip to see the plane up close and personal.
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