When Fred and Harold Panton sought to honour their brother, killed while serving with Bomber Command, their ambitions were limited. But from that came the acquisition of Lancaster NX611, the establishment of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, and one of the greatest stories of British aircraft preservation. Fred’s grandson Andrew now has this considerable legacy in his hands
The night of 30-31 March 1944. From airfields in the east of England, many of them in Lincolnshire, 795 aircraft of RAF Bomber Command set off to attack the German city of Nuremberg. One was Halifax III HX272 of No 433 Squadron, a Royal Canadian Air Force unit stationed at Skipton-on-Swale, North Yorkshire. Captained by Plt Off Christian Nielsen, among its crew was a 19-year-old flight engineer from Nottinghamshire, Plt Off Christopher Witton Panton. They were on their 27th mission, and thus nearing the end of their tour.