BBMF Lancaster PA474 City of Lincoln

To mark 80 years of the first flight of the prototype Avro Lancaster on January 9, 1941, Tom Allett examines the history of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s example, PA474

Main photo: The Lancaster will forever be associated with the daring Dambusters raid of 1943, and PA474 often recreates the pre-raid training by flying over the Howden Dam in Derbyshire
Sgt Graham Stark/RAF Crown Copyright 2008

Avro Lancaster B.I, PA474, is a national treasure and a staple of UK airshows – when COVID-19 allows! Today, it is best known as the centrepiece of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, but this warbird’s longevity can be explained by the various roles it has undertaken. Despite being built too late to see combat, it has served in other ways. PA474 rolled off the production lines at Vickers Armstrong’s Broughton factory at Hawarden airfield near Chester on May 31, 1945, just a few weeks after victory in Europe had been declared. Although Bomber Command was preparing to despatch its long-range bombers – known as Tiger Force – to fight Imperial Japanese forces in the Far East, the US atomic bombs ended the war before PA474 could see action.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below