Lancaster nose arrives at East Kirkby

On 17 January the cockpit and composite front fuselage of Canadian-built Avro Lancaster X KB976 arrived at the former Bomber Command airfield at East Kirkby, where it will take up residence with the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre for a currently unspecified period of time. The nose, which is owned by Jeremy Hall, was previously housed at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire.

Originally built by Victory Aircraft at Malton, Ontario, KB976 was subsequently converted toMk10AR (area reconnaissance) configuration with a 40in extension plug inserted in the nose. The aircraft was to make the last official flight of a Lancaster in Royal Canadian Air Force service on 4 July 1964. After being acquired by Willie Roberts for his Strathallan Collection at Auchterarder, Scotland, during 1974, the modified nose section was removed, and a standard bomber nose from KB944 was fitted. The ‘Lanc’ arrived in Scotland in June 1975, but never flew again, being acquired by the late Charles Church in 1987 and seriously damaged in a hangar roof collapse at Woodford on 12 August that year. The majority of the aeroplane was sold to Kermit Weeks in 1992 and is in storage at the now-closed Fantasy of Flight attraction at Polk City, Florida. The extreme rear fuselage from KB976 is on show at Aero Venture in Doncaster, and the damaged mid/rear fuselage section is at the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin.

Although much of the nose is new-build, the original extended nose section forward of the cockpit makes for a fascinating contrast with the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre’s Lancaster VII NX611 Just Jane (see also pages 24-30).

Pictured shortly after arriving at East Kirkbyon17 January, the star board side of Lancaster KB976 wears a post-war Royal Canadian Air Force scheme. The port side sports WW 2 Bomber Command camouflage.