Sugar Survives!

S Sugar 100 pub dom
Picture to mark “100th” operation.

Further to yesterday’s post Sugar and Sparks, it seems I got a bit confused by the complex history of Lancaster number R5868.

This aircraft was completed on 20 June 1942 and 9 days later delivered to 83 Squadron at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire. It appears she was not maintained by LAC Frank Dennis while with that squadron. The first operational sortie was on the night of 8-9 July against Wilhelmshaven, a port in northern Germany, and the plane was coded OL-Q, “Queenie”.

On 15 August 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Wyton to join the new Pathfinder Force, which was to guide other aircraft to targets.

By 14 September 1943, after 68 operations, Queenie, was transferred to 467 Squadron at RAF Bottesford, Leicestershire, where LAC Frank Dennis serviced the electrics, and was recoded PO-S for Sugar.

On 11 November 1943 this squadron was transferred to RAF Waddington, which was shared with another Australian (RAAF) unit, 463 Squadron. Recoded S-Sugar. There were several raids on Berlin and other targets, including wiping out the 21st Panzer Division, and missions to repatriate prisoners of war.

The “100th” operation, actually 102nd or 103rd, was on 11-12 May 1944, but no bombs were dropped to avoid civillian casualties. This drew a lot of interest from the press.

By 8 May 1945, when hostilities in Europe ended, S-Sugar had completed 139 missions. For a time she stood sentinel at the gates of RAF Waddington as OL-Q. S-Sugar is currently on display at the RAF Museum at Hendon in north London. This is the oldest surviving Lancaster.

Source: RAF Museum.

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