Homage to Sugar

Today’s phonetic alphabet goes … Romeo, Sierra, Tango, but in the 1940s S was for Sugar.  In this post S-Sugar is a Lancaster bomber with a long list of raids.  My connection is that my uncle, Leading Aircraftman Frank Dennis, serviced the electrics and instruments on this very aircraft.  I blogged about this in Sugar Survives!.

Lancaster S 1 (480x211)
Lancaster bomber S-Sugar

I prefer this dark, sinister and menacing image of a night-time assassin, but a bit more detail can be seen in the next, adjusted image.  In the hangar the lighting is quite low and the underside in shadow, as it would have been when setting off on a raid, with only starlight or non-full moonlight.  The people serve to show just what a monster this was.  The wingspan was 102 ft (31 metres).

Lancaster S 1 brighter (480x211)
Lancaster S-Sugar, brighter.

Uncle Frank never mentioned Grand Slam, so I suspect he never saw one, as it was expensive and used sparingly on the most difficult targets – see board below.

Lancaster grand slam 2 (480x267)
Grand Slam. Barnes Wallis designed this 22,000 lb “earthquake” bomb to bury itself and destroy foundations of large structures.
Lancaster
Information board about Avro Lancaster.
Lancaster S 2 bomb bay w blockbuster
Lancaster bomb bay with blockbuster bomb, at 12,000 lb, also designed by Barnes Wallis.

 

Lancaster S 9 (480x272)
S-Sugar, scale and unit markings.
Lancaster S board
S-Sugar, brief history, information board.

Transcription

In its long career this Lancaster carried two sets of unit markings and three different designs of unofficial nose art work. These drawings show the aircraft in No. 83 Squadron markings as Q-Queenie and No. 467 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force as ‘S-Sugar’. The photographs illustrate the nose art work.

Whilst with No. 83 Squadron the aircraft carried a painting depicting a devil with the words “Devils of the Air”. On moving to No. 467 Squadron RAAF, ‘Q-Queenie’ was recoded ‘S-Sugar’ and received a fresh nose decoration of a kneeling nude supporting a bomb. Finally, whilst based at Waddington, it acquired the bomb-log and Goering’s foolishly extravagant claim.

Lancaster S Goering (480x353)
“No enemy plane will fly over the Reich territory”.  Herman Goering.

Sadly, the 467 Squadron badge is not on display, and although I reproduce the famous 617 “Dambusters” Squadron badge below, there is no connection, except the “Lanc”.

dambusters badge (480x449)
Badge for 617 “Dambusters” Squadron.  Apres moi le deluge.

Clearly, the RAF Museum at Hendon is not just about this one aircraft.  The exhibits are well presented, with lots of explanatory material, and it is well worth a visit.  Entry is free, but you will have to pay £3 or £4 for parking.  The nearest tube stop is Colindale on the Northern Line.  Some rebuilding work is going on in anticipation of the centenary of the RAF in 2018, so some exhibits are not available.  I will return!

Plane spotting: D-Day deception

lancaster silhouette front

Some time ago I suggested to BrownhillsBob that some images from an aircraft recognition manual from 1944 might be of interest. I am only just getting round to it.

I inherited the manual, which I think belonged to my late uncle Walter Dennis, who, after his shift at Kynoch, Perry Barr, Birmingham, was charged with spotting aircraft movements. There was a network of such people across the country: the Royal Observer Corps. They reported their observations to operations rooms by field telephone, which helped with decisions about defence against air raids, for example directing anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft. Continue reading “Plane spotting: D-Day deception”

Sugar and Sparks

S Sugar better pub dom (640x406)
Lancaster MkI bomber S-Sugar being readied for another operation.

Just a quick note of something I contributed to a local blog: BrownhillsBob’s Brownhills Blog (Getting at the engines).

The caption to the above picture on Wikimedia reads:  The Royal Australian Air Force in England, 1944 The veteran Avro Lancaster bomber ‘S for Sugar’, of No 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, is prepared for its 97th operational sortie at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire.

However, the history published by the RAF Museum says that in September 1943 the aircraft was transferred to 467 Squadron at RAF Bottesford, Leicestershire and coded PO-S, but while with 83 Squadron at Waddington was coded OL-Q.

There is more to come on this.  It seems hardly credible that one of the aircraft that my uncle, LAC Frank Dennis (electrician), serviced at RAF Waddingtion and then RAF Bottesford is still in one piece!