View from the mid-upper turret of PA474 as it flies over RAF Scampton on 16 May 2008 – the 65th anniversary of the Dams raid. Cpl Mark Crosby/Crown Copyright
View from the mid-upper turret of PA474 as it flies over RAF Scampton on 16 May 2008 – the 65th anniversary of the Dams raid. Cpl Mark Crosby/Crown Copyright
View from the mid-upper turret of PA474 as it flies over RAF Scampton on 16 May 2008 – the 65th anniversary of the Dams raid. Cpl Mark Crosby/Crown Copyright

Welcome to Aviation Classics, a new series of high-quality glossy publications centred on the world’s greatest aircraft, the events in which they played crucial roles and those who flew, maintained and supported them.

We begin with the Avro Lancaster, a type held in high regard by the Bomber Command aircrew who flew in it and an aircraft still admired by so many. The sight and sound of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s PA474 flying around the country will turn anyone’s head, and can bring a tear to the eye of those with a personal connection as it brings back memories of fallen comrades or family.

One evening recently, I was out walking my dog when I heard the stirring sound of PA474 echoing around the sky. In the middle of the cornfields close to my village, there is nothing visible to give away the date. I looked around for the bomber’s silhouette as the noise seemed to change direction. Then she appeared from the south heading home, and as the unmistakable shape flew by over the traditional Lincolnshire farmland, with the sun getting low and giving out a golden glow, it gave me the impression of a crew heading home after a seven or eight-hour operation over enemy territory. The experience aptly highlighted just what the Lancaster’s continued operation by the Royal Air Force stands for.

More than 55,000 Bomber Command aircrew didn’t return home and many more were physically and mentally scarred. Groundcrew, too, lost their lives with their efforts to keep the aircraft flying. The RAF’s last Lancaster honours those who risked and gave their lives each night to preserve the freedom of their country – put simply, the Lancaster is a flying memorial.

This new bookazine series is brought to you by Mortons Media Group Ltd, an independent publisher based in Horncastle, Lincolnshire. Mortons is well-known for publishing numerous heritage transport monthly magazines within its portfolio of over 20 titles, including Old Glory, Tractor, Heritage Railway, Heritage Commercials, The Classic Motorcycle, Classic Motorcycle Mechanics and Classic Racer. So as well as traction engines, steam locomotives, lorries, tractors and motorcycles, Mortons has now added aircraft to its range.

The company’s headquarters is situated right in the heart of what became known as ‘Bomber County’ during World War Two, due to the many bases operating aircraft flying in that role. Even nowadays Lincolnshire continues to be home to the lion’s share of the Lancasters remaining in England. A few miles south we have RAF Coningsby, from where the BBMF’s airworthy Mk.I flies out of. Slightly south-east is the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre which operates Lancaster VII Just Jane in taxiable condition at East Kirkby. So there couldn’t be a better way to launch Aviation Classics than with the ‘Lanc’!

Everyone here at Mortons has been excited about this launch and keen to be involved with putting it together, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their various inputs, be it material or moral support. I must also thank all my friends and colleagues in the historic aviation world, without whose enormous help in so many ways I could never have got this new venture ‘off the ground’.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy the content that’s been put together for Issue 1 of Aviation Classics, and that you’ll be looking forward to the next one as much as I am. In Issue 2 we’ll be turning our attention to the superb P-51 Mustang – see page 130 for a taste of what’s going to be in there.

The editor with his black labrador Gibson outside of the former office (top right window) of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson VC DSO* DFC* at RAF Scampton. Mervyn Hallam

The editor with his black labrador Gibson outside of the former office (top right window) of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson VC DSO* DFC* at RAF Scampton. Mervyn Hallam

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