Lincoln Bomber

Just too late to see service during the Second World War, the Lincoln became the mainstay of Bomber Command post-war, but was destined for a short front line career as the Cold War and the jet age brought the shortcomings of its performance into sharp relief.

The RAF’s lack of an aircraft with sufficient range to be deployed in the Pacific led the Air Ministry to suggest that AV Roe Limited design an enlarged Lancaster to meet the requirement. The resulting Lincoln first flew in June 1944. However, the need to maintain supplies of Lancasters delayed production until 1945; the first production Lincolns reaching No.57 Squadron in August. Lincolns were intended to join the Tiger Force in the bombing of Japan but the war ended before they were needed.

583 Lincolns were built to equip around twenty squadrons. However, inferior performance in the face of jet fighters and the need to be able to reach targets behind the Iron Curtain saw their partial replacement with Boeing Washingtons from 1950. The type saw action against communist terrorists in Malaya in 1950 and Mau-Mau dissidents in Kenya from 1953, but Lincolns were finally superseded by the jet V-Bomber force from 1955.

The last Lincolns in RAF service were those engaged in radar development trials with No.151 Squadron, Signals Command until May 1963.

Lincoln Bomber

Inspecting the Bomb Bays

My Australian readers might be interested in reading the Radschool Associations post about the `Long Nose` Lincoln Mk 31 that was unique to Australian manufacture. Below is an extract from the article, but it is well worth reading the full post and viewing the accompanying photographs.

The Lincoln was designed as a Lancaster replacement, initially for use on long range missions into Eastern Europe and ultimately to equip the Royal Air Force in the Pacific war against Japan. Originally dubbed the Lancaster Mk 4, the extent of the redesign was such that a new type number and name was justified. Apart from Australia, the only export customer for the Lincoln was Argentina. It was also the largest aircraft to be built in Australia. The `Long Nose` Lincoln Mk 31 was unique to Australian manufacture being modified for anti-submarine, anti-shipping and general reconnaissance. It had a 1.9 metre extension to the nose designed to accommodate a tactical navigator, and three sonobuoy operators. Direct opening observation windows which slid up and down on tracks were also in the nose. These windows were fitted with adjustable deflectors which would eliminate wind interference when the windows were open. Four 1680 HP Rolls Royce Merlin Mk 102 liquid cooled power plants were installed.

The bomb bay was modified to carry two homing torpedos, two racks of active sonobuoys and two 188 imperial gallon (855 litres) long range fuel tanks that could be jettisoned. Several freight panniers inside the bomb bay were available if needed. Total fuel capacity including bomb bay tanks was 3226 imperial gallons (14,666 litres). With an average fuel consumption of 230 imperial gallons (1045 litres) per hour the Lincoln had approximately 14 hours endurance. Maximum all up weight was 82,000 lbs (37,200 kgs).

In July 1952 the RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) conducted a test flight on a Lincoln Mk 31. The following selected extracts give some interesting insight into the role of the test pilot and into Lincoln flying generally.


Apart from poor visibility while handling on the ground, there was no great difference in handling from the normal `short nose` Lincoln. It was extremely difficult to taxy on narrow taxy tracks as the edge of the sealed surface could only be seen abeam the aircraft. From the nose position, although the bomb aimer could see ahead, he could not see the wheels so little assistance could be obtained from the front. When lined up on the runway, from either pilot’s position the edge of the runway was observed to intersect the part of the field of vision obscured by the fuselage approximately 100 yards ahead of the aircraft. This lack of visibility made the aircraft difficult to operate at night-time and with the tail down nothing ahead could be seen. The aircraft behaved generally in a very similar manner to the standard Lincoln bomber, however in a yawing or steep sideslip attitude, there was a sudden snatch on the rudder control which resulted in a complete rudder lock. The rudder would lock in the full port or starboard position according to the direction of yaw or skid. Increasing speed would relieve the problem.

12 Comments CherryPie on Mar 7th 2017

12 Responses to “Avro Lincoln B2 – Cosford”

  1. Ginnie says:

    I had a feeling this was from the SC meetup, Cherry! How fun to see familiar planes and friends again! :)

  2. lisl says:

    Good to see these again, Cherie

  3. Alan says:

    Oh look; there’s me trying to look intelligent :) These were cutting edge at the time of course but things move so quickly that they soon look dated.

  4. Amfortas says:

    At the end of WW2 the RAF inventory included over 22,000 aircraft in various stages of disrepair. Many were phased out fairly quickly but I still recall that in the early 60’s there were still enough that every base had its own ’station aircraft’ which any pilot could take for a weekend jolly.

  5. I still haven’t been to the one in Colindale…

  6. Astrid says:

    This is a real monster… what a great plane.