My first trip to The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, East Kirkby to finally get up close and inside the stunning Avro Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ – it didn’t disappoint!
With 20 odd other members of the Spitfire – Britain’s National Treasure Group we headed to East Kirkby early morning for a group tour of the stunning Lancaster NX611, including internal access and an engine run.
Just Jane (as you all probably know) is one of only 2 Lancasters in the UK xxxxx – More on this below.
With the sun shining brightly – ‘Just Jane’ looked absolutely glorious sat out on the glistening tarmac as we arrived. In small groups we took turns to have an up close look both inside and out of this quite simply beautiful machine.
Inside the Lancaster the experience is very difficult to describe – and my thoughts couldn’t help but immediately turn to the brave young crews of Bomber Command. Whilst the Lancaster looks enormous and stunning on the outside, inside is quite a different story when putting yourself in the boots of the brave young aircrew who flew in her night after night, whilst being attacked from both the air & ground in unimaginable conditions.
I never expected inside to be particularly spacious, but was very taken back with how narrow and cramped it actually was to manoeuvre inside for the crew. Starting at the rear gunners turret was particularly poignant given my wife’s grandfather flew in this position, surviving over 40 missions in this position with 44/207 Sqns during 1944/45. Unbelievable thinking of sitting in that cramped space for hours, at extreme altitudes in freezing conditions, no parachute attached and whilst having to maintain full concentration to watch for enemy fighters! I didn’t think my admiration for the aircrews could get any greater – but it certainly did!
Working up through the positions – the narrow fuselage of the aircraft and main spa across the wings providing a hurdle to overcome which isn’t easy