Famed Second World War Avro Lancaster bomber sets off for U.K. tour
Published Tuesday, August 5, 2014 11:19AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, August 5, 2014 6:55PM EDT
Canada's only air-worthy Second World War Lancaster bomber plane took off Tuesday morning from Hamilton on the first leg of a journey to the other side of the Atlantic.
The 69-year-old Avro Lancaster was initially scheduled to depart from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ont., on Monday, but was rescheduled to depart on Tuesday due to mechanical issues.
The plane will take part in a three-day journey to the United Kingdom, making stops along the way. When it arrives in the U.K., it will be featured in a two-month aerial tour. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight tour is expected to draw millions of visitors.
During the tour, Canada's Lancaster will stop at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre. The Canadian plane will fly alongside a British Lancaster, the only other air-worthy Lancaster in the world. The last time the two bombers flew together was 50 years ago during a retirement ceremony in Toronto.
Built in 1941, the Avro Lancaster became the most famous allied bomber used during the Second World War. The Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft was flown in several daring air raids, including on the Ruhr Dams in May 1943 and the sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz in November 1944.
A total of 7,377 Lancaster planes rolled off production lines in Canada and Britain during the war, and thousands of Canadian airmen served with the RCAF and RAF Lancaster squadrons in England.
After the war, more than 200 of the planes remained in active service for more than a decade and were used for Arctic reconnaissance and maritime patrol, before the RCAF discontinued the Lancaster in 1964.
The aircraft will be making a stop in Goose Bay, Nfld., with possible stops in Iceland and Greenland, before arriving in Coningsby, Lincolnshire on Friday. It's path can be followed online.
Canada's Lancaster will return to Canada on Sept. 22.