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Unpainted Lancaster


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I found this signal, during a Kew visit, and it's somewhat intriguing; unpainted, and polished, so it doesn't sound as if it was just any old Lancaster, a VIP transport, perhaps? Churchill used a york and Liberator, so I doubt that it was for him.

unpaintedLancaster.jpg

Edgar

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could this be it

"Eight of the Lancasters built in Canada by Victory Aircraft Limited were not completed as bombers, but rather as long distance transport aircraft. These included the third and fourth off the line, KB-702 and KB-703, as well as KB-729 and KB-730, and FM-184, FM-185, FM-186, and FM-187. The first Lancaster-based long distance transport aircraft was R-5727. This was the British-built Lancaster that had been flown across the Atlantic in April, 1942 to become the "pattern" aircraft to be utilized by Victory Aircraft as they prepared to manufacture Lancasters in Canada. When it had served its purpose, R-5727 was converted for transport duties and registered as CF-CMS. On July 22, 1943, it completed the first flight from Dorval (Montreal) to Prestwick, Scotland non-stop in a record-breaking 12:26 hours. The modified aircraft from KB-729 on were specifically delivered with rudimentary passenger facilities and were referred to as Lancaster XPP's (for Lancaster Mk.X Passenger Planes)."

Dates are a bit out though

http://www.lancastermuseum.ca/lanccanadian.html

Mark

Edited by chadders
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lol you beat me to that chadders Did you google the aircraft number as well. ;)

Edited by Pilgrim_UK
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Is this any help?

The first Lancaster-based long distance transport aircraft was R-5727. This was the British-built Lancaster that had been flown across the Atlantic in April, 1942 to become the "pattern" aircraft to be utilized by Victory Aircraft as they prepared to manufacture Lancasters in Canada. When it had served its purpose, R-5727 was converted for transport duties and registered as CF-CMS. On July 22, 1943, it completed the first flight from Dorval (Montreal) to Prestwick, Scotland non-stop in a record-breaking 12:26 hours.

From http://www.lancastermuseum.ca/lanccanadian.html

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i have a picture somwhere of a silver lanc, yes a lanc not a lincoln its in an old lanc book, its not mentioned in the text but there is a picute of it, its unarmed , but all the turrents are presnet but no guns, ill dig it out and scan it

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lol you beat me to that chadders Did you google the aircraft number as well. ;)

Google is your freind!! lol You see all these great minds thinking alike

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I'm moe intrigued as to why it would fly to Liverpool. No real history of Lancs being based or maintained there. Halifaxs yes, but not Lancs.

I would guess the dates don't tie in as the signal Edgar found could have been for the original departing flight from Canada which could then have been put back for one reason or another.

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Intruiging!

I too googled R5727 in pictures and came across this:

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=h...%26tbs%3Disch:1

most of the way down the page there she is, flying over Montreal........camouflaged. A repaint?

As to the Liverpool connection, yes it was home to the Roots shadow factory bulding Halifaxes (GR.V's I think) and was the home to the UK operation of Lockheed. Originally set up for receiving Lockheed Hudsons shipped to Liverpool docks, it ended up being a facility for all US built aircraft shipped to Liverpool, both for UK and US air arms. I'm struggling to think why it should be Liverpool and not Woodford where they were built. Maybe some American/Canadian equipment fit perhaps?

Interesting also that it appears to be an inbound flight from Prestwick, so obviously it had come back from Canada and was on its way back somewhere?

Have you tried the FlyPast forum?

MH

EDIT

Re reading the memo, it states that the fuselage is black on both sides aft of the roundel. The fuselage was modular and was comprised of 4 interchangeable parts. (Nose/cockpit/forward fuselage/rear fuselage). Could it be that it had a replacement and camouflaged Canadian built rear end? It is also interesting that it is referred to by (part) of its serial rather than its subsequent Canadian civil registration. Still all speculation though.

Edited by Max Headroom
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Re reading the memo, it states that the fuselage is black on both sides aft of the roundel.

Hi

What I think it means is .....

the number 5727 is painted in black on both sides aft of the roundel, (like seen in some rcaf photos).

not the rear of the fuselage is painted black aft of the roundel.

cheers

Jerry

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most of the way down the page there she is, flying over Montreal........camouflaged. A repaint?

Surely it would just be a paint :)

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Hope this is not a silly question but why is the memo issued from Fighter Command?

Probably to stop fighters having a go at a strange, unpainted, aircraft, I suppose; even the underwing roundels might have caused suspicion in pilots, since they weren't normally in evidence. I've found a similar warning about an unpainted Tempest about to fly in the London/Reading vicinity.

Thanks to all of you, who found the information; I know all about Google, but I suspect that you found more than I would have done. I'm not overly concerned about the apparent date anomalies, either; there are many mis-typings in messages (note that "R" is missing from AIR MINISTRY,) and there was no instant erasure, by backspacing, in the 1940s.

Edgar

Edited by Edgar
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Could this and the unpainted Tempest be part of experiments to determine if leaving an aircraft unpainted gave any performance benefits through weight-saving and/or reduced drag?

Was pondering if the time-scale was close to the USAAF moving away from camouflage to unpainted finishes on aircraft such as the B17 & P51.

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Guessing, again, but I doubt that, for the Lancaster; I'd say it was to enable the Canadians to get a good clear look at what they were taking on, without paint obscuring the metal. The Tempest was the prototype, and could have been flown unpainted just to move things on, since it was needed. The FIU had unpainted Tempests, around D-day, which they used on anti-Diver patrols.

In 1944, Churchill asked if we were going to leave our aircraft unpainted, like the Americans, and was told that we'd found that, apart from the time saved (considerable on a/c as big as a B-17, but still only rated at .7% of the total,) there was nothing to be gained, over a properly-painted smooth finish, and it was felt that aircraft still needed camouflage when parked out on airfields. And here's a funny thing (which I never knew, until I found this signal, and that shows how well-kept the secret was,) according to the writer, a General Kepner (no idea which Air Force) had vowed to continue to use paint, as long as he held stocks; Churchill was asked to keep that confidential, and not to tell the Americans.

Edgar

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Hi

I think that you will find that General Kepner was american and commander of the 8th air force, strange he would ask churchill to keep it from the americans.

example of serial painting

http://www.tigerboys.com/images/yale3.jpg

cheers jerry

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No, it wasn't Kepner, who asked for it to be kept quiet, it was the officer in the Air Ministry (the writer of the signal.) Presumably he thought that Kepner was disobeying a direct order.

Edgar

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  • 10 years later...

I am pulling this topic up from the past.  Did anyone save the memo Edgar posted?

 

If the aircraft was indeed R5727, it went to Canada as a standard Bomber Command Lanc, got converted to a transport and stripped of paint in Canada.  Then returned to the UK for more work and was re-camouflaged while in the UK.  It became CF-CMS with TCA.

 

Jim

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