Vickers Wellington with Coastal Command

Vickers Wellington with Coastal Command

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Vickers Wellington with Coastal Command

2,317 of the 11,461 Wellington bombers built were of the five types developed for Coastal Command. Radar equipped Wellingtons served as torpedo bombers and anti-Submarine warfare aircraft, both from Britain and in the Mediterranean.

Coastal Command often had a lower priority that it deserved. It did not receive its first Wellingtons until November 1940, when No. 221 Squadron was formed using Mk ICs with anti surface vessel (ASV) radar. These early Mk ICs were followed by the Mk VIII, based on the same airframe. This aircraft came in both torpedo bomber and anti-Submarine warfare versions.

The Mk VIII Torpedo bomber was most often found in the Mediterranean. It flew from Malta from December 1940 to March 1941, and again from the end of 1941. From there the Wellingtons were able to play a crucial part in denying supplies to the Axis forces in North Africa. Two more daylight anti-shipping versions of the Wellington would follow – the Mk XI and the MK XIII, of which over 800 were built.

A Wellington Mk VIII of No. 172 Squadron made the first successful attack using the Leigh Light on 4 June 1942, off the north coast of Spain. The target of this attack was an Italian submarine, the Luigi Torelli. Caught by surprise, and unaware of the true nature of the sudden light, the Italian boat remained surfaced for long enough for the Wellington to drop its depth charges, scoring a near miss, and forcing the submarine to abandon its mission and return to port.

The first confirmed U-boat kill came on 5 July 1942 when U-502 was sunk while crossing the Bay of Biscay.

The Leigh Light removed the cover of night from the U-boats. This had been a safe period, when the submarines could surface to refresh their oxygen and recharge their batteries, almost entirely safe from British attack.

Although the Wellington’s relatively short range limited the areas it could patrol with the Leigh Light, it was so successful in the crucial Bay of Biscay area that in 1943 Admiral Doenitz was forced to order the U-Boats to submerge if they had to cross the bay at night, and only surface during the day, when they had a better chance of spotting any approaching aircraft at a safe distance.

The Leigh Light equipped Wellington remained important to the end of the war. In the summer of 1944 GR MK XIVs flew patrols over the English Channel, helping to prevent the U-boats from interfering with the invasion fleets. By the end of 1944 Coastal Command still had 119 Leigh Light equipped Wellingtons. The Wellington, and its stable mate, the Vickers Warwick, played an important role in the victory over the U-boat.

Vickers Wellington

The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engine, long range medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson. It was widely used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, before being displaced as a bomber by the larger four-engine "heavies" such as the Avro Lancaster. The Wellington continued to serve throughout the war in other duties, particularly as an anti-submarine aircraft. It was the only British bomber to be produced for the entire duration of the war. The Wellington was popularly known as the Wimpy by service personnel, after J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons and a Wellington "B for Bertie" had a starring role in the 1942 Oscar-nominated Powell and Pressburger film One of Our Aircraft Is Missing. The Wellington was one of two bombers named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the other being the Vickers Wellesley.

Vickers Wellington: The Old British Bomber that Pounded Nazi Germany

The Vickers Wellington was quite advanced for the time but was quickly outdated as newer aircraft were introduced.

The U.S. Army Air Force's B-17 Flying Fortress and the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) Avro Lancaster are two of the most famous – even infamous – bombers of the Second World War. Yet, the USAAF actually flew more B-24 Liberators while the RAF's most produced bomber of the war was the Vickers Wellington, a twin-engined, long-range medium bomber.

Conceived by Vickers-Armstrong Chief Designer Rex Pierson during the mid-1930s, it was actually one of two bombers named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington – the other being the Vickers Wellesley. From that early aircraft, new geodetic construction methods were devised, which were used with the Wellington. Introduced in 1938, the first aircraft were delivered to No. 9 squadron.

The Vickers Wellington was quite advanced for the time but was quickly outdated as newer aircraft were introduced. It was powered by twin 1050hp Bristol Pegasus XVIII engines, which gave the aircraft a maximum speed of 235 mph and a ceiling of 18,000 feet with a range of 2,550 miles. It could carry 4,500 pounds of bombs. The aircraft was armed with six .303 Vickers machine guns including two in the nose turret, two in the tail turret, and two in the waist positions. Typically, the Wellington had a crew of five or six, included pilot, radio operator, navigator and gunners.

When the war began, the RAF had eight squadrons of Wellingtons, and they participated in the first attacks of the war, including the disastrous raid on Wilhelmshaven in the early days of the war, where ten of the twenty-four bombers were shot down and three more damaged. It was clear that the bombers were too vulnerable for daylight attacks and the bombers were switched to a night bomber role.

The "Wellie" – as it came to be known – bore the brunt of the Bomber Command offensive against Germany and made up sixty percent of the first 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne that took place on May 30, 1942. As the war progressed the Vickers Wellington served with Coastal and Overseas Commands, and as it was superseded in its primary role by the much larger, "heavy bombers" including the Avro Lancaster and Vickers Warwick, the Wellie was utilized in marine reconnaissance and anti-submarine missions. By the time the war ended, the Wellingtons had flown 346,440 operational hours in Europe, and 525,769 hours in the Middle and the Far East.

In addition to serving with the RAF, the bomber was used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, as well as by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). In Canadian service the bomber earned the nickname "Wimpy" after J. Wellington Wimpy, Popeye's hamburger-loving cartoon pal.

The Mk. V and Mk. VI versions were also advanced high-altitude versions that featured a primitive pressurized cabin, however the performance was underwhelming and as a result the aircraft weren't deployed in combat operations.

A total of 11,461 Vickers Wellingtons were produced, and the airframe was used in the testing of new turbojet and turboprop engines in the post-war era, whilst also serving as the basis for the civilian variant, the Vickers VC-1 Viking. The bomber was only retired in March 1953.

Only two complete Wellingtons survive and both are on display in museums. Wellington IA serial number N2980 is owned by Brooklands Museum at Brooklands, Surrey while Wellington T.10 serial number MF628 is held by the Royal Air Force Museum. Restoration is currently ongoing, but it is worth noting that the aircraft was also seen in the film The Dam Busters.

Vickers Wellington

When it entered service in 1938, the twin-engined Vickers Wellington began an operational career that spanned the whole of the Second World War.

Rugged and reliable, it was operated by Bomber Command, Coastal Command and Transport Command, possessing a level of versatility second to none, serving in almost every theatre of War.

By the autumn of 1945 nearly 11,500 had been built. As the last one rolled off the Vickers’ production lines, the “Wimpy” as it was affectionately known, had secured its place in history, as one of the truly great aircraft of the Second World War.

Vickers Wellington with Coastal Command - History

Trumpeter's 1/72 scale Wellington GR.XIV is available online from


The Vickers Wellington really needs no introduction, and was the most widely produced British bomber off WW2. It saw frontline service in a variety of capacities from the beginning to end of the conflict. These included day and night bomber, torpedo bomber, high altitude bomber, maritime and anti-submarine patrol, transport, trainer and engine test-bed. It continued to serve in non-combat roles for some time after the war. One thing it wasn&rsquot suited to however was towing gliders, as its geodetic construction meant it would stretch!

The Mk XIV was the culmination of a series of maritime patrol and anti-submarine versions. It was equipped with ASV Mk III radar in a chin installation, a retractable ventral Leigh searchlight, and had the ability to carry eight RP-3 rocket projectiles as well as depth charges etc.

My regular bunch of modelling mates and I get together each Friday taking turns to host. We have a few (or several) drinks, plenty of laughs, and even occasionally view and discuss our models after putting the world to rights.

Anyway, we agreed to each to build a twin-engined plane between December 1st 2009 and the last Friday of January 2010. One of my mates quickly got on with two MPM Wellingtons a Mk X and a Mk II. Upon seeing them on the second Friday of December I was reminded how much I liked the Wellington, and so decided to build one of mine. To avoid being a complete copycat I chose my Trumpeter GR XIV to build. I had seen the same mate build a 1/48 Trumpeter Wellington for a commission, and thought the very similar 1/72 kit would make for a fairly straightforward build. (More fool me as it happens.)

Quarter Scale Wellington&rsquos Little Brother

The 1/72 Trumpeter Wellington kits are in many respects scaled down versions of their 1/48 offerings, and as such have many of the same good and bad points. The following observations apply equally to their Mk IC, Mk III, MK X and Mk XIV. For a in-box review see Brett Green&rsquos &rdquoFirst Look&rdquo article.

Exceptional levels of internal detail for the scale (although sadly most of this is unobservable in the confines of the dark fuselage).

The best gun-turret internal detail I have encountered in a 1/72 kit.

Well-captured fuselage structure (although some diamond-shaped panels are far too prominently raised and need sanding down).

Good bomb-bay internal detail for this scale (although no weapons are provided).

Excellent wheel-well detail, both main and tail.

In my opinion, ridiculously exaggerated geodetic effect on the flying surfaces. This effect is so overdone the plane would not fly if the real thing had sagging fabric like the kit&rsquos representation. I checked hundreds of photos, and with one or two exceptions of in-flight aircraft photographed in low angle sunlight, I could not observe the geodetic structure through the fabric. I thought the MPM/Italeri Wellingtons were overdone, but Trumpeter has really made for some extra work here. See the photo of four wings, being top to bottom: Trumpeter scraped, filled and sanded, untouched Trumpeter, MPM/Italeri, and Matchbox/Revell. Matchbox is the best in my view. (It&rsquos interesting to note the variation in outlines and the bulk the different brands give to the engine nacelles.)

Very under-nourished propeller blades, especially in the case of the Rotol props for the Hercules engines (see photo).

Overly narrow main wheels (again see photo). I think this may in part be due to a combination of slightly narrow nacelles and the price of the thickness wheel-well inserts causing an overall narrowing of the undercarriage.

The main windscreen frames are rather thick, leaving the pilot what looks a bit like a letterbox to see through.

Faults & Weaknesses Specific to the Trumpeter GR XIV:

A radar chin that is too long and prominent in my opinion.

The nose transparency framing is simply wrong in angle and layout, and the proportions of the clear section are wrong in that they are too deep on the sides. (Both nose accuracy faults seem to mirror the Matchbox/Revell kit&rsquos GR XIV parts)

The under-wing panels for the RP-3&rsquos are not represented.

Whilst the rest of the kit has exceptional interior detail where you won&rsquot be able to see most of it, there is no internal detail in the nose area where you will see it!


My plan of attack for this quick build was essentially:

Fill the over-done geodetic wing-pox effect with Mr Surfacer.

Knock up some interior detail for the nose.

Swap the props for those off my Matchbox kit (if I&rsquod had time I would have ordered some Rotols from Aeroclub)

Add RP-3 underwing load-bearing panels and get some rocket projectiles.

Sand off the nose and cockpit canopy framing.

Assume that the interior detail would be seen, and then see how much could be seen as a guide to future Wellington builds.

Choose an interesting colour scheme.

Now you may have spotted a major mistake in my plan. Yes, I was to start building, painting and bashing away before I&rsquod chosen the actual aircraft I wished to model &ndash not the smartest move I know.

In preparation for the reduction of the surface detail, I drilled out the fuel filler caps in the wings and rebated the holes a little. I then inserted plastic rod into the holes to be flush with the wings. I thus had caps that would remain as I filled and sanded back the surface detail. Having glugged my way through most of my bottle of Mr Surfacer on my test wing I realised more drastic action was called for. In the end I scraped away the excessive spar lines and filled much of the geodetic effect with Tamiya putty. I then sanded and Mr Surfacered, and kept sanding and Mr Surfacering until I had hidden most of the pox-scars in the flying surfaces. I also added navigation lights to the wing tips made from coloured toothbrush handles.

I examined heaps of external photos of GR XIV noses and failed to confirm what the interior looked like. My only reference in the end was an old cutaway drawing showing a seat, ammo-boxes and spent-case collection chute for a twin Browning .303 installation. I therefore made a floor, extended the kit&rsquos geodetic framing onto the plain interior surfaces and would decide on adding a gun or guns later once I chose my subject.

I decided I had better get on and paint the interior. Different aircraft appear to have had some colour variation as far as the interior is concerned. The photos show what I settled on. Let me say that this interior took quite a while to paint, and I persisted despite my better judgement which told me not enough light would penetrate for it to be seen. As it turned out I was right, and little could be seen.

It&rsquos worth mentioning at this point that Trumpeter&rsquos moulding of the geodetic structure in within the window frames makes for a slightly over-scale appearance. I feel it would have been better to mould more delicate detail onto the glazing itself.

Before closing the fuselage halves I added a representation of the Leigh light using a pen tube and some channel section plastic inside the fuselage. I chopped the barrels off the beam guns and added their receiver mechanisms to their mounts. The mounts and their reflector sights could be improved for scale appearance, but I didn&rsquot due to time constraints and the fact that they are hard to see. I also drilled holes above the bomb-bay doors for the bomb winch crank mechanisms.

A feature that is very well captured is the pilot&rsquos seat (I understand it was considered the most comfortable of British bomber seats). I added some PE belts to this as I knew they would be visible. Initially I was surprised and felt let down by a flat instrument panel and a decal for instruments, given the high levels of moulded interior detail elsewhere. I the end however the decaled panel was quite sufficient for the scale.

Anyway, I spent far too long wasting my time painting the interior, especially when late in the build I realised that the plane I chose to model had over-painted fuselage windows! This wasted time was to place some pressure on me later on. Normally I wouldn&rsquot let a deadline cause me to rush spoil a model, as I&rsquom quite capable of doing that as a matter of course. However within my modelling group I have never lived down the fact that I&rsquom about nine years overdue on a team B-17 build, so I felt I should have this one done by the end of January.

The Airframe Comes Together

With fuselage together I was itching to see what it looked like with the wings on. To be honest I would have preferred for the ailerons to be moulded with the wings. Separate items just added to the complexity, although I know some would be happy to be able to displace these surfaces. With all of the flying surfaces clipped into place I got a big motivational boost as it really began to look like a Wellington. This was sufficient for a couple of banks and low-level run over the modelling bench accompanied by aeroplane noises (at nearly 50 I&rsquom close enough to a second childhood to get away with this!).

It was time to get on with the engines. The kit provides two quite nice representations of Hercules engines, along with separate collector ring, cowl, cooling flaps and nacelle front. The kit also contains the equivalent items for the earlier Pegasus powered versions. I found that the fit of the various cowling and nacelle parts was not the best, which is a pity as some rather nice surface detail is featured here. I&rsquove already mentioned that the props are far too skinny, but feel I should mention it again, as it&rsquos pretty poor not to get them right.

I took the opportunity to thin the openings to the carburettor intakes and oil coolers, and I drilled out the exhausts and fuel dump pipes. I was worried that the cowling interiors might look a little empty, especially as I feel the engines sit a little far back. I therefore made a simplified representation of the exhaust manifold using solder. As it turns out this was also a waste of time as little can be seen.

Although the Wellington GR XIV was equipped to carry RP-3 rockets its hard to find photos of them doing so. I found three or four. Two of the best feature what I think must be a test aircraft. What is very apparent on this aircraft are large grey (?) panels extending forward from the flaps to the main spar, and outboard from the nacelles to the ailerons. The fact that they are much darker than the white under-surfaces suggest this is a test machine, as they nullify the white camouflage&rsquos effectiveness. At first it might be assumed that these panels are intended to protect the fabric wing from the flame of the rocket motors. However the shape and extent of the panels either side of the rocket batteries suggest to me that they are intended to provided an attachment for the rockets that spreads the load over a wide are of the geodetic wing structure. I assume that this would be needed in the absence of conventional ribs for load-bearing attachment points.

I made my panels from self adhesive aluminium tape, and painted them white as I observed them to be in a photo of an operational machine. My rockets came from an Academy Typhoon. The rush to finish is my excuse for not replacing those over-scale rocket fins. I added some firing wires hanging down, but probably need to trim a couple of millimetres off each now that I look at them again in the photos.

The photos of rocket carrying GR XIV&rsquos I found wore slightly boring paint schemes. However I had found some very attractive schemes in an excellent French publication called Air Mag Hors Serie, Numero 7. Air Mag is published by a Spanish guy called Jose Fernandez. Based in Paris, Jose is also behind Azur brand kits produced by the MPM Group. I chose a scheme with D-Day stripes, nose gun, twin DF footballs, and as I have mentioned already, painted over fuselage windows! I have no idea if this one carried rockets or not, but it could have. So that was good enough for me. After all that&rsquos modelling for you, your model can be finished whatever you want.

I knocked up a nose gun from a spare in the kit, and made the link and case collector chute from solder and fuse wire. I sourced another DF loop from my spares (donated by an Academy B-17C/D) which are possibly a little small, but I can live with it.

Around about this point I also extended the panels either side of the nose to give the correct proportions between the clear glazing and the fuselage. This required sanding down the kit panels and replacing them with thin plastic card. It was around this time that I realised that the chin radome looked to long and bulky. I hacked away at it until I was left with a hole to fill with plastic card after running out of kit plastic. I reconstructed some fabric surface detail between the bomb-bay and radar chin, and also let in a small raised line of stretched sprue around the chin, as photos showed this to be anything but a smooth transition from the fuselage.

Before addressing painting, the other constructional tasks to be finished included:

Thickening the main wheels with plastic card discs.

Assembling the rear turret per the instructions (the spent link and case chutes could do with being replaced with thinner more to scale items, but I did not have time)

Attaching the two DF loops and thinned down antenna mast.

Detailing the bottom of the Leigh light based on what I could see in photos.

Adding the rudder and elevator mass balances, underwing fuel dump pipes and pitots.

Painting and Markings

Painting was done with the wings and tailplane detached which made painting a lot easier. I chose to paint the fuselage in an off-white to allow later highlighting with fresher white sprayed on and oil paint filters (to use AFV modelling parlance). It would also enable the D-Day stripes to look fresher compared to the older white airframe finish. I chose to use acrylics mainly to make using oil washes and filters simpler, and in part for selection of colours from existing paint stocks. The off-white, white and dark sea-grey were by Gunze, and the dark slate grey was Tamiya&rsquos RLM Grey.

I studied many photos of Coastal Command Wellingtons and whilst some were clean, many did get quite dirty. I tried for a middle ground. I noted where the fuselages seemed to get grubby below the cockpit and along the bomb-bay, presumably from armourers&rsquo hands etc. Also I allowed for fuel spills and dirt on the wings, and of course oil stains from the engines. One thing I found interesting when reviewing photos was that GR XIV&rsquos had their exhaust collector rings painted white, and that this paint did not necessarily burn away, although in some cases it became very discoloured. I tried to reflect this using oil paints, graphite dust and pastels.

D-Day stripes could be applied precisely or as rough as guts and photo evidence can always be found to prove either case. I feel that even fairly rough unmasked 1:1 paint jobs would look pretty straight in 1/72 scale. After all, a 3&rdquo real-life wobble in a line would reduce to just less than 1 mm on the model. The Wellington photos I saw with D-day stripes looked pretty tidy, and as I only had artwork of my plane I had no photographic evidence to guide me. I chose to go with hard masking as I find it more attractive on a model. Maybe not the best rationale, but I only have to please myself right?

The wing roundels, fins flashes and Polish insignia were kit decals. The kit&rsquos fuselage roundels were out of register, so donors were found. I must thank a couple of my modelling mates the squadron codes and serial numbers: Peter Mossong for the graphics, and Martin Short for printing. Pre-painted decal strip served to frame the two sanded smooth canopies and the beam-gun windows. The tail turret was masked. The exhausts had a combination of paint and ground pastel mixed with oil paints. The airframe had various oil paint filters smeared around to create some variation in colours everything was dulled down with household mat varnish.

This build was anything but straightforward, but I&rsquom happy with the result. It&rsquos hard to see in the photos, but the geodetic patterns are just discernible under the paint, and are similar to those on the Matchbox/Revell Wellington. If it were not for the surface detail and nose shape errors (in my opinion) I would give Trumpeter some very high marks for their GR XIV.

Now that I have built this kit I feel I will do a better and quicker job of my other Trumpeter Wellingtons (one will have Matchbox wings). I also look forward to having a crack at my two MPM Wellington kits. After all, there is something very appealing about the Wellington. To me it&rsquos a bit like the SM 79, individual component shapes suggest it should be ugly, but as a whole the proportions and combination of shapes are handsome bordering on beautiful. Go build one!

File:Vickers Wellington at Lajes - Royal Air Force Coastal Command - No. 247 Group Operations in the Azores, 1943-1945 CA143.jpg

HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide (ref: HMSO Email Reply)
More information.

This tag is designed for use where there may be a need to assert that any enhancements (eg brightness, contrast, colour-matching, sharpening) are in themselves insufficiently creative to generate a new copyright. It can be used where it is unknown whether any enhancements have been made, as well as when the enhancements are clear but insufficient. For known raw unenhanced scans you can use an appropriate <> tag instead. For usage, see Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag.

Licensing Edit

This image is in the public domain because it is a mere mechanical scan or photocopy of a public domain original, or – from the available evidence – is so similar to such a scan or photocopy that no copyright protection can be expected to arise. The original itself is in the public domain for the following reason:
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This is because it is one of the following:

  1. It is a photograph taken prior to 1 June 1957 or
  2. It was published prior to 1971 or
  3. It is an artistic work other than a photograph or engraving (e.g. a painting) which was created prior to 1971.

HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide (ref: HMSO Email Reply)
More information.

This tag is designed for use where there may be a need to assert that any enhancements (eg brightness, contrast, colour-matching, sharpening) are in themselves insufficiently creative to generate a new copyright. It can be used where it is unknown whether any enhancements have been made, as well as when the enhancements are clear but insufficient. For known raw unenhanced scans you can use an appropriate <> tag instead. For usage, see Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag.

Vickers Wellington wheel well colors question

12:51 AM - Apr 22 #1 2021-04-22T00:51

6:28 AM - Apr 22 #2 2021-04-22T06:28

12:04 PM - Apr 22 #3 2021-04-22T12:04

Why would they need to be the underside colour, as the well was enclosed in flight. The only exposed item was half of the wheel. Interior RAF Gray-Green? Black?

The inside of the gear door on this Coastal Command Wellington are clearly dark, not white. Note the aluminum gear leg. The well was a small area, of which I have not seen picture.


"No kit is unbuildable, some are just not worth building."

Vickers Wellington with Coastal Command - History

EasyEight96 Sergeant Major of the Army
Posts: 1012 Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:04 pm Location: Malaysia

Airfix 1/72 Vickers Wellington BIII

Post by EasyEight96 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:28 am

Hi guys I'll be building this kit as my next entry I'll post my inbox and progress later

EasyEight96 Sergeant Major of the Army
Posts: 1012 Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:04 pm Location: Malaysia

Re: Airfix 1/72 Vickers Wellington BIII

Post by EasyEight96 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:35 am

The longest-serving of the trio of medium bombers with which Bomber Command at the outset of World War II, the Wellington, affectionately known as the 'Wimpey' by its crews, flew on many of the defining operations until its last bombing mission over the Reich in October 1943, although a few soldiered on with specialist units within the Command until January 1945.

The Wellington can trace its origins back to 1932 when, in answer to Air Ministry Specification B9/32, Vickers proposed a twin-engined 'heavy' bomber with an empty weight of 6,500lbs. (These limits were imposed by the Ministry in light of the on-going Geneva Conference on disarmament which was seeking to eliminate 'heavy' bombers in toto.) Utilising geodetic construction, a method of 'weaving' the individual struts of the fuselage structure to provide an incredibly resilient airframe, able to absorb tremendous damage, combined with a low weight penalty.

The first aircraft took to the air some four years later in June 1936 and was, for a short time, known as the Vickers Crecy (and appeared at the 1932 Hendon Air Display as such) before the name Wellington was adopted. The prototype differed from production aircraft in carrying no defensive armament, smaller tail (from the Stranraer flying boat), was slightly smaller and more streamlined.

The first true Wellington took to the air just before Christmas 1937, less than two years after a revised Specification, B29/35, had been drawn up around the Vickers design, and the first order for 180 aircraft placed for the RAF. The aircraft now featured nose and tail turrets designed by Vickers as well as a retractable 'dustbin' under the belly of the aircraft. These were quickly deleted and the nose and tail positions refitted with turrets from Fraser Nash.

The Wellington was almost a quantum leap ahead for Bomber Command both in terms of construction, payload (some three times greater than Heyford then in service) and armament. The first squadron to receive the Wellington was No 99 based at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, in October 1938 and by September 1939 a further seven squadrons (Nos 9, 37, 38, 115, 149, 214 and 215), and all in No 3 Group, had traded their Heyfords and Hendons for Wellingtons.

The type was principally involved in day operations, and the very first full day of conflict, 4 September 1939, saw 14 Wellingtons from Nos 9 and 149 Squadrons involved in action against the German fleet at Brunsbüttel. This and subsequent daylight raids were flown against steadily increasing fighter opposition and the losses mounted. Bomber Command's thinking of that time, namely that a concentrated formation of a bombers could defend itself against enemy opposition, was shown to be folly by two raids flown in December 1939.

As a precursor to this, 24 aircraft from Nos 38, 115 and 149 Squadrons were ordered to attack German warships in the Heligoland Bight on the 3rd of the month. Cloud over the target area meant that no attacks could be carried out and no defending aircraft were encountered. Staff back at Bomber Command Headquarters believed that this meant that Wellingtons were able to successfully penetrate German defenders in daylight and ordered 12 aircraft from No 99 Squadron to attack German ships in the Schillig Roads on the 14th. Half of the aircraft involved were lost (three to flak and fighters, two collided and one crashed on landing). Then, four days later, 24 aircraft from Nos 9, 37 and 149 Squadrons were again ordered to the Schillig Roads. This time, fore-warned by radar stations, the fighters were able to intercept the formation en-route. Nine Wellingtons were shot down, three ditched into the sea and a further three were forced to seek other landing strips as they were too badly damaged to return.

Despite these losses, the Wellington was proving to be a sturdy aircraft, by far the most capable of the medium bombers in service at the time, and this was reflected in the numbers of aircraft being ordered. The Wellington's capacious bomb bay also meant that it could carry the 2,000- and subsequent 4,000lb bombs.

By October 1940, the next version of the Wellington, the Mark II, was entering service. This aircraft had two of the famous Merlin engines instead of the earlier Tiger radials, but proved less popular and it wasn't long before the Mark III, powered by Hercules radials, was introduced. The Mark IV, of which only 220 were built, followed in mid-1941 and served for about 18 months, primarily with the Polish squadrons.

Two interesting versions were then developed, the Marks V and VI. Both were intended for high-altitude operations and had a completely redesigned forward fuselage with a pressurised compartment for the crew and small bubble canopy for the pilot. Both versions had engines fitted with superchargers (Hercules' and Merlins) to provide the additional performance required to achieve the higher altitudes, but neither was flown operationally, although a pair of Wellington VIs did join No 109 Squadron for a short time.

The final Wellington version to see service with Bomber Command was the Mark X which was introduced in late 1942. Of the 3,803 built, many saw active service in the Middle and Far East as well as at home with Coastal Command.

The peak of the Wellington's service probably came in 1942, when just over half of the forces of the three 1,000-bomber raids flown in May and June was made up of Wellingtons.

But with the arrival of the four-engined heavy bombers, the Wellington's days were numbered, but the type long out-lived the other twin-engined bombers with which Britain had taken the war to Germany in the first years of World War II (Hampdens and Whitleys), and is perhaps not given the recognition it deserves as the Lancaster and Mosquito claimed the limelight in the second half of Bomber Command's war.

Over 11,000 Wellingtons were built in total, many surviving past the end of the war mainly in second-line duties with the RAF into the 1950s. Others became test aircraft for a variety of engines and armament installations with Service and civilian companies.

From: Postcard Finder (Norwich, United Kingdom)

About this Item: Condition: Fine. air8(13) Vintage original British Vickers Wellington war plane photo (I cant identify the number - notes read K4049) as sold by a vintage Liverpool military "Real Photograph" company specializing in war planes that appears to have been published shortly after the war or certainly around sixty plus years ago origin which has their official details on reverse which is a postcard postally unused but with some former owner identification notes on reverse so be aware but unposted and bar some light imperfections in outstanding condition. Seller Inventory # 57122

Watch the video: Trumpeter 148 Wellington, in Coastal Command colours. (May 2022).


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    Congratulations, you just had a great thought.

  4. Gumi

    I think the topic is very interesting. I invite everyone to take an active part in the discussion.

  5. Nezuru

    There is something in this. Got it, thanks a lot for the info.

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