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Lancaster Bombers In Historic Lake Flight

Lancaster Bombers in Historic Lake Flight

History will be made when the world’s last two remaining airborne Lancaster bombers take part in a dramatic flight past the Lake District Visitor Centre.

Brockhole, on the shores of Windermere, is going all out for a World War II extravaganza as it hosts a memorial to Britain’s Bomber Command veteran, Archie Johnstone, on September 7.

Sadly, the bomb aimer with Dambusters’ legendary 617 Squadron – who took out the feared Tirpitz battleship in a daring raid over Norwegian fjords in 1944 – died in April. However, his planned 100th birthday epic fly-by will continue.

Commemoration is ‘poignant and wonderful’

A policeman in Windermere before the war, Archie spent his retirement in Grange-over-Sands and loved Brockhole. His son, Robert, had organised the momentous flight as a surprise and was determined to continue in Archie’s memory.

Robert said: ‘Dad helped destroy Tirpitz, the pride of the German fleet, in an attack using Barnes Wallis’ ‘Tallboy’ bombs. The sinking took out Hitler’s naval power in northern waters.

‘By chance, Canada’s Lancaster is currently in Britain for a series of special events with our own much loved hero of the skies. Together, the two iconic aeroplanes will salute Bomber Command’s huge contribution to the outcome of the Second World War.

‘Over 55,500 of its airman lost their lives, the average age was just 22. It is particularly poignant and wonderful that the last flying Lancasters can commemorate my father’s contribution. When he died earlier this year, aged 99, he was the oldest surviving member of Bomber Command.

‘Brockhole is a very special place. Dad and I were regular visitors and both able to get to the lakeshore in our wheelchairs. It is absolutely right that this incredible event should take place there.’

‘A once in a lifetime opportunity’

Brockhole manager, Neil Manning, said it was hugely exciting and everyone was hoping for good enough weather conditions to allow the flights.

He explained: ‘The likes of this will never happen again, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see these amazing and evocative old aircraft flying.

‘We are planning a fabulous family day, encouraging people to enter into the spirit of the occasion by dressing up, eating our special wartime food, listening to great 40’s music and enjoying exhibitions and displays.

‘It’s exhilarating and exceptional and we’re determined to make the most of it. There will be a marching band, British Legion poppy picnic, children’s activities and some very atmospheric things to do and see. Precise timings for the fly-past will be announced nearer the time.’

More information

Fore more details about the National Park and the Authority’s work visit

Archie May with his war medals in 2008.
Pictures of the Dambuster’s successful mission from the BC war album vol 7 page 61.
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