HISTORY OF "G" FOR GEORGE
Most of the following information is from a book called
"Lancaster, The Story of a Famous Bomber" by Bruce Robertson
Published 1964 by Harleyford Publications Ltd UK

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visits since 4 February 2003

 

W4783 was delivered to No. 460 (R.A.A.F) Squadron on 27 October 1942, where it became "G" for George.  It went on the first of its ninety operations on the night of December 5/6th, 1942 to Mannheim.  During its sixteen months of operations, it was flown by 29 different pilots and taking into account the various crews, some 200 different men, mostly Australians, flew in this Lancaster during its 664 flying hours with the Squadron.  Several crews completed their tours on this machine.  Its first pilot was Flight Sergeant J.A. Saint Smith and alongside the bomb insignia to signify each bombing sortie appeared a Leslie Charteris "Saint" insignia.  On the night of January 13/17th George operated against Berlin taking a war correspondent as passenger, and returned with 13 flak holes for him to write about!

George first operated from Breighton, until June 4th, 1943 when the squadron moved by air to Binbrook.  The ground crews and equipment were moved in Horsa gliders while the aircrew flew in their Lancasters.

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The Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, during his visit to Britain, inspected several R.A.A.F. squadrons, and also met Australians serving with the R.A.F.  He is seen talking with Flt. Sgt. Harry Tickle, the ground staff engineer responsible for the maintenance of the famous Lancaster bomber "G" for George, which had Australian pilots on most of its 90 missions over Germany and was later flown to Australia for housing in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Pictorial History of Australia at War 1939-45 by Charles Meeking, Volume IV

Some unusual incidents occurred on the night of October 22/23 in an electrical storm on the way both to and from the target - Kassel.  Balls of fire, other than German pyrotechnics, were observed and blue flames of St. Elmo's fire appeared to dance on the propellers.  Worst of all, a lump of ice hurtled through the Perspex side window and struck the flight engineer on the head, causing minor injuries.

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The old war horse "G" for George with its crew at the time, P-O CHERRY CARTER, the Pilot standing in the middle, with Sgt. HARRY TICKLE (fourth from the left) who was responsible for the bomber's maintenance, and its ground crew.

Strike and Return by Peter Firkins

In the air "G" for George was damaged over twenty times by enemy action and once when on the last day of August 1943, over Munchen Gladbach, and incendiary dropped from another bomber in No. 460 Squadron's Lancaster catastrophe already related.   On April 22nd, 1944, after its 90th and last operation the previous day, it was officially retired from operations.

This was the aircraft that was presented to Australia in mid-1944 for display in the War Museum at Canberra.  It was extensively overhauled for its flight and the unit letters AR-G disappeared but the bomb silhouettes remained together with a small "G" on the nose.

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W4783 is visited by Mr. Curtin, the Australian Prime Minister, when it was serving in No. 460 Squadron, with which it went on 90 operational flights.

"Lancaster, The Story of a Famous Bomber" by Bruce Robertson

The crew as:-

Captain Flt. Lt. E.A. Hudson, D.F.C. & Bar of Rockhampton
Second Pilot Flg. Off. F.P. Smith, D.F.C., of Newcastle
Navigator Flg. Off. W.C. Gordon, D.F.C., of Raleigh
Bomb Aimer Flg. Off. T.V. McCarthy, D.F.C. & Bar, of Brisbane
W. Op./Air Gunner Flg. Off. G.H. Tindale, D.F.M., of Cremorne
W. Op./Air Gunner Flg. Off Young, D.F.M., of Matraville
Fitter Flt. Sgt. H. Tickle, of Adelaide
Fitter Sgt. K.A. Ower, of Telamon

"G" for George left Prestwick on 11 October 1944.  A message before take-off was received from H.R.H The Duke of Gloucester, the Governor General Designate of Australia, who sent a good-will message wishing them a safe voyage and hoping that George would be joined by many Australia-built Lancasters.

George finally reached Australia at 11:32 a.m. on 8 November 1944 when it landed at R.A.A.F. Station Amberley, to the west of Brisbane.


Poster Via Ian Jenkins

The aircraft was required for a tour in the south, but a request by Mr. S.G. Hudson of Rockhampton was first granted and after taking off on the 10th and circling Brisbane, "G" for George landed at Rockhampton at 3 p.m. after twice circling that town.  The crowd cheered as the aircraft's captain stepped out to be greeted by his father and family from whom he had been parted for over four years.  The crew were feted and "G" for George was put on show.  It was still touring in April 1945 when it visited Rockhampton again in company with Beaufort A9-580 in connection with the Third Victory Loan.

The  '3rd Victory Loan' tour in which Lancaster "G" for George took part, ran from 13 March to 27 April 1945. The poster on the left was a Shell Company of Australia Ltd advertisement in the "Electrical and Engineering Review" magazine, Vol. IV, No.12, dated March 1945. The illustration of the four-engined aircraft at the top resembles a Lancaster, which could only have been "G" for George

On 6 April 1945, "G" for George flew in formation over Brisbane with nine Beaufighters of 93 Squadron, six Liberators, nine Mustangs, three Kittyhawks, and one Boston as part of the "Victory Loan" campaign.  93 Squadron had earned the nickname the "Victory Loan" Squadron buy raising over 8,000 Pounds towards the Victory Loan fund.

 

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"G" for George W4783, the Lancaster now preserved for the Australian War Museum, at Archerfield Airfield, Brisbane, Queensland, during a wartime Loans Rally.

"Lancaster, The Story of a Famous Bomber" by Bruce Robertson

By July 1945 "G" for George had become surplus and was parked out in the open, but when the Netherlands East Indies aircraft moved from Canberra in late August 1945 and made space available, it was stored at Station Headquarters earmarked for the Australian War Museum.  Meanwhile the original Queenie was at No. 7 O.T.U East Sale for synthetic training pending the introduction of Lincolns.  In February, 1946, it was transferred to Tocumwal, New South Wales and the following November was converted to Instructional airframe No. 1.  Queenie was broken up in mid-1948, leaving "G" for George the sole Lancaster survivor in Australia - until recently.

 

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Bernie Forrest's experiences in assembling
"G" for George in the AWM in May 1955

 

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This page first produced 12 April 1998

This page last updated 23 August 2009