A RARE chance to tour the only surviving aircraft of No 460 Squadron RAAF Bomber Command from WWII was offered to Air Force No. 460 Squadron on February 14.
The opportunity to climb inside was one CPL Laura Pearson wasn’t going to pass up.
“It’s not every day you get in a plane that flew during WWII and belongs to the history of the squadron you work at,” she said.
“There’s more space than I thought there’d be, except up front where you almost fold in half to get through.
“The pilots and bomb aimers who were doing this every mission - whilst flying, dropping bombs, and getting attacked were incredible.”
The restored Avro Lancaster Mk I Bomber AR-G, affectionately known as “G for George”, is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The aircraft flew 90 bombing missions over Europe from 1942-44, with the longest lasting 10 hours.
CPL Pearson also had a personal link to “G for George.”
“My honorary Uncle Don, who helped raised my sisters and I, piloted Lancasters in Bomber Command,” she said.
“It was kind of unique to be a part of his history when I posted to 460SQN.”
Commanding Officer of 460SQN, WGCDR Andrew Hoffmann said the aircraft, which was primarily crewed by Australians was an iconic part of their heritage.
“George is a slice of aviation and bombing history that we can still access,” he said.
“While the current 460SQN no longer flies aircraft, we still aim the bombs.”
460SQN host a formal dinner underneath G for George each year and maintain close ties with remaining veterans, families and friends.
“It’s an excellent evening, seeing the bonds and friendships that have grown between the members and our forebears and their families,” WGCDR Hoffmann said.
As well as the annual unit photo, 460SQN holds its command handover ceremony at the aircraft.
“Taking command of any unit is a privilege, but taking command of a unit with such a depth of wartime history was really special,” WGCDR Hoffmann said.
“The role we have in Air Force is a very important one, just as it was back in WWII and we take it very, very seriously.”