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Thread: 149 Squadron Flight refuelling

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    Default 149 Squadron Flight refuelling

    Hi Folks,

    Desperate for information and a picture of one of the two 149 Sqn Lancasters moddified for flight refuelling training.
    They called them 'Saddleback Lancs' and they were supposed to go with Tiger Force for air to air refueling. Subsequently scrubbed as a bad idea. I think there were just two of them.

    Many Thanks

    Alan F

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    Hi Alan

    According to Warpaint 89 - Avro Lancaster - the saddle tank aircraft were developed instead of using IFR. The IFR tanker aircraft had tanks fitted in the bomb bay not above the fuselage.

    There are two photographs of this conversion in the publication but not allocated to 149 SQn.

    Malcolm

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    Thanks, Malcolm. I have found a picture of one of the aircraft .... and it is not sporting 149's codings. In fact it has no codings at all! My question was caused by researching a Pilot in 1943-47 who was trained as a Flt Eng at St Athan as there were too many pilots and then trained as a Flight refuelling Operator whilst on 149's strength.

    Again, thank you.

    Alan

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    "Strong by Night" by John Johnston and Nick carter, makes no mention of these Lancs Alan. That said, I've seen something about them somewhere in one of my books - I'll have a look later on when I've got the kids sorted :)
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Page 113 of "Avro Lancaster" by Ken Delve has a photo of a saddle tank-fitted Lanc, but no squadron codes are applied, although it is in RAF markings as opposed to civvie markings. The serial number is not discernable either.

    Page 123 of "The Lancaster Story" by Peter Jacobs shows saddle tank Lanc SW244 in flight, with a caption suggesting it was one of two Lancs such-fitted. Reference to "The Lancaster File" (pub: Air-Britain) shows that it was on the strength of the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment and converted to 'far East' spec.

    Hope that adds a little for you.
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Reading the narative in Peter Jacobs Book, Lancaster HK541 was the other saddle tank Lanc, serving variously with 300, 75, and 115 Squadrons, No.3 Lancaster Finishing School, 1651 HCU, and the AAEE, before being struck off charge 3-1-47. No 149 Squadron connection for either of them I'm afraid buddy, although HK541 seems to have spent a fair amount of time with 3 Group.

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    The two saddle tank Lancasters, HK541 and SW244, were not, as noted above, intended for in-flight refuelling. The idea was to extend range. They were flown to India for 1577 Flight but handling characteristics were poor and the idea abandoned.
    (LANCASTER - THE STORY OF A FAMOUS BOMBER - Robertson)

    Ian Macdonald

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    Thanks gentlemen, for the replies. The story I am researching was a No 5 BFTS trained pilot who got back to the UK in May 1944. He seems to have hit the period when there were too many pilots and spent a fair bit of time on re-grading, AHUs and at No7 PRC. It was whilst with 149 Sqn,who were equiping with Lancaster I (FE) [Far East] aircraft that he was trained as a flight engineer at RAF St Athan and with the BDU (Bomber Developement Unit) at RAF Feltwell for the duties given as 'Flight refuelling'. He actually arrived at 149 just after hostilities had ceased. It is a fascinating story.
    Thanks for the interest Greg :)

    Alan F

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    By the way, in flight refuelling with Lancasters was carried out later, with some sucess.

    ALan F

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