Tony Hooper



This radio control scale model of the Avro Lancaster was built by Tony Hooper MBE, CAA Liaison Officer of the UK Large Model Association and shown at the 2018 Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition. The Lancaster spans 18', and is powered by four 38cc petrol engines. It has a retracting undercarriage, flaps and lights; there are 14 servos which control the model. It has completed more than 150 flights in its first six years.

The model is an exact replica of Lancaster W4783 which was delivered to No. 460 (R.A.A.F) Squadron on 27 October 1942, where it became ‘G’ for George.

George first operated from RAF Breighton, an airfield just north of the River Humber in Yorkshire and it went on the first of its 90 operations on the night of December 5/6, 1942, to Mannheim. On June 4, 1943, the squadron moved by air to RAF Binbrook. 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. The Lancaster flew 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. Later during the war he was awarded a DFC and DCM but was killed in action on 29 June 1944.

The red ‘stripes’ on the other bomb insignia depict the sorties flown to support the Russian offensive. These raids were nicknamed ‘bombs for Joe’ - Joe being Joe Stalin the Russian dictator. The last of these operations shows the Soviet hammer and sickle insignia. The aircraft was damaged more than 20 times by enemy action and on one occasion during the last day of August 1943, over Mönchengladbach, an incendiary dropped from another bomber onto No. 460 Squadron's Lancaster caused considerable damage.

The remarkable thing about G for George is that no crew lost their lives while flying on missions with it. On April 22nd, 1944, after its 89th and last operation it was officially retired from operations.

The aircraft was overhauled then flown to Australia on 11 October 1944 via the USA and the Pacific Ocean - it arrived in Melbourne, Australia on 8 November 1944. It then flew around Australia raising ‘war bonds’ money. It is now on display in the War Museum in Canberra.

Formal portrait of members of No. 460 Squadron RAAF, commanded by Wing Commander C. E. Martin, in front of and lined up on the wing of Lancaster Bomber 'G for George'.