Vickers Wellington Aircraft WW2 Book on sale at the Legion

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Vickers Wellington Aircraft

The Vickers Wellington was the most numerous British bomber of the Second World War. It was also the only British bomber to serve in that role from 1939 until 1945, and remained a front line aircraft with Bomber Command until 1943, a year after its contemporaries, the Handley Page Hampden and Armstrong Whitworth Whitley had been withdrawn.

The Wellington was the brainchild of Barnes Wallis, most famous for the bouncing bomb of dam buster’s fame. After a long period spent working for Vickers on airships, Wallis had moved to the design of aircraft. His main early contribution to the field was the invention of the geodetic method of aircraft production. In this system the aircraft fuselage was made of a light weight grid of relatively simple parts that combined to produce strong, light, flexible aircraft. The “basket weave” structure of the aircraft would then be covered with a layer of cloth.

The first aircraft produced for the RAF using this system was the Vickers Wellesley. This was a single engined bomber, designed to a specification issued in 1931. The first prototype flew in 1935, and the type entered service in early 1937. Tests on the Wellesley had proved the strength of the geodetic construction method.