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Post Info TOPIC: Lancaster W4310 query

Lancaster W4310 query

Firstly let me give you four extracts from the 460 Sqdn Operations Record Book:


3/4/43 Lancaster W4310 F. S/L Speake DFC on operation to Essen. Time down 2149 hrs.

3/4/43 Lancaster W4210 C bar. F/O K Moore DFC on operation to Essen.  Time down 0027 hrs.


4/4/43 Lancaster W4310 F. P/O Hudson DFC on operation to Kiel. Time down 0203 hrs.

4/4/43 Lancaster W4310 C bar. F/O K Moore DFC on operation to Kiel. Failed to return.


This looks like a simple case of a wrong serial number for F/O Moores aircraft on 4/4/43, so if you substitute W4210 for W4310 on that operation, all appears well.  But it isnt, as W4210 is not a valid serial number!


Chorley records the loss of W4310 on 4/4/43, but as UV-C bar, yet its recorded as coming back with P/O Hudson as UV-F from that operation, although it doesnt appear subsequently with 460 Sqdn or any other unit as far as I can tell.


The Aircraft Movement Card for W4310 doesnt help at all, as it records W4310 as Cat E (Missing) on 30/3/43, five days beforehand and on a date when no 460 Sqdn losses are recorded!


If we accept that F/O Moore and crew were lost with W4310 UV-C bar, then which aircraft had become UV-F?  All through January and February 1943, this was W4310.


Has anybody got logbooks or any other documents that might throw some light on this, or any ideas?  Im baffled!






Group Captain

Status: Offline
Posts: 164

Hi Allan, I have a book titled "Lancaster the Story of a Famous Bomber" in this book is a listing of ALL Lancasters that were ever built and in most cases a notation as to what happened to them. With regards to your W4210 you're right it doesn't exist, the serial numbers jump from W4201 to W4230, why they do not run in sequence I have no idea. regarding W4310 my book records it as coming to 460 Sqdn. Oct 1942 and was reported MISSING Apr. 04/1943 - Target - Keil. As in cases proven, errors can and have been made in the Operations Record Books I found a number of them in the O.R.B. for 431 Sqdn. sometimes TWO aircraft with the same serial No. and the same Sqdn. letter codes but with different crews on the same Operation. So the error could be traced back to a typo in the O.R.B. for 460 Sqdn. it might prove to be wrong but a good place to start (I think). Good luck.
PS  If you still have access to the 460 O.R.B. you might go back to that time frame and see what aircraft was coded UV-F prior to 4310 being reported missing. I'm assuming your O.R.B. also includes the serial No's against each aircraft Sqdn. code as in the O.R.B. for 431 Sqdn. ie KB860 SE-F etc.


Bill Heron

Aircraftsman 1st Class

Status: Offline
Posts: 3

Hi, Bill

Thanks for your interest in my query.

I too have Bruce Robertsons book on the Lancaster. In fact my wife bought it for me back in 1964 or thereabouts, and now its a well-thumbed work of reference. Surprisingly, most of what it contains still holds good, even after the release of many documents subsequent to its publication.

The reason for the non-allocation of W4210 is fairly simple security. Groups of numbers of various sizes were omitted in order that the enemy couldnt deduce the number of aircraft on a contract from just a few shot down or captured examples. To digress just a little, apparently the aircraft bought in the USA, those on Lend-Lease and the Canadian-built aircraft werent subject to the these blackout blocks because it was thought that there plenty of Nazi sympathisers in North America who could discover the real extent of aircraft purchases anyway.

The 460 Sqdn O.R.B. is full of errors such as you describe, another favourite being to continue reporting an aircraft by serial number long after it had been lost.

This is what I believe has happened in this case: W4310, as UV-F, was taken off operations (for servicing/repair?) sometime after 21/2/43. W4942 was delivered to the squadron on 25/3/43 and marked with vacant code letters, UV-F. Sometime shortly before 3/4/43, W4310 re-emerged, now painted as UV-C bar. Then they both flew on the same two operations, W4942 being mis-recorded in the O.R.B as W4310/UV-F. W4310 was mis-recorded as W4210/UV-C bar and then correctly when lost as W4310/UV-C bar.

Its a theory, nothing more than that, and thats why I was hoping that there might be a logbook around that might support, or disprove it.

Incidentally, Bill, the O.R.B. for 460 Sqdn is available to one and all, in digitised form from the Australian National Archive. Likewise the Books for 463 and 467 Sqdns. I did make tentative enquiries at our own National Archive at Kew last time I visited about the possibility of digitising the UK-held O.R.B.s and was advised, politely of course, that this would not be happening!

Thanks again for your interest.



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