Centurion Lancasters

Very few Lancasters made it to their 100th mission.

It is seem very appropriate that a photo of one of 156 Squadrons most famous aircraft has been lent by a crew member of one of the most famous crews.

Sgt John Henry Robert WATSON DFM recently came across the site and sent this photo.

Sgt Watson flew a total of 66 missions with 156 Squadron, all but one of them being with F/Lt W J Cleland DSO DFC.  Yet it seems they only flew one mission on this aircraft.


The 101 Missions flown by ND875




Karlsruhe 24/04/1944 SLADE H F
Essen 26/04/1944 BLAMEY D O
Ghislain 01/05/1944 SLADE H F
Nantes 07/05/1944 HOPTON C G
Hasselt 11/05/1944 SAMSON R H
Mont Couple 19/05/1944 SLADE H F
Duisberg 21/05/1944 SLADE H F
Dortmund 22/05/1944 GRIFFIN R F
Rennes 27/05/1944 SLADE H F
Mardyck 28/05/1944 SLADE H F
Tergnier 31/05/1944 BINGHAM-HALL T L
Longues 05/06/1944 SLADE H F
Foret de Cerisy 07/06/1944 SLADE H F
Fougeres 08/06/1944 SLADE H F
Le Mans 09/06/1944 SLADE H F
Tours 11/06/1944 SLADE H F
St Pol 14/06/1944 SLADE H F
Lens 15/06/1944 BINGHAM-HALL T L
Renescure 16/06/1944 DOYLE K P C
Coubronnes 23/06/1944 GRIFFIN H T
Mont Candon 17/07/1944 COCHRANE A W G
Sannerville 18/07/1944 COCHRANE A W G
Rollez 19/07/1944 TEMPLE V B
Foret de Croc 20/07/1944 ISON T E
Donges 23/07/1944 ISON T E
Stuttgart 24/07/1944 GRIFFIN R F
Stuttgart 25/07/1944 ISON T E
Hamburg 28/07/1944 HEMMINGS G C
Foret de Nieppes 05/08/1944 ISON T E
Cabourg 06/08/1944 ISON T E
Normandy 07/08/1944 ISON T E
Fort d'Englos 09/08/1944 KITSON K W
Somaine 11/08/1944 ISON T E
Russelsheim 12/08/1944 CLAYTON P F
Normandy 14/08/1944 ISON T E
Kiel 16/08/1944 ISON T E
Bremen 18/08/1944 ISON T E
Russelsheim 25/08/1944 CLAYTON P F
Kiel 26/08/1944 HISCOCK A J
Stettin 29/08/1944 ROLLIN N
Lumbres 31/08/1944 DOYLE K P C
Eindhoven 03/09/1944 ROLLIN N
Le Havre 05/09/1944 ISON T E
Le Havre 09/09/1944 ISON T E
Le Havre 10/09/1944 ISON T E
Gelsenkirchen 11/09/1944 ISON T E
Frankfurt 12/09/1944 CLELAND W J
Wassenar 14/09/1944 DOYLE K P C
Kiel 15/09/1944 DOYLE K P C
Boulogne 17/09/1944 DOYLE K P C
Calais Defence Area 20/09/1944 ISON T E
Undergo 25/09/1944 ISON T E
Cap Gris Nez 26/09/1944 ISON T E
Saarbrucken 05/10/1944 WILLIAMS L T R H
Kleve 07/10/1944 ISON T E
Wanne Eickel 12/10/1944 DERAMORE-DENVER I H
Duisberg 14/10/1944 WALLACE F D
Wilhelmshaven 15/10/1944 WALLACE F D
Stuttgart 19/10/1944 POPE A C
Essen 23/10/1944 PELLY A G
Essen 25/10/1944 ROLLIN N
Koln 28/10/1944 DERAMORE-DENVER I H
Walcheren 29/10/1944 PELLY A G
Oberhausen 01/11/1944 WALLACE F D
Dusseldorf 02/11/1944 WALLACE F D
Bochum 04/11/1944 JACKSON N
Duren 16/11/1944 PELLY A G
Neuss 27/11/1944 WALLACE F D
Essen 28/11/1944 WALLACE F D
Duisberg 30/11/1944 WALLACE F D
Heimbacht - Urft 03/12/1944 WALLACE F D
Karlsruhe 04/12/1944 WALLACE F D
Soest 05/12/1944 WALLACE K T
Duisberg 17/12/1944 DERAMORE-DENVER I H
Hanover 05/01/1945 WILSON M T
Munich 07/01/1945 JACKSON N
Wiesbaden 02/02/1945 COCHRANE A W G
Goch 07/02/1945 COCHRANE A W G
Wesel 17/02/1945 TODD V M H S
Dortmund 20/02/1945 HUGHES H G
Worms 21/02/1945 HUGHES H G
Mannheim 01/03/1945 PAULL I G
Chemnitz 05/03/1945 PAULL I G
Dessau 07/03/1945 TAYLOR W J
Hamburg 08/03/1945 MASON W E B
Dortmund 12/03/1945 PAULL I G
Gelsenkirchen 13/03/1945 TAYLOR W J
Homburg 14/03/1945 TAYLOR W J
Misburg 15/03/1945 PAULL I G
Nurnburg 16/03/1945 TAYLOR W J
Hannau 18/03/1945 MASON W E B
Heide 20/03/1945 HUGHES H G
Hildesheim 22/03/1945 HUGHES H G
Harpenwerg 24/03/1945 CLAYTON P F
Hamburg 31/03/1945 HUGHES H G
Lutzkendorf 04/04/1945 HUGHES H G
Hamburg 08/04/1945 HUGHES H G
Kiel 09/04/1945 HUGHES H G
Leipzig 10/04/1945 LIGHT C E
Nurnburg 11/04/1945 HUGHES H G
Kiel 13/04/1945 HUGHES H G

Claims to Fame - The Lancaster by Norman Franks (ISBN 1-85409-311-8) 

One cannot say with any real accuracy just how many Lancasters flew on operations but it had to be around 6500. Yet of this supposed total, only 34 - a mere 1.9 per cent - managed to complete 100 or more ops. The highest number of operations completed by a Lancaster was a miraculous 140 . 

ND875 - NUTS 

Part of aircraft order No 1807, this Avro-built machine came off the production line in early 1944 as a MKIII, having 4 Merlin 38 engines. After going to No 32 MU on 9 April it was assigned to No 7 Squadron PFF on the 14th , but a week later was re-assigned to No 156 Squadron PFF  at Upwood, Huntingdonshire and coded GT-N. 

ND875 began ops on 24/25 April with a raid to Karlsruhe in the hands of Squadron Leader H. F. Slade DFC, who had with him that night the Squadron Navigation Leader, Squadron Leader A. J. Mulligan DFC (Mulligan was to receive the DSO that summer). Herbert Frank Slade flew the aircraft on 12 sorties before becoming tour-expired at the end of July, having completed a total of 58 ops with the Squadron, for which he received an immediate DSO. ND875 was also flown by the CO, Wing Commander T. L. Bingham-Hall DSO DFC, who had come to the Squadron in the same month as this aircraft. 

Among other notable pilots to fly ND875 were Squadron Leader A.W.G. Cochrane, who would end the war with the DSO DFC and two Bars, Squadron Leader T.E. Ison DSO, DFC, Squadron Leader P.F. Clayton DFC, who arrived from No 582 Squadron in August 1944, and Squadron Leader Reg F Griffin DSO, DFC. Cochrane had already flown a tour on Wellingtons and by February 1945 had himself completed 80 operations. He flew at least 14 of these as either Master or Deputy Master Bomber. 

ND875 flew on D-Day, was shot-up by a night fighter on 23 June which knocked-out the port outer engine (becoming Cat AC), then flew over Caen when the Allied outbreak started. On 7 October, Thomas Ison flew a 'Long Stop' mission to Cleve, his duty being to ensure bombers did not overshoot the bomb-line and drop their loads onto Allied troops in the Nijmegen Salient. 

In total, Ison took ND875 on 17 trips, and Cochrane four - including one during which, acting as Master Bomber over Goch on 7/8 February 1945, they collided with another aircraft. Although the Lanc lost a chunk of its port wing, Cochrane continued to direct the bombing and stayed over the target until all had bombed. 

Its 100th op was recorded as being flow on 24 March 1945 with Squadron Leader Clayton in command, on another 'Long Stop' sortie for a raid against a  Benzol plant near Dortmund. ND875 was credited with a total of 108 raids, although not all can be verified, but the aircraft certainly flew over 100 ops. 

ND875 went to No 1660 CU on 26 July, then to No 1668 CU on 20 October, where the aircraft remained until March 1946, when it returned to No 1660 CU. Its final service was with no 1653 CU with effect from 9 November 1946 and then the Lanc went to No 15 MU on 9 May 1947 where it was Struck off Charge  on 28 August.