The iconic WWII Lancaster on display at the Australian War Memorial has been painstakingly disassembled so it can be transferred to a new area of the building.
RAAF’s No. 460 Squadron flew ‘G for George’ almost 90 times over the skies of Germany during the height of the bomber offensive.
It has been sat in the memorial’s Anzac Hall, but that area will soon be demolished to make way for a new larger hall that will house displays being developed over the next few years.
The project to take apart the Mk I Lancaster – code AR-G, serial number W4783 – was undertaken by a team from both the Air Force History and Heritage Branch and the Australia War Memorial Collections Services over a four-week period.
It will be reassembled and placed on display at the Australian War Memorial Mitchell Annex, which will be open to the public in the later part of 2021.
The team removed panels, bomb bay doors, engines and tailplane assembly, the undercarriage components, and the wings as a whole piece, and separated the fuselage into four sections.
Defence said expertise and knowledge was passed between both teams.
Air Force Team Leader Warrant Officer Stan Lawler said, “It was an honour and a privilege to work with the Australian War Memorial team on this magnificent aircraft, and to remember all those who worked to keep G for George flying for our aircrew during the bomber offensive.”
G for George will eventually return to revamped Anzac Hall when construction and installation of the updated displays has been completed.
The aircraft has an incredible history and was flown exclusively by RAAF’s No. 460 Squadron when stationed in the UK. It was built in 1942 and retired from active service two years later, before being transferred to its current home in 1950.
The ‘Striking by night’ Lancaster exhibition is one of the most popular at the War Memorial and features a sound and light show that re-creates a night-time bombing operation over Berlin in December 1943.
The Lancaster was undoubtedly the most famous British RAF heavy bomber during WWII, with 7,374 built. Its bomb loads grew from 4,000-pound to the 22,000-pound ‘Grand Slam’. It dropped two-thirds of the total tonnage of all RAF bombs against Germany.
RAAF Nos. 460, 463 and 467 Squadrons based in Britain all flew RAF Lancasters, with many Aussies also flying the aircraft for RAF Lancaster squadrons, including the famous No. 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron.