G for George
G for George is an Avro Lancaster Mk. I bomber, squadron code AR-G and serial number W4783, operated by No. 460 Squadron RAAF during World War II. It is now preserved at the Australian War Memorial (AWM), Canberra, Australia.
G-George flew 90 combat missions over occupied Europe with 460 Squadron, and is the second most prolific surviving Lancaster, behind R5868 S for Sugar of No. 83 Squadron RAF/No. 463 Squadron RAAF/No. 467 Squadron RAAF (137 sorties). Most operational Lancasters were shot down before they had reached 20 sorties: of the 107,085 sorties by Lancasters despatched in bombing raids on Germany 2687 aircraft went missing G-George has the added distinction of bringing home, alive, every crewman who flew aboard it.
Upon retirement from combat duty in 1944, G-George was flown to Australia by an all-RAAF crew of Bomber Command veterans, and played a major part in raising war bonds during a round-Australia publicity trip. Post war, it was left to decay in the open air at RAAF Base Fairbairn, before being moved to the AWM in the early 1950s.
In 2003, G-George returned to display at the AWM in the new ANZAC Hall after a five-year restoration program, which restored the aircraft as faithfully as possible to its wartime configuration. It is displayed in conjunction with a sound and light show that attempts to convey something of the atmosphere of a World War II Bomber Command raid, and incorporates a German '88' flak gun and a Bf-109 fighter. The display is based on a sortie captained by Flying Officer "Cherry" Carter to Berlin on "Black Thursday" December 1943, so called because Bomber Command lost 50 of the 500 bombers detailed for the raid - more than half were lost in landing accidents due to bad weather.
G-George serves as a memorial to all Australians who flew with Bomber Command, and to the 1,018 dead of 460 Squadron.
- RAF Museum, Hendon - home to Lancaster "S for Sugar"
- Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 2nd edition 1976. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
- Nelmes, Michael V. and Ian Jenkins. G-for-George: A Memorial to RAAF Bomber Crews, 1939-45. Maryborough, Queensland, Australia: Banner Books, 2000. ISBN 1-875593-21-7.
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