|Thumper and Vera, The Last Canadian and English Lancasters Flying|
|Night Flight - Photo Chris Lord|
The Lancaster flew for the first time on January 9,1941 as a four-engined development of the Avro Manchester. The RAF began to equip with Mk Is in early 1942, and used them first on March 10th against targets in Essen. Altogether, more than 7,300 Lancasters were produced in Britain as Mks I to VII and Canada as Mk Xs, and they dropped more than 608,000 tons of bombs on 156,000 wartime missions. Some Lancasters were still flying with the RAF in the early 1950s as maritime-reconnaissance, photo-reconnaissance and rescue aircraft.