Last of the line



Last of the line


Top - newspaper cutting 'Last of the line' showing top a picture of airborne Lancaster and below a photograph of a Lancaster with large crowd of spectators. Writes that last flying example of Lancaster had been saved. The French Air Force agreed to sign over aircraft to British Historic Aircraft Preservation Society if they could fly it back from Australia. Target was £11,000 for flight back, which took 66 hours over three weeks and 14,000 gallons of petrol. Wing Commander John Nicholls (who flew 85 Lancaster operations) was in the cockpit. Aircraft landed at Biggin Hill. Annotated with handwritten date '14/5/65'.

Bottom left - newspaper cutting 'Call-up for air gunners'. Call for Essex airmen who were air gunners to take part in remembrance service at St Clement Danes in London. Quotes Arthur Pearce of Billericay, the vice-chairman of the Air Gunners' Association.



Temporal Coverage



Two newspaper cutting mounted on an album page


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[inserted] 14/5/65. [/inserted]
Last of the line
THEY stood very quiet and searched the sky over a Kent airfield last night. Just like 22 years ago when, too often, the aircraft they waited for never returned.
But at a lumbering 200 knots – an eighth of the speed of today’s jet bombers – Britain’s last Lancaster made its final “home run.”
The last flying example of the plane that won the war for Britain had been saved.
The lancs brought men safely home from more than 150,000 sorties over Germany. And from all parts of the world they remembered when they heard that the French Air Force had agreed to sign the last of the line over to the British Historic Aircraft Preservation Society. If they could get her back – from Australia.
The target was £11,000 for the flight, which took 66 hours over three weeks and 14,000 gallons of petrol.
Yesterday’s homecomer was Lancaster number 7,366. They call her “The Rhapsody in Rivets.”
Wing Commander John Nicholls, who flew 85 Lanc missions to Germany, was in the cockpit. At the end of his 85th mission he met a girl from Ipswich called Jean. And last night she was on the tarmac at Biggin Hill, Kent, to greet him.
The Lancaster, which will be carefully preserved in an air museum, will be the showpiece of the Evening News Air Fair and Flying Display, which will last until Sunday.

Call-up for air gunners
ESSEX airmen who took on Nazi Germany’s night fighter aces are in demand again.
The 700-strong Air Gunners’ Association has organised a remembrance service at the RAF church of St. Clement Danes in London’s Strand.
And the association want the aerial marksmen from Essex to take part.
Association vice-chairman Arthur Pearce, of Perry Street, Billericay, said: “We’ve already had quite a few air gunners come forward, but we are also inviting the next of kin of airmen who were killed.
Mr. Pearce, who flew in Lancasters of the Pathfinder force between 1943 and 1945, said the service was scheduled for Sunday, October 3.


“Last of the line,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 29, 2023,

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