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Recently, I made a surprising discovery. In a book about aircraft, under the section on “Bombers”, sub-section “Lancaster”, was a statement that the last operational flight of a Lancaster was by an aircraft from 37 Sqn, Malta, to the UK, airframe No. RF 273, March 1954. That number rang a little bell, and I found from my flying log book, that I was one of the crew of this aircraft. In fact, they had the date wrong; it was 6 Aug 1953 when, after flying a brand new Shackleton from Benson to Luqa, we were left to fly back in the tattiest, worn out Lancaster you ever saw! The engines worked and the wings didn’t fall off, but an hour out en route home to Benson, the top escape hatch, behind the canopy, blew out, creating a lot of noise and a fair draught! Brave chaps as we were we kept going for another 6 hours to land safely, somewhat chilled, at Benson.


John Halton.


F/Lt John Halton served in the RAF for twelve years, as a navigator. He flew in 26 types of aircraft, mostly Meteors, Hastings, Brigands and Canberras.

He never actually flew from Witchford, his nearest posting being Waterbeach. ...

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