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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

This week another rather undervalued and overlooked aircraft has come to our attention. It was manufactured by Vickers-Armstrong in the nineteen thirties and named the Wellesley medium bomber. Inspired by Barnes Wallace this was the first plane to be built using the geodetic construction method devised by him. Barnes Wallace is most often associated with the Lancaster bomber and the ‘bouncing’ bomb featured in ‘The Dam Busters’ film. The geodetic method of construction is perhaps best known as used in the Wellington bomber.

Showing damaged wing revealing geodetic

Apart from their contribution to the war effort in the early part of WWII, this plane created a record which it still holds today. Early in November 1938 to demonstrate the Wellesley’s capabilities, three aircraft left Ismailia, Egypt for Darwin Australia a distance of 7162 miles. This was flown non-stop, and took two days, setting a world distance record for a single piston engined plane.

Brief specifications.

Crew of three. Pilot, Bomb-aimer, Rear gunner

Speed. Maximum 228mph. Cruise 180.

Armament Vickers machine guns

Bomb load Max 2000lb.


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