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Allied and Soviet Air Forces Please use this forum to discuss the Air Forces of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.

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Old 25th March 2016, 20:44
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knusel knusel is offline
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most Lancaster missions

Good evening,

who has logged the most Avro Lancaster combat missions ?
Gibson, Cheshire or another guy ?

Michael
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Old 26th March 2016, 11:43
ian hunt ian hunt is offline
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Re: most Lancaster missions

An interesting question.
Not necessarily either of those. While they both clocked up a large number of ops, Gibson flew some of them in Beaufighters and Mosquitos, Cheshire used Mossies and even a Mustang, I think. Other 'high-totallers' (ops flown) like Cranswick had been operational for so long that his a/c went back to Wellingtons.
So maybe the answer won't be as straightforward as we expect, and the actual answer might be a surprise.
Ian
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Old 29th March 2016, 13:28
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knusel knusel is offline
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Re: most Lancaster missions

Gibson started in Hampdens and flew at least 175 missions.
Cheshire started in Whitleys and flew at least 103 missions.

But how many in of these in Lancasters...?

Cheers,

Michael
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Old 20th March 2017, 09:40
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Re: most Lancaster missions

...from David Fell I learned about an intresting candidate:
Florent Van Rolleghem flew his 70 operations from April 43 to Oct 44 and those were all on Lancasters.
Has anybody flown more Lancaster missions ?

Cheers

Michael
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Old 24th March 2017, 08:45
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Re: most Lancaster missions

...David Fell also told me that Van Rolleghem was an excellent pilot and determined man. He got a DSO and DFC but should have got more but he was not a man who wanted rewards for doing his job. He was a very modest man and was very well liked and much respected by his crews.
Can anybody confirm he holds the record for the most Lancaster missions ?

Cheers,

Michael
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Old 24th March 2017, 14:32
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: most Lancaster missions

Another possible for the record: Charles Peter Craufurd de Wesselow. He was the Master Bomber for the Dresden Raid on 13/14 February 1945, and was at the time flying his 3rd tour, it was his 72nd operation according to the book "Bomber Command Reflections of War: Armageddon: September 27th 1944 - May 1945", by Martin Bowman.

I have it in the ORB of 97 Sqn, flying first as a Flg Off on 3-4 September 1943. He was awarded the DFC in December 1943 and flew 32 nights with the squadron (according to a quick search in a Word version of the ORB I have, but I don't know how much of these were early turn-backs not counting). In April 1944 he went to HQ 8 (Pathfinder) Group. During the summer he was flying with 635 Sqn.

In September 1943 he had a rank of Flg Off and apparently no medal, so it probably was his first turn, but I have no proof of it. Especially he flew no op as a 2nd pilot but started directly as a first.

EXCEPT that just before September 1943, the ORB as a Plt Off, then Flg Off G de Wesselow arriving from 1661 CU on 23 June 1943 flying 13 times between 28-29 June 1943 and 31 August-1 September 1943.

Except the initials all details are the same for "both" men, so my guess is that it is the same guy, who then took off for 45 operations (a check of the ORB will allow to know how much reached Europe).

During this periode, 97 Sqn flew Lancaster, so this guy probably flew all ops in Lancaster, and if he was flying his 72nd in February 1945 he probably flew more before the end of the war.

So no proof, but if someone can provide more details on this guy, he may be ahead of Florent Van Rolleghem.

Best regards
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Old 26th March 2017, 21:21
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Re: most Lancaster missions

Hello Laurent,

thanks for your intresting post.
Van Rolleghem and de Wesselow do not sound very British.
Are they Dutch/Belgian ?

Have a nice Sunday evening,

Michael
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