Home Articles Aircraft Database UK Aviation Sites Flying Experiences
Home  -  Aircraft Database  -  British Aircraft  -  Avro Manchester

Avro Manchester

 Jump to: Variants : Photos : On Display

The twin-engined Manchester had a short operational life with the Royal Air Force, spending just 16 months in service. This was in part due to the unreliability of its Rolls-Royce Vulture engines. It was to be from the ashes of the Avro Manchester project that the famous Lancaster bomber would emerge from.

Quick Facts
Sorry, no image available
First flight
25th July 1939
Entered service
November 1940
Total built
202

Front view
Sorry, no view photo available
Side view
Sorry, no view photo available
Rear view
Sorry, no view photo available

With the release of the Rolls-Royce Vulture 24-cylinder engine the Air Ministry issued Specification P.13/36 for a twin-engined medium bomber which would use the new engine. Avro, who already had a design in the works before the specification was issued, were to compete with a Handley Page design, before they withdrew to focus efforts on their four-engined bomber the Halifax. So with only Avro's design available a prototype was ordered and two were produced with the first flying on the 25th July 1939 with the second flying ten months later on the 26th May 1940. Although before either of these two prototypes flew an order for 200 Manchesters had been placed, although these were to meet a different specification of 19/37 on 1st July 1937, with another 200 ordered later. In any case the design had been ordered straight of the drawing board with the usual process skipped due to the expectation of war breaking out and the Royal Air Force was undergoing expansion.

After undergoing flight trials it was decided to increase the wing span of the Manchester by a further ten feet and to add a central fin on top of the twin fins and rudder, these would be classed as Mk Is. However after a number of Mk Is had been delivered the Mk IA appeared and this had it's central fin removed and the area of it's twin fins increased. The prototype and first two production Manchesters were then sent to Boscombe Down where the Aircraft and Armament Experiment Establishment would perform test whilst the second Avro Manchester prototype would end up at Farnborough and the Royal Aircraft Establishment.

The first squadron to receive deliveries of the Avro Manchester was No. 207 Squadron which reformed on the 1st November 1940 at Waddington. Three months later on the night of 24/25th February 1941 six Manchesters of 207 Squadron undertook the types first operational mission with an attack on the French port of Brest. As Manchesters rolled of the production line they would equip more Bomber Command squadrons, including Nos. 49, 50, 57, 61, 83, 97, 106, 408 and 420, and Coastal Command also received a few Manchesters enabling 144 Squadron to form a single flight.

A Mk II version had been planned with either Bristol Centaurus or Napier Sabre engines replacing the Rolls-Royce Vulture engines ultimately none would ever be built. This was due to the unreliability of the Vulture engines as well as the fact they could not reach the performance they had been designed to achieve and as a result the Manchester project was doomed to fail, a similar fate would also befall the Vickers Warwick, this would be compounded by the Avro Manchester airframe having a number of defects and so would be removed from service. So on the night of 25/26th June 1942 the Avro Manchester performed its last operational mission against Bremen.

Out of the ashes of the Manchester project a future legend was born for on the 9th January 1941 a four-engined Avro Manchester flew for the first time and this plane would go on to be the Avro Lancaster one of, if not, the finest Royal Air Force bomber of the Second World War.

A total of 202 Manchesters were built, flying 1,269 sorties with one Victoria Cross being awarded posthumously to Flying Officer Leslie Thomas Manser when on the 30th May 1942 his aircraft suffered numerous hits and with a wounded rear gunner he kept the plane flying and after the crew bailed out the Avro Manchester crashed with Flying Officer Manser still aboard.



Variants

Click on the aeroplane image to view a larger version.

Max Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
Manchester Mk I 265 mph 1,630 miles 19,200 ft eight 0.303-in machine-guns
10,350lb bombs
Manchester Mk II A planned version to be powered by either the Bristol Centaurus or Napier Sabre engine, although none were built.
Manchester Mk III Ended up becoming the Avro Lancaster.



Photos


Sorry, we have no photos of this aircraft



On Display

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

Variant Location
No known examples currently on public display in the UK.

Back to British aircraft

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on twitter Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our YouTube channel












     Fairey Gannet
     Avro Shackleton
     Bristol Blenheim
     Vickers Warwick
     Kawasaki Ki-100



Comments or Suggestions?






Back to the top