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'Forgotten' Bomber

By patspeirs  
Short Stirling

‘Forgotten Bomber’

The first, and only, originally designed four engined heavy bomber for the RAF - as both the Lancaster and Halifax started life as twin engined aircraft. A genuine heavyweight coming in at 47,000 lbs, unloaded, some 10,000 lbs heavier than the Lancaster or Halifax. The final design result owes much to the deliberations of Civil Service committees whereby wing mods were demanded on two occasions - once to reduce the span to fit into existing hangar size and once to, perhaps, improve take-off performance, this latter resulting in the stork-like undercarriage design. The wing changes resulted in a ludicrous service ceiling of 15,000 ft although it regularly failed to achieve that when loaded some 12,000 ft being a more likely operational height. Another design limitation was the inability to take any bomb larger than 2,000 lbs.

Despite these drawbacks the Stirling served with over 30 RAF Bomber Squadrons until late 1943 when it reverted to special ops and transport duties. Over 2,200 were supplied to the RAF and none survive, even as static display versions.

The composite image has been drafted at the instigation of a Photozine colleague whose father served on the Stirling until being shot down in 1943 - thanks for the basic idea Glyn. The central image is compiled from a stock photo used in agreement with the Stirling Aircraft Society along with my archive background material. The image is posted in recognition of the great service provided by the ‘forgotten‘ Stirling boys.

Tags: Stirling Aircraft Digital art Ww2

Voters: RonnieAG, G3, bagman and 7 more

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Jestertheclown 9 7.6k 252 England
23 Sep 2011 11:40PM
Interesting Pat,

I knew that there were no surviving airworthy examples but I'm a little surprised to hear that there aren't any survivors at all.


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RonnieAG Plus
7 154 118 Scotland
23 Sep 2011 11:46PM
Excellent image, Pat: the lighting just spot on for a night time mission. As always, your commentary adds so much.
The minute I saw the image I was reminded of a book which I'm certain was entitled "Bombers' Moon", but I could be mistaken there.
24 Sep 2011 9:39AM
Ronnie - thanks for your input, always valued. Probably you are thinking of 'Under a Bomber's Moon' which features a Stirling on the cover art. Written by a NZ Navigator detailing some wartime experiences. Time to put on the wooly jumpers again from the feel of this morning.
Shroomer 10 14 167 England
24 Sep 2011 10:00AM
Wonderful work Pat and a very interesting narrative. A true 4 engine bomber and so good to see a Stirling getting its glory from your work
UBOAT 10 41 Scotland
28 Sep 2011 8:06PM
Superb cop Grampa, very realistic work.

viscostatic 11 35 5 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2011 10:50PM
A very good image and tribute and your honesty about its construction is appreciated Pat.

richshep 15 10 United Kingdom
22 Feb 2012 7:48PM
Your work is gobsmacking. They look like the aircraft paintings that people say look like photographs!

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