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.
RonnieAG, G3, bagman and 7 more