Historic World War II Lancaster bomber to visit The Netherlands and Belgium

Lancaster PA474. The Avro Lancaster is the most famous and successful RAF bomber of World War II

Plane spotters and people with a keen interest in the history of the Second World War are in for a real treat on 4 May, as the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Avro Lancaster bomber will perform a number of flypasts across Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Lancaster bomber acquired by the BBMF in 1973, is one of only two surviving airworthy examples of the type; the other is in Canada. A total of 7,377 were built!

The Lancaster PA474 was built in May 1945 and assigned to reconnaissance duties after appearing too late to take part in the bombing of Japan. After various duties, she was adopted by the Air Historical Branch for display work. She appeared in two films: Operation Crossbow and The Guns of Navarone.

The Lancaster currently carries two markings. On the left-hand side, she carries the markings of AR-L ‘Leader’, which served with No 460 Squadron (RAAF). On the right-hand side, she carries the markings of the 50 Squadron code letters VN-T, representing the Lancaster flown by FO Douglas Millikin DFC.

PA474 displays the markings of bombs for operations over Germany, ice-cream cones for operations over Italy and poppies when she releases poppies during exhibition flights. During the 2008 RAF Waddington Air Day, PA474 was flown in formation with the recently restored Avro Vulcan XH558 in a historic display of two Avro “heavy metal” classics.

The planned route (4 May 2022)

It has long been a dream of the Sanicole air show in Hechtel-Eksel to have the plane come over for the annual air show, says Geoffrey Buekenbergs of Sanicole, and now it is finally possible. “During the period of our air show in September, there are always many commemorative flights in England, and then the plane cannot come over,” says Buekenbergs. “But now, on May 4, the plane is in the area because there are a number of memorial flights in the Netherlands that day. So they have agreed to make a number of passages across the border. And it is also immediately a memorial to the Lancaster which crashed on 12 May 1944 in Beverlo (Beringen) during World War II.

Source: European Airshows, Royal Air Force, Sanicole


  1. It went right over my house in Genval at 12:40. A great sight and sound.


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