Tool firm helping ambitious project to rebuild ‘extinct’ wartime bomber

PUBLISHED: 09:18 26 January 2018

BOMBER: The cockpit area of the Short Stirling recreation

BOMBER: The cockpit area of the Short Stirling recreation

Archant

An ambitious project to recreate the nose section of a Second World War Short Stirling bomber has been given a boost by a global cutting tool firm.

BOMBER: The Stirling Aircraft Project's wworkshop at Alconbury BOMBER: The Stirling Aircraft Project's wworkshop at Alconbury

Dormer Pramet has donated sheet metal drills and stub drills to the Alconbury-based Stirling Aircraft Project for use in building the historic aircraft.

The Short Stirling was the first of the RAF’s four-engine bombers and would have been a regular sight in the skies over Huntingdonshire during the Second World War.

More than 2,300 Stirlings, which were bigger than the later Lancaster and Halifax bombers, were built but none now exist.

The Stirling project is recreating the forward part of the bomber’s fuselage, including the cockpit area, using recovered and newly-built parts.

John Lathwell, project secretary, said: “We are re-building an ‘extinct’ aircraft by constructing the forward fuselage section of the Short Stirling, incorporating the main crew stations. This will then be a lasting tribute to the people who designed, built, flew and maintained this historic aircraft.

“As a UK-registered charity we must rely on donations and good will gestures from companies such as Dormer Pramet to keep the project going, so we are very grateful for their support.”

Mr Lathwell added: “Our eventual aim is to have a completed cockpit on display at RAF Museum Hendon, where future generations can view and experience the Stirling.”

The Dormer Pramet equipment will be used to drill imperial bolts, rivets and split pins.

The Short Stirling first went into operation in January 1941 and was a step up from the RAF’s twin-engine bomber fleet then in use.

Stirlings operated from many of the local wartime airfields and served with the Huntingdon-based Pathfinder Force which flew in advance of the main bomber stream to mark targets with flares.

The aircraft were popular with their crews but the Stirlings began to be replaced by the more effective Lancaster and Halifax bombers which had better performance.

Stirlings began to be phased out of bomber operations and gradually took on other roles including mine laying, transport and glider-towing. They were scrapped after the war and only wreckage and parts now remain.

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