Konigsberg First Major Warship Sunk by Air Attack

German light cruiser Konigsberg has the distinction of being the first major warship sent to the bottom by attack by aircraft.


light cruiser KMS Konigsberg circa 1935. Official US Navy photo.

On 10 April 1940 during the Norwegian campaign, fifteen FAA (Fleet Air Air of Royal Navy) Skua dive-bombers pounced on KMS Konigsberg tied up to a jetty in Bergen Harbour. All fifteen dived bombed the ship. Three bombs hit the Konigsberg which rolled over and sank. Not one British aircraft was shot down.

She was the first major warship ever to be sunk by air attack.


source: Narvik by Peter Dickens





KMS Konigsberg taken at Swinemunde, Germany, with a sentry on guard in the foreground. The original photograph, from Office of Naval Intelligence files, was dated 1938. However, it appears to have actually been taken earlier in that decade. Note Königsberg‘s searchlights and torpedo tubes. The light cruiser Leipzig is in the right distance.

Lancaster Best RAF Strategic Bomber World War Two

Lancaster Best RAF Strategic Bomber World War Two. It was the addition of the “Lanc” to RAF Bomber command which gave the command such hitting power.



AVRO Lancaster

the photo above from the official  Royal Air Force history site which you can below.


“Born out of the failure that was the Manchester, the Lancaster has become the one bomber most associated with the RAF night offensive over Germany.” RAF



Avro Lancasters of No. 50 Squadron (No. 5 Group), based at Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire, UK. These wartime aircraft carry the exhaust shrouds intended to conceal the exhaust flames from night fighters

Lancaster B Mark Is of No 50 Squadron, Royal Air Force, based at Skellingthorpe, flying in a spread formation. The two aircraft beyond the wing tip are ‘VN-D’ and ‘VN-J’ the former, serial number JA899, was missing on the night of 24 – 25 June 1944 with Pilot Officer L G Peters and crew.

Official RAF photo Imperial War Museum


A Royal Air Force Avro Lancaster I (s/n NG128, coded “SR-B”) of No. 101 Sqn out of Ludford Magna and flown by Fg Off R.B. Tibbs as part of a thousand-bomber raid, dropping its load over Duisburg, Germany, on 14-15 October 1944.

Note the large aerials on top of the Lancaster’s fuselage, indicating that the aircraft is carrying ‘Airborne Cigar’ (ABC), a jamming device which disrupted enemy radiotelephone channels. Over 2,000 sorties were dispatched to the city of Duisburg during 14-15 October 1944, in order to demonstrate the RAF Bomber Command’s overwhelming superiority in German skies (“Operation Hurricane”).

Left image: the Lancaster releases bundles of ‘Window’ over the target during a special daylight raid on Duisburg. Right image: a fraction of a second later, the aircraft releases the main part of its load, a 4000lb HC “cookie” and 108 30lb “J” incendiaries. Official RAF Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum.


Sergeant H H Turkentine, the bomb aimer on board an Avro Lancaster B Mark I of No. 57 Squadron RAF, at his position in the nose of the aircraft. Sergeant Turkentine were killed with the rest of the crew of Lancaster R5894 ‘ DX-T’ (“T for Tommy”) when it collided with high tension cables near Scampton upon returning from a raid on Berlin in the early morning of 2 March 1943.  Official RAF Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum


Flight -Sergeant J Morgan, the rear gunner of an Avro Lancaster of No 630 Squadron RAF at East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, checks his guns in the Nash & Thompson FN120 tail turret before taking off on a night raid on the marshaling yards at Juvisy-sur-Orge, France.

Official RAF Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum


The bomb load used for industrial demolition (Bomber Command executive codeword ‘Abnormal’), loaded in the bomb-bay of an Avro Lancaster of No. 9 Squadron RAF at Bardney, Lincolnshire, before a night raid on Stettin, Germany. ‘Abnormal’ consisted of 14 x 1,000-lb MC high-explosive bombs.

Official RAF Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum

From the official history site of the Royal Air Force:

“When it became clear to Avro’s Chief Designer, Roy Chadwick, in 1938 that the new Rolls Royce Vulture engines intended for the Manchester were suffering from a lack of development, the company set about revising the design to include an additional pair of engines, preferably the well-proven Merlin. As a matter of fact, so dire was the Manchester situation that the Ministry of Aircraft production seriously considered scrapping the production line at the Avro factory at Newton Heath in Manchester after its contract for 200 Manchesters had been completed, and switch to the rival Handley Page design, the Halifax.


Lancaster in flight RAF history

Lancasters in flight

Fortunately, the plan never came to fruition and Avro was allowed to continue development of the Manchester III (the name Lancaster had not yet been chosen).

In September 1940, a contract was signed with Avro for two prototype aircraft, the first of which was to fly within four months. To do this, Avro was to use as many existing Manchester components as possible to reduce cost and the timescale. Within a month, Avro had prepared the requisite technical drawings for the Lancaster and things progressed smoothly with the first flight being made on 9 January 1941.



Three Avro Lancaster B.Is of No. 44 Squadron, Royal Air Force, based at Waddington, Lincolnshire (UK), flying above the clouds.

The first aircraft was very much a hybrid design, and a more representative aircraft followed in May 1941. The second prototype had larger tail fins, a new undercarriage and improved Merlin engines and the true potential of the aircraft could now be tested. Test flying continued throughout the summer and the first production Lancaster I was flown on the last day of October 1941.


The first Lancaster squadron was No 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, based at Waddington and commanded by Wing Commander RAB Learoyd VC and deliveries commenced on Christmas Eve 1941. Shortly after, No 97 Squadron traded in its Hampdens for Lancasters and both units commenced their operational work-up. By May 1942, No 44 Squadron was ready for operations and during the night of 10th/11th March 1942, a number of its aircraft took part in a raid on Essen.

Barely a month later, Lancasters from both Nos 44 and 97 Squadrons, had carried out a daring, low-level daylight attack on the MAN diesel engine factory at Augsburg, deep in Germany. A number of diversionary raids in northern France partially failed to draw enemy fighters away from the Lancaster’s route further south and as result four aircraft from the twelve involved were shot down before reaching the target.

The remaining aircraft successfully attacked, with a number of direct hits being achieved, but three further aircraft failed to return. Only one aircraft of the six despatched from No 44 Squadron survived – that of Squadron Leader JD Nettleton, the squadron commander. For his leadership, Nettleton was awarded the Victoria Cross.



Flying Officer J B Burnside, the flight engineer on board an Avro Lancaster B Mark III of No. 619 Squadron RAF based at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, checks settings on the control panel from his seat in the cockpit. Official RAF Photo courtesy Imperial War Museum

Throughout the remainder of 1942, the transition to Lancasters in Bomber Command was relatively slow, but the increase in the total tonnage of bombs in operations was increasing rapidly because of the ability of the Lancaster to carry bombs greater than the 4,000lb High Capacity (the only aircraft that could do so)…

Elsewhere in Bomber Command, the Lancaster continued on more mundane duties (including minelaying). The Battles of the Hamburg, the Ruhr, and Berlin in 1943 and early 1944, the famous attack on the V1 establishment at Peenemünde in August 1943 were some of the high points of the Lancaster’s service.

At the other end of the scale, over 60 Lancasters alone were lost during the raid on Nuremberg in March 1944. Almost half of all Lancasters delivered during the war (3,345 out of 7,373) were lost on operations with the loss of over 21,000 crew members.

The basic Lancaster, the B.I was such an excellent airframe, that few changes were made to improve it. The B.II was a Bristol Hercules-powered variant built to counter possible supply problems with the Merlins; the B.III was powered by improved Merlins and, along with the B.I, the standard mount of many Lancaster squadrons. The final version built in significant numbers was the Mark X which was built under license in Canada.

Of those 7,000+ aircraft built, only two airworthy examples exist as a tribute to the many thousands who lost their lives in Bomber Command; one with the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the second based in Canada.”



When Flying Was Glamorous


air travel 1945

Circa 1945: Stewards serving passengers on board an airplane. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images) 


smoking permitted

Circa 1936: Air hostess Daphne Kearley of Golders Green tending to the crew of the new luxury air service from Croydon, England to Paris, operated by Air Dispatch. (Ward/Getty Images)

lad flying

Circa 1937: A young boy, with his arm in plaster, sits in a chair on an airplane looking out of the window. (London Express/Getty Images)



31st March 1937: A sleeping berth on an Imperial Airways aircraft. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The cabin wasn’t pressurized so the aircraft did not fly much higher than 12,000 feet. The engines made such a racket that ear plugs were required for sleep.




Circa 1945: British and Overseas Airways air stewardess Peggy Keyte brings a tray of coffees to the passengers in her aircraft, during a World War II flight. (Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images) 



Circa 1946: Air hostess Patricia Palley attends to passengers in the decorated cabin of a Pan-American air liner over the Atlantic. (William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)



Circa 1950: Two air hostesses walking away from a BOAC Comet. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

This is not as glamorous as it looks. This DH 106 Comet (pictured above) was the first civilian jetliner ever produced. Designed and manufactured by de Havilland Aircraft Company Limited, owned by Geoffrey de Havilland, one of the most brilliant aircraft designers of the era. (Half brother of Oliva de Havilland).

The de Havilland Comet began regular passenger service in 1952. Tragically, in the first year after it was introduced, three of these aircraft broke up in mid-flight, killing all on board. Metal fatigue was later identified as the cause and the plane was completely redesigned.


British European Airways (BEA) Comet 4B arriving at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in 1969 (Wikimedia photo by Ralf Manteufel and enhanced by Altair78)


Nimrod R1 from 51 Sqn RAF Waddington doing a fly past at the RAF Waddington Air show July 4th 2009

A maritime patrol aircraft variant of the DH Comet, the Nimrod as shown above, was later produced and continued in service with the Royal Air Force until 2011.

English Nursing Sisters Critical to Victory in World War Two

 Establishing a field hospital in normandy days after Dday
THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY, JUNE 1944 (B 5859) A cheery party of Sisters of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service with their baggage at No 88 General Hospital at La Delivrande, Normandy. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205129366
THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944 (B 9222) A nurse attends to wounded soldiers in a field hospital, 15 August 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202480


ROYAL AIR FORCE: 2ND TACTICAL AIR FORCE, 1943-1945. (CL 310) The interior of one of the tented wards at No. 50 Mobile Field Hospital in Normandy. Sister M Griffiths helps one of the patients into his dressing-gown (right). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211654
THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944 (B 5803) Royal Army Medical Corps nurses and women of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) carry a wounded soldier out of the operating tent at the 79th General Hospital at Bayeux, 20 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202025


THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944 (B 5847) Women of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMS) queue for their lunch at No 88 General Hospital at Douvres-la-Delivrande, 22 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205924


THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944 (B 5841) Women of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMS) pose for a group photograph at No 88 General Hospital at Douvres-la-Delivrande, 22 June 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205205923


nursing british wounded in france during german invasion of june 1940 before dunkirk


WOMEN AT WAR 1939 – 1945 (TR 2163) Nursing: Half length portrait of a nursing sister of Queen Alexandra?s Imperial Military Nursing Service outside a field hospital in France. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125325
nursing british and commonwealth troops in egypt
ROYAL AIR FORCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 1944-1945. (CM 6260) Airmen and n.c.o. patients resting on the balcony at No. 5 RAF General Hospital, Abassia, Egypt, attended by PMRAFNS Sisters Lindsay of Montrose (left), and D’Hondt of Hindhead, Surrey (right). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209137
ROYAL AIR FORCE MEDICAL SERVICES, 1939-1945. (CM 2410) Recently-arrived nursing sisters of the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service gathered on the balcony of No. 5 RAF General Hospital, newly established at Abassia, Egypt. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205126790
Reykjavik Wasn’t the warmest POSting
PRINCESS MARY’S ROYAL AIR FORCE NURSING SERVICE, 1939-1945. (CS 330) Nurses relaxing in the Sister’s Mess of the RAF Hospital at Reykjavik, Iceland. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205207860
lots of snow in Reykjavik
ROYAL AIR FORCE COASTAL COMMAND, 1939-1945. (CS 354) Snowed-up technical huts and airfield at Reykjavik, Iceland, during a lull in the blizzard which hit the island between 21 and 27 February 1945. Consolidated Liberator GR Mark VIs of No.53 Squadron RAF are parked on the airfield. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205207862