Great Britain's flagGreat Britain's RAF aircraft marking
Toggle Menu

Great Britain's Vickers Wellington bomber, "Wimpey"

Photos

Vickers Wellington minesweeper:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellington minesweeper
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Vickers Wellington minesweeper:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellington minesweeper
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Vickers Wellington bomber prototype:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellington bomber prototype
Vickers Wellington bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellington bomber
Vickers Wellington bomber:
Great Britain's Vickers Wellington bomber

Design

Dr. Barnes Wallis designed the Vickers Wellington.1 Wallis later created the "Dam Buster" bouncing bomb.1 The Wellington was to meet a 1932 requirment.2,5

Fuselage

The fuselage was a unique structure that was made from a geodetic structure.1

Nickname

The Wellington was nicknamed the "Wimpey" after the cartoon character J. Wellington Wimpey.3

Minesweeper

The minesweeper would fly 60' above the water and would use it's deGaussing loops to explode mines.6

Prototype

On June 15, 1936 the Vickers Type 271 first flew.1,2,3,4,5

Production

Wellingtons were constructed in 16 variants.1

These were constructed at Weybridge, Chester, and Blackpool.1

Production ended in October 1945.3

  • Prototype: 13
  • Wellington Mk I, Wellington Mk IA, Wellington Mk IC: 3,0553
  • Wellington Mk III: 1,5193
  • Wellington Mk IV: 2203
  • Wellington Mk VI: 643
  • Wellington GR.VIII: 3973
  • Wellington Mk X: 3,8033
  • Wellington GR.XI: 1803
  • Wellington GR.XII: 483
  • Wellington GR.XIII: 8443
  • Wellington GR.XIV: 8413
  • Wellington T.XVIII: 803
  • Total: 11,4611,2,4,5, 11,4623
    • Manufacturer: Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd.4
    • Production: 1937 - 19454

Variants

  • Vickers Type 271: Prototype.1,2
  • Wellington Mk I: Had Pegasus radial engines.2,5 Fuselage, tail, and tail wheel were redesigned.3
  • Wellington Mk IA: Different nose and tail turrets.3
  • Wellington Mk IC: Mine layer.2,5 Had a Nash and Thompson nose and tail turrets installed.2 Beam guns replaced ventral guns.3 Main wheels were larger and stuck out slightly from the nacelles when retracted.3
  • Wellington DW.Mk I: Had mine exploding loops.2,5 First used in 1940.2
  • Wellington Mk II: Had Merlin engines.2,5
  • Wellington Mk III: Had Hercules III or XI engines.2
  • Wellington Mk IV: Had Twin Wasp engines.2,5 High altitude.5 The cabin was pressurised.5
  • Wellington Mk V: High altitude.1,3,5 Could reach 38,000' / 11,600 m.1 The cabin was pressurised.1,3,5 Had Twin Wasp engines.2 Had cigar shaped forward fuselage.3 Experimental.3
  • Wellington Mk VI: High altitude.1,3,5 Could reach 38,000' / 11,600 m.1 The cabin was pressurised.1,5 Had Twin Wasp engines.2 Longer wings.3 Never saw operational service.3
  • Wellington GR.VIII: Coastal Command version.2,5 Had Pegasus engines.2,5 Had ASV radar.2,5
  • Wellington Mk X: Had Hercules XVIII engines.2,5 Had Hercules XVI engines (1,675 or 1,735 HP).3
  • Wellington GR.XI: Coastal Command version.2,5 Had Hercules5 engines, a Leigh Light, and two torpedoes.2 Had Hercules XVI engines (1,675 or 1,735 HP).3 Had radar for day operations.3
  • Wellington GR.XII: Coastal Command version.2,5 Had Hercules5 engines, a Leigh Light3, and two torpedoes.2 Had Hercules XVI engines (1,675 or 1,735 HP).3 Was used for night time anti-submarine patrols.3
  • Wellington GR.XIII: Coastal Command version.5 Had Hercules5 XVI engines (1,675 or 1,735 HP).3
  • Wellington GR.XIV: Had Hercules XVI engines (1,675 or 1,735 HP).3
  • Wellington C.XV: Transport.2,5 Converted from the Mk IC.2,5 Unarmed.3
  • Wellington C.XVI: Transport.2,5 Converted from the Mk IC.2,5 Unarmed.3
  • Wellington T.XVII: Trainer.2,5 Night fighter trainer.3
  • Wellington T.XVIII: Trainer.2,5 Navigation trainer.3 Had nose radar.3

GR: General Reconnaissance, T: Trainer

Usage

The Wellingtons were the mainstay of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the early years of World War II.1,3 A total of 57 RAF squadrons were equipped with Wellingtons.1,2

Initially the Wellingtons were used in daylight raids, but when heavy losses were incurred they were switched to night bombing raids in 1940.2

First Squadron

The No. 9 Squadron was the first to be equipped with the Wellington Mk I in October 1938.2,5

Start of World War II

Bomber Command had six squadrons equipped with the Wellington at the start of World War II.5

First Raid on Germany

The Wellingtons were the first bombers to attack Germany, at Brunsbüttelkoog, on September 4, 1939.3,4

Heavy Bombs

A 4,000 lb / 1,814 kg bomb was first dropped by a Wellington on April 1, 1941.2,5

Cologne

In the 1,000 bomber raid of Cologne in May 1942, Wellingtons made up 1/2 of the bombers.3

Last Raid

The last raid conducted by the Wellingtons was on the night of October 8 - 9, 1943.2,5

Coastal Command

When the Wellingtons were no longer being used by Bomber Command they were transferred to Coastal Command in 1943.1,4

Wellingtons Vs. U-boats

The Wellingtons sank 263 / 51 U-boats during World War II.1

Victoria Cross Awarded

The only Wellington crew member to receive a Victoria Cross was New Zealander Sergeant J. A. Ward who was a second pilot in the No. 75 Squadron.1 He climbed out onto the wing of his aircraft to put out an engine fire.1

Last Use

The Wellingtons were withdrawn from service in 1953.1

Specifications

  Vickers Wellington Minesweeper
Type Minesweeper6
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 86' 2"6
Length 64' 7"6
Height 17' 5"6
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site