The Avro Manchester: The Legend Behind the Lancaster

Author(s): Robert Kirby 

ISBN: 9781781552858
£35.00 £50.00
The definitive book about the Avro Manchester - the bomber that was to lead to the 'war-winning' Lancaster.

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In its earliest, dark days, Bomber Command operated deep into occupied Europe with the underdeveloped Avro Manchester. Powered by the Rolls Royce Vulture, it was the only British aircraft to use this engine operationally. The design was revised and amended several times, with three enlargements of the flying surfaces required to provide an adequate flight envelope. Nevertheless, Manchesters entered service without adequate type-testing, leading to four groundings in the first ten months of use. Aircrews were faced with airframe and engine challenges, and the Manchester continued to evolve as the war was being fought.

Despite this, seven RAF squadrons would eventually use 202 Manchesters (with 538 Vultures) on 1,260 sorties. Manchesters may have contributed to Bomber Command failures (as set out in the Butt Report of August 1941), but they also contributed to its success in denying German capital ships the naval base at Brest. Bomber Command’s persistence with the type was soon shown to be wise, as the Manchester was developed into the famous and war-winning Avro Lancaster.

This second edition of The Avro Manchester: The Legend Behind the Lancaster retains the keen analysis and gripping narrative of the first, but it also fills many gaps, revises key passages, and provides six appendices for references. It is richly illustrated with 200 images, many of which are previously unpublished.

BOOK ISBN 9781781552858
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 512 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 15 September 2015
ILLUSTRATIONS 190 black-and-white photographs



Robert Kirby forged a successful career in the discipline of oceanography; as a government researcher, he discovered and named a number of new scientific phenomena. Throughout his life he has maintained an interest in aviation, especially in the Second World War, leading to his authorship of a history of the Avro Manchester. Following the publication of the first edition of this book in 1995, his continued studies have led to this new and definitive edition.