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Vickers Wellington Bomber

Britain’s mass produced bomber of the Second World War
Vickers Wellingtons of 9 Squadron in flight during 1938 Vickers Wellingtons of 9 Squadron in flight during 1938
The twin engine Vickers Wellington medium bomber was designed against specification B.9/32 with the first prototype (K4049) being flown at Brooklands on 15th June 1936.
Designed by Vickers-Armstrongs Chief Designer Rex Pierson, utilising the geodetic construction methods devised by Barnes Wallace and used in the earlier Wellesley, the twin-engine Wellington continued to serve with distinction throughout World War II despite eventually being superseded in its primary role by the much larger, four-engined 'heavy bombers' such as the Avro Lancaster and the Vickers Warwick.

'The Wellie' was to bear the brunt of the Bomber Command offensive against Germany making up some 60% of the numbers in the first 1,000 bomber raid on 30th May 1942. The type also served with distinction with Coastal and Overseas Commands throughout the War on marine reconnaissance and anti-submarine duties.
The robust nature of its revolutionary construction paid real dividends in terms of both aircraft and lives saved throughout the night bombing campaigns.  one Vickers Wellington (LN514) became the subject of a Ministry of Aviation propoganda newsreel in October 1943 when it was constructed in just 23 hours 50 minutes by workers at the Broughton Factory which now produces wings for Airbus.
Vickers Wellington B Mk1 production at Brooklands in 1939 Vickers Wellington B Mk1 production at Brooklands in 1939
11,461 Wellingtons were built at Weybridge (Brooklands), Chester (Broughton) and Blackpool (Fylde).
The type also made a notable contribution post-war during the flight testing of new turbojet and turboprop engines as well as being the basis of the initial design of the VC-1 Viking of which the first 19 Viking 1A retaining the fabric covered geodetic wings of its illustrious parent.
The Wellington was finally retired in March 1953.


Type 271 Wellington prototype K4049 to Specification B.9/32
Type 290
183 Built
Wellington Mk I: Initial production variant with two 815hp Pegasus XVIII.
Type 408
187 Built
Wellington Mk IA: Two 1,000hp Pegasus XVIII and 28,000lb max weight.
Type 416
2,685 Built
Wellington Mk IC: Main initial production with waist guns. 2,685 built at Weybridge, Chester & Blackpool.
Type 406
400 Built
Wellington Mk II as Wellington IC but powered by two 1,145hp Rolls-Royce Merlin X
Type 417
1,519 Built
Wellington Mk III as Mk II but powerplant changed to two 1,400hp Bristol Hercules II engines. Four-gun rear turret introduced and max weight increased to 34,500lb.
Type 424
220 Built
Wellington Mk IV: Similar to Mk III, but powered by two 1,050 Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines.
Type 407 and 421
1 Built - 9 cancelled
Wellington Mk V: Experimental pressurised variant with two 1,400hp Hercules III (Type 421) or two 1,650hp Hercules VIII (Type 407, 426). 30 aircraft ordered.
Types 431, 442, 449
63 Built
Wellington Mk VI: Pressurised MkV development designed to use 1,600hp Merlin 60 engines.
Type 440, 448
3,803 Built
Wellington B Mk X: Built in the greatest numbers using two 1,615hp Bristol Hercules VI or XVI engines, built at Blackpool and Chester.
Type 418, 419
15 Built
Wellington DWI Mk I and Mk II: Designed to clear magnetic mines using an energised ring encircling the aircraft. 4 DWI Mk I conversions and 11 DWI Mk II.
Type 429
307 Built
Type 429 Wellington GR Mk VIII: Coastal Command derivative of Mk IC, with ASV radar, depth charges, torpedo and (some aircraft) Leigh light. 30,000lb max weight, built at Weybridge.
Type 458
180 Built
Type 458 Wellington GR Mk XI: Coastal Command equivalent of B Mk X with ASV and torpedo armament. Hercules VI or XVI engines.
Type 455
58 Built
Type 455 Wellington GR Mk XII: Similar to the GR Mk XI with addition of retractable ventral Leigh light. 58 built.
Type 466
844 Built
Type 466 Wellington GR Mk XIII: as GR Mk XI but with 1,725hp Hercules XVII engines. Built at Weybridge and Blackpool.
Type 467
841 Built
Type 467 Wellington GR Mk XIV: as GR Mk XII but with low altitude-rated 1,725 hp Hercules XVII engines. Built at Weybridge, Blackpool and Chester.
Wellington C Mk XV and C Mk XVI  In-service transport conversions of Mk 1A and Mk IC to carry up to 18 troops.
Type 619 Wellington T Mk X: post-war conversion of B Mk X for training role.
Wellington T Mk XVII In-service conversions of GR Mk XI to train night fighter crews in use of radar equipment.
Type 490
80 Conversions
Type 490 Wellington T Mk XVIII: conversion of GR Mk XIII for radar operator training. 


Wellington B Mk X
Two 1,615hp Bristol Hercules VI or XVI engines
86ft 2in
Maximum Weight
Capacity & Armament
Pilot and 4/5 crew. 4 gun nose turret, 2 gun rear turret, two waist guns, bomb load up to 4,000lb.
Maximum Speed
255 mph
1,885 miles at 180 mph with 1,500lb bomb load


Wellington IA (N2980) Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey, UK
Wellington T.10 (MF628)
RAF Museum, Cosford, UK

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