Vickers
Wellington

The most 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 protoVickers Type (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 as used in the earlier Vickers Wellesley. The twin-engine Vickers Wellington continued to serve with distinction throughout World War II, despite eventually being superseded in its primary role by the much larger, 'heavy bombers' such as the Avro Lancaster and the Vickers Warwick.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 Vickers 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 propaganda newsreel in October 1943, when it was constructed in just 23 hours 50 minutes by workers at the Broughton Factory near Chester, 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 Vickers Wellingtons were built at Weybridge (Brooklands), Chester (Broughton) and Blackpool (Fylde).
 
The Vickers 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 Vickers VC-1 Viking, of which the first 19 Viking 1A retaining the fabric covered geodetic wings of its illustrious parent.
 
The Vickers Wellington was finally retired in March 1953.
 

Variants


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

 

Specification


  Vickers Wellington B Mk X
Powerplant
Two 1,615hp Bristol Hercules VI or XVI engines
Span
86ft 2in
Maximum Weight
36,500lb
Capacity & Armament
Pilot and 4/5 crew. 2 gun nose turret, 2 gun rear turret, two waist guns, bomb load up to 4,000lb.
Maximum Speed
255 mph
Range
1,885 miles at 180 mph with 1,500lb bomb load

 

Survivors


Vickers Wellington IA
(N2980)
Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey, UK
www.brooklandsmuseum.com
Vickers Wellington T.10
(MF628)
RAF Museum, Cosford, UK
www.rafmuseum.org.uk

 

Other information