Ton-Up Lancs
A Photographic History of the Thirty-Five RAF Lancasters That Each Completed One Hundred Sorties

Review by John Baxter

It’s difficult to think of RAF Bomber Command in World War Two without thinking almost primarily of the Avro Lancaster. I usually would not have considered this book for review but when Neil said to take it, I agreed. A new challenge, I thought. And a good one.

It’s letter size, with stiff card covers and within the 224 pages, there are approximately 200 black and white photographs of aircraft and crews. Each aircraft is documented over three or four pages. This takes the form of where it was manufactured, serial number, squadron issue and the crew. Anecdotal information then follows and the ‘chapter’ is concluded with a list of the ops flown – destination, date, including time out and time back, crew for the mission, and the squadrons in which the Lanc flew during its RAF/RAAF/RCAF service.

Now, it’s not for everyone, I’ll admit but it’s a very nicely produced book covering wartime exploits without fuss or drama – although there’s some of that within the anecdotes. It may serve more as a reference book than a ‘reading for pleasure’ publication, however, it’s very worthwhile as I can think of no other book covering any aircraft type that operated over one hundred missions - WWII or otherwise.

Norman Franks is a well known RAF author and there’s a heap of research gone into this, he readily admits. I found it enticing in its narrative and an easy read. The opening introductory pages themselves are quite revealing and extremely informative in a general sense. There’s statistics within and facts aplenty but not an overwhelming mass of them to become tedious. In all, a fine book worthy of a spot in my library.

I’d suggest that it is a very good book for any World War II aviation enthusiast, and especially an Avro Lancaster devotee, at a very competitive price. It is available from Hyland’s Bookshop in Melbourne or 03 9654 7448 for about $35.

Many thanks to Neil McKellar of Hylands Bookshop for the review copy.