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The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engined, long-range medium bomber.
Vickers-Armstrongs’ chief designer Rex Pier led the team of designers in the mid-1930s. Vickers-Armstrongs was a fusion of the Sheffield based Vickers company, and Newcastle based Armstrong’s Company.
The team designed the aircraft in Surrey and a key feature of the aircraft was its airframe structure, designed by Barnes Wallis. The frame used a laticed, outter shell, rather than focusing the body of the aircraft around a beam. Thus, the shell was lighter and stronger. What’s more, it meant that the centre was a large empty space, ready to take payload or fuel.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was the namesake of two bombers, the Vickers Wellington and the Vickers Wellesley. However, commonly named Wimpy by its crews (after J. Wellington Wimpy, Popeye’s friend).
The Wellington joined Bomber Command in 1938 and production numbers exceed 11,400. Bomber Command used the Wellington as one of the main bombers – especially as a night bomber in the early years of World War Two.
During 1943, the larger four-engined ‘heavies’ such as the Avro Lancaster started to superseded it as a bomber. The Wellington continued to serve throughout the war in other duties, particularly as an anti-submarine aircraft.
It was the only bomber that the British produced for the duration of the war and was produced in a greater quantity than any other British-built bomber.