Lancaster WU 21


– 1945, WU 21, British serial number NX664 was manufactured by Austin Motors in Longbridge.

It was delivered on August 14th 1952 and equipped for search and rescue with the lifeboat

N°4432 which can be dropped.

– August 21st 1952 it was assigned to 11F Squadron; with the wing number 11 F4.

– April 1st 1953 the squadron was based in Lann-Bihoué.

– June 30th 1953, following the new numbering scheme of the French squadrons, 11F

became 25F, so the aircraft was then coded 25F4.

– November 22 1955, it was assigned to the 24F Squadron, still in Lann-Bihoué, and its code changed to 24F3.

– September 6 1958, the aircraft was assigned to 55S Squadron.

– At an unknown date it was then assigned to 52S Squadron then 56S.

– Beginning1962 it undergoes a complete overhaul by the UAT Le Bourget Company and then on November 9 1963, joins 9S Squadronin la Tontouta, New Caledonia, coded 21.

– January 26 1963, WU21 crashed while landing at Wallis and ended up at the end of the runway.

– Too old to be repaired, as the Lancasters were being replaced with Neptunes, it was neglected for 19 years, suffering from storm and cyclone damage of the region and from vandalism by the natives and collectors.

– May 1984, our association, Ailes Anciennes Le Bourget, thanks to JAL and Air Caledonie

airline companies, which sponsored our travels to dismantle W21 for transport back to France.

– The French Navy, nickname La Royale, provided the transport for its repatriation by two ships (La

Jeanne d’Arc and l’Ouragan) to Brest Harbour and the French Air Force provided the trucks to bring it to the hanger at Dugny, (on the other side of the Le Bourget airfield).

– WU21 belongs to our association and will be given to the Musée de l’Air after restoration.

– The museum has provided a hanger during the years it will take to restore the Lancaster, but there is no funding from them for the cost of parts and materials.



– 1985 following the wreck’s repatriation from Wallis, the well known publication Le Fana de

l’Aviation, organized a fund raising subscription which allowed us to purchase the essential tools to begin the restoration.

Association member’s dues.

WU21 restoration squad

Confronted with the association’s lack of finances, the restoration team have and continue to buy the missing parts themselves.

Travel within and outside France is done at their own expense.

Digs of Lancaster crash sites are done by the team at our expense during the holidays.

These excavations, where many parts were found, have allowed us to restore the four WU21 engines.

Also there has been some one-off technical help by some companies.

Téléphone portable : 06 72 97 67 48 Téléphone portable : 06 33 86 73 70

email :

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SPECIALIST WORKERS: François Bardet . Laurent Boulestin . Thierry Dye . Alain Terrier . Michel Rolland . Daniel Coudert . Christian Dravigny . Luc Jacques . Jean Luc Chevy . Serge Ledru . Philippe Garnaud .