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Duxford Radio Society


Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England 


 
Equipment Summary

Status:
Part Restored
&
Part New-Build

09-02-2009


Replica of the Avro Lancaster Wireless Operator and Navigator Crew Position - Duxford Airspace Hangar

IWM replica of the Lancaster radio section

Replica of the Wireless Operator and Navigator section of the Lancaster fuselage.  Wireless Operator's position at left and Navigator's at right

Wireless Operators position
Navigators position
Wireless Operator's position showing the radio communications equipment, T1154 transmitter,  R1155 receiver and Fishpond radar warning indicator etc.
Navigator's position showing Gee Indicator Unit Type 62 at left, and the H2S Radar indicator unit and controller at right.  Gee receiver and PSUs underneath

Lancaster Wireless Op. & Navigator's station


This exhibit is a full size replica of a cut-away section of the fuselage of a Lancaster bomber containing the Wireless Operator and Navigator crew positions and is  located in the Duxford Airspace Hangar in front of the IWM Canadian-built Victory Aircraft Lancaster bomber KB889.

It contains the complete suit of radio communications, Gee navigation, Fishpond radar warning and H2S radar display equipment which was mounted adjacent to the Wireless Operator and the Navigator in this aircraft (the H2S radar transmitter and scanner assemblies were mounted in the fuselage floor to the rear of the crew positions).

The project was inspired by a similar smaller replica owned by DRS which was constructed by Member Phil Racher, and which was on display at Bletchley Park for a number of years.  The DRS exhibit which allows visitors to operate some of the equipment is due to be displayed in Duxford Building 177 shortly.

The entire IWM replica project, from concept to completion, was project managed by Denis Willis RAF VR, DRS Vice-Chairman and Collections Manager.

The replica was built by a joint team of specialists from the Imperial War Museum Duxford (IWM) and from the Duxford Aviation Society (DAS).

The Duxford Radio Society (the DAS Radio Section) was responsible for project leadership and for the restoration and  installation of the entire radio, radar and navigation equipment.

DRS has also loaned many of the items of equipment to the IWM for this exhibit.

 
Equipment background story

The interior of the IWM Lancaster aircraft KB889 is still radioactive, due to the radium paint which was used on wartime instruments to make them glow in the dark.  As a result the aircraft is closed to the general public and access is restricted to selected Duxford staff for short periods of time (a few minutes at a time in fact).

This means that the public is unable to see or experience the internal layout of the aircraft or the conditions under which the crews operated.

This replica of part of the Lancaster fuselage was constructed in order to provide the public with a realistic representation of selected crew positions from the interior of the aircraft.

All of the electronic equipment displayed is real war-time RAF issue, and the only non-original parts are two dummy lead-acid accumulators.

Construction of the replica began in late 2005 and in January 2007 the exhibit was moved into position in the Airspace hangar for final assembly and system testing.

A system of fibre-optic illumination is used to highlight the individual items of equipment.

Conservation and restoration process

The replica fuselage section walls and structure has been skilfully constructed by woodworking specialists, and other IWM staff have fabricated some of the mounting fittings and brackets.

The radio, navigation and radar equipment has been jointly provided by the Duxford Radio Society and the IWM Duxford Spares Collection.

DRS volunteers have been responsible for the conservation and restoration of all the individual equipments.

As Project leader, Denis Willis was able to provide the essential mechanical and electrical guidance necessary, based on his personal experience with the equipment during World War 2 at 29 MU RAF Colerne.

Denis also personally restored a number of the individual equipments which make up the complete exhibit
back to working order.

Although it was planned to allow the public to operate some items of the equipment under supervision, a later Museum decision was taken to encase the complete exhibit in plastic sheeting for protection.
 
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 V2.00 25-01-2007
Updated 09-02-2009