There were already three Australian squadrons down in Lincolnshire flying Lancasters. We were all flying the Halifax 3. The Halifax 2 was really a quite different aircraft from the Halifax 3. The Halifax 3 was redesigned. The tower was redesigned. The engines were re-engined.
Instead of 1200 horsepower Merlins, we had 1750 horsepower radial Bristol Hercules engines, which transformed the aeroplane. We regarded them as a far safer aeroplane to fly than a Lancaster. The disadvantage with the Halifax was that the main spar of the Halifax ran right through the middle of the bomb bay. That mean the bomb bay could not carry giant bombs such as the Lancaster could carry, like the 12,000 pounder, which was a very long bomb and could fit in a Lancaster bomb bay, because the poor old Lancaster had the main spar up in the fuselage.
That main spar often became a death trap to the crews trying to go from one end of the aircraft to the other and negotiate this great high spire across the fuselage. Anyway, Lancaster fellows were so loyal to the aeroplane which they enjoyed, so good on them, didn't mind this impediment, but in Halifax we had no such problem. You could walk full length from one end of the fuselage to the other.
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