Wellington file photo [4179]


CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerVickers-Armstrongs, Limited
Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight15 June 1936


ww2dbaseThe Wellington twin-engine medium bombers were designed by R. K. Pierson in the mid-1930s. The design proved to be tough even when damaged in battle, but it was complex enough that it hampered production somewhat. The first Royal Air Force bombing involving Wellington bombers took place on 4 Sep 1939, where Wellington bombers from No. 9 and No. 149 Squadrons, along with Blenheim bombers, attacked German shipping at Brunsbüttel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. On 25 Aug 1940, they participated on the first night raid on Berlin. On 30-31 May 1942, Wellington bombers made up 599 of the 1,046 aircraft sent to attack Cologne; in that raid, 2,000 tons of high explosives were delivered in a 90-minute window, destroying 250 factories as well as downtown Cologne, killing countless civilians and leaving 45,000 homeless. As they were replaced by more modern designs, Wellington bombers were transferred to the Middle East and Asia. During the design's production life, 11,464 were built.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2007

Wellington Timeline

16 Oct 1941 RAF Pilot Officer A. J. Heyworth was able to return hom to Britain after his Wellington bomber suffered serious damage while bombing Mannheim, Germany. He flew most of the way on only one engine while the other was aflame.
4 Jun 1942 Shortly after midnight the Italian submarine Luigi Torelli bound for a patrol area off Puerto Rico was attacked by Squadron Leader Jeaff Greswell's (No. 172 Squadron RAF) Leigh Light equipped Wellington bomber. The attack (the first to be made using a Leigh light) caused extensive damage to the Italian submarine, which was forced to abort her mission and return to port for repairs.
6 Jul 1942 The British RAF Coastal Command scored its first enemy vessel sunk with the newly equipped Wellington bombers.
13 Oct 1945 The last of 11,461 Vickers Wellington aircraft to be built rolled off the production line.


MachineryTwo Bristol Pegasus Mk. XVIII radial engines rated at 1,050hp each
Armament2x7.7mm nose turret Browning machine guns, 4x7.7mm tail turret Browning machine guns, 2x7.7mm waist Browning machine guns, 2,000kg of bombs
Span26.27 m
Length19.69 m
Height5.33 m
Wing Area78.40 m
Weight, Empty8,417 kg
Weight, Maximum12,927 kg
Speed, Maximum378 km/h
Rate of Climb5.70 m/s
Service Ceiling5,486 m
Range, Normal2,905 km


Wellington bomber in flight, date unknownWellington bombers of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, shortly before they were given to United Kingdom for the war effort in the west, Aug-Sep 1939A Wellington bomber built at the Vickers-Armstrongs factory in Broughton, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom in flight shortly after its completion, 7 Nov 1940A Wellington bomber built at the Vickers-Armstrongs factory in Broughton, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom on the tarmac shortly after its completion, 7 Nov 1940
See all 7 photographs of Wellington Medium Bomber

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
1 Sep 2007 10:34:29 AM

Affectionally named Wimpy-The Wellingtons nickname originated from the character J.Wellington Wimpy of the Popeye cartoons
2. Bruce says:
4 Aug 2009 03:50:43 AM

A squadron of the South African Airforce (26 Squadron SAAF) was equipped with Wimpys and based in Takoradi, Gold Coast(Now Ghana)during WWII. They carried out anti submarine patrols and convoy escourt duty over the Atlantic. See 26 Sqn website at http://mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/bd000006/
3. jonathan lilley says:
26 Jan 2012 11:24:00 AM

My grandfather flew a wellington bomber in ww2 in the middle east his squadron was 38 his name was FLT SGT Henry Lilley . Sadly he did not return his right engine was gone and most of the crew bailed out . But he was still flying it his name is at AL Alamein need to get there one day RIP grandad
4. richard swan says:
2 Mar 2014 11:17:06 PM

My father Richard David Swan built Lancs during the war. I am trying to find out more info - which factory etc
5. don says:
13 Apr 2014 01:11:25 AM

Mr. Chen, Thanks for the wonderful site. The 11,000-odd figure for Wellington production seems on the high side, I seem to recall that 3-4000 were built. Thank you again. Don
6. don says:
13 Apr 2014 01:13:20 AM

Mr. Chen, Please accept my apologies, a brief search revealed your production figure to be correct- I had forgotten that they were built right through the end of the war. Best regards, Don
7. Peter Packwood says:
3 Feb 2015 12:42:41 PM

My father William Thomas Packwood served in the RAF 1939- 1945. Ground crew Wellington bombers he was stationed in North Africa and also Germany. Born in Dudley. Would anyone have any idea which squadron this would be. And a shot in the dark if any body reads this about him if any past family members heard of him. Regards Peter,
8. Ian Martindale says:
16 Dec 2015 01:01:57 PM

I note no mention of Barnes Wallis in the development of the Wellington, I always was led to believe he was responsible for the geodesic design of the fuselage, true or propaganda?
9. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
16 Dec 2015 05:12:43 PM

Rex Pierson was Vickers’ chief designer for the Wellington but that design relied heavily on geodesic construction principles developed by Barnes Wallis in his pre-war work on airship design. The bomber Wallis is best known for having a greater role in developing was the Lancaster.
10. John says:
30 Jan 2016 10:29:14 AM

My grandfather, Joseph W. Bonen, flew with the Civilian Technical Corps in the UK in WW2. My mother remembered that he flew Wellington bomber and was with RAF or RCAF. I have been unable to find any further information online re this. Any suggestions? Thanks
11. Don says:
13 Apr 2016 03:39:53 AM

My father flew Wellingtons in the Nth Africa and Italy campaigns based at Blida Algeria in 150 Squadron RAF and was there during 1942-43 .The desert air force played a decisive role aiding the eventual collapse of Nazi German and Italian occupation of the middle east
12. Bob says:
16 Aug 2016 09:53:20 AM

What happened to the two Wellington Bombers that at were at R.A.F.Cosford when I left there in the middle 50's. They were in a moth balled state but one of them was "airworthy"as it was unoffically stripped and flown by a flight Sargent pilot.He was apparently court marshalled.
13. Ron Munro says:
19 Dec 2017 04:28:28 PM

460 SQN RAAF in WWII flew Vickers Wellington Bombers. BUT I fail to see the Wellington listed in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Series of Air Craft that served with in the RAAF. This to me means the Wellington Bomber wasn't a RAAF Asset. Who did they belong to??
14. yehuda wegman says:
27 Dec 2017 03:39:10 AM

Any 1 knows about Wellington with mor ethan 6 crewmembers ?
thank u
15. yehuda wegman says:
27 Dec 2017 03:56:34 AM

any 1 knows somthing about 8 Aircrew kIA at 25.08.1944 buried in Haifa cematery ?
1-c.g.r adams. pailot
2- r.h breach
3- j.jhohanstone
4 -d.e macdonald
5 - g.marr
6 -t. robinson
7 -f.s mulder
8- s.c williams


16. Kate says:
31 Mar 2018 12:41:06 PM

My great Uncle Sgt. Wallace Carter died 03/04/1943 as a gunner flying over France, 166 squadron. I have an excellent photo of him in his “Biggles” helmet
17. archivist says:
27 Nov 2018 11:32:27 AM

Yehuda Wegman Wellington Bombers normally carried a crew of 5 or 6 but some French manned Wellingtons had a crew of 7. One such aircraft crashed at Bunker Hill near Consett, Co Durham, England
18. Anonymous says:
12 Nov 2019 10:22:18 AM

My father and two of his six brothers flew in Bomber Command for the RAF. They were Canadians who, rather than wait for the fledgling RCAF to get organized, volunteered for secondment to the RAF. My father, who was the only brother to survive the war, was a Wellington pilot with RAF 40 Squadron who spent his time in England bucking the embedded arrogance embedded of many high ranking RAF functionaries who played the card that 'colonials' were a lower species of warrior and pilots. One argument to that effect in which he defended Canadians got him and his mixed crew suddenly sent to Africa via his Wellington in daylight on a flight path close in to the French Coast along the Bay of Biscay on their way to Gibraltar, re-fuelling, and on to Tunisia's Kairouan East airfield. Two Me-109s shot them up and only the intervention of clouds and his decision to break with the flight plan they were supposed to follow got them to Gib.
After many 38 ops from Kairouan East they eventually followed the Allied invasion of Italy to settle at the massive airbase in Foggia, Italy his crew later volunteered to join a small group that only had to complete three, low-level, single plane night raids on strategic targets chosen by RAF high command. The deal was if they completed three they all received leave -- 4 weeks for the UK boys and 6 for the colonials to allow they to get home for a decent time.
They carried a single 4000lb. 'cookie' and were to drop it at the highest speed they could attain in a shallow dive after a short close-to-target climb to 800-1000 feet, then a diving to 250-300 feet above the target and dropping the cookie at speed. These strategic targets were picked by RAF high command.
My father recorded that of the eight crews from the squadrons that volunteered, two made it to three missions. My father was one but they survived the third only after being shot down by a series of Nazi river shore batteries and a Flak Train protecting a vulnerable link in the main rail connection from the Ploesti oilfields to Nazi Germany - a twin tracked rail bridge.
Upon crash landing in Rumania, the surviving crew spent ninety two harrowing days dodging German patrols while being hidden by Serbs loyal to the Crown who were led by the devout anti-Nazi Serbian, General Mikhailovich.
They were finally resewed, along with nearly 150 or so American aircrew, by the breathtakingly bold OSS 'Operation Lanyard' of which a movie documentary was supposedly made. My father and his navigator were the only Canadians rescued. They never forgot the courage and kindness of the Royalist Serbs who hid them, fought for them and died for them every day. They also had life-long friendships with many American crews they fought and hid with who signed a piece of my fathers parachute which I have now.
My father never expected a medal despite everything but he did resent that he and his Canadian navigator never received the 'mentioned in dispatch' that the two surviving British crew members did. Was my father anti-British? No. He met some decent high-ranking RAF officers in the Mediterranean Theatre or he could have been, but the ones in the UK did their very best to make him so!
19. Tom says:
29 Dec 2019 12:51:18 PM

My grandfather was in a crew that flew SOE flights, unfortunately his journals were taken by a researcher about 20 years past when he was ill so tracking his exploits is difficult!
20. Nigel Whittaker says:
14 Feb 2020 06:56:39 PM

My father served with the RAF in wellingtons in North Africa from Jan 1942 to 1944, initial training was at 72 OTU (circa December 1941), he serves as a rear gunner,. In March 1944 he was promoted to Flight Sergeant, he was later sent out to Southern Rhodesia's RAF training division at Cranbourne airforce base and then after returning to England late 1945 joined in bomb disposal until August of 1946, If anyone has any knowledge or info on my father, Roy Whittaker I would appreciate it, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, all is welcome...
21. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
20 Jun 2020 12:37:19 AM

To my knowledge there are just two surviving Wellingtons. One, a Mark X, serial MH628, is on display at the RAF Museum at Cosford, and has been carefully preserved although, apparently, it didn’t see any operational service during World War Two. The other is the famous ’Loch Ness’ Wellington, a Mark IA serial N2980, which was discovered by a team of American researchers hunting for skeletons of prehistoric aquatic animals. This machine flew many missions with 149 Squadron during 1939-1940 (including participating in the fateful attack on Wilhelmshaven which saw all but nine bombers shot down by enemy fighters). It was lost, through engine failure, on 31 December 1940 while on a navigation exercise with 20 OTC having made a forced landing in the frozen Loch where it was discovered 44 years later. The Loch Ness Wellington has been partially rebuilt and is currently on display at the Brooklands museum in Surrey.

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Wellington Medium Bomber Photo Gallery
Wellington bomber in flight, date unknown
See all 7 photographs of Wellington Medium Bomber

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