Built in 1933, the Rolls Royce Merlin engine is most famous for powering the mighty Avro Lancaster bomber. A fantastic testament to British engineering skill, there is nothing like standing next to a Merlin at full throttle. Thanks to two farming brothers, Fred and Harold Panton, that is easy to do.
For over a decade now, I have been a regular visitor to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, a museum set up by Fred and Harold as a tribute to their elder brother and other courageous air crew who lost their lives during the war. The engineering triumph and the bravery of the crews were an unbeatable match.
The star feature of the museum (there is much more to see and learn), is Just Jane, one of the last few surviving Lancaster’s in the world and while it is not air worthy, you can stand right next to it as it taxi runs and listen to the music of those engines.
Here are a few snaps of Just Jane passing me by on my last visit in May of this year.
It was lucky visit this year too, as not only were the four engines of Just Jane on song, but the crowd were treated to a fly past by the last air worthy Lancaster in the UK, based not far away from East Kirkby at RAF Coningsby. Eight Merlin’s in one day – well worth the time and money to visit.