The Vickers-Armstrong Wellington 'Wimpy'
Twin Engined British Medium Bomber designed by R.K.Pierson & Barnes Wallis
Affectionately named the "Wimpy" after a rotund hamburger eating cartoon character J Wellington Wimpy in the Popeye series of cartoons, the Wellington was the only bomber brought into service before the war began and
that was still in service after the war ended. It’s design was started in 1932 and Vickers produced the first Wellington in 1936. These aircraft were fitted with two Bristol Pegasus engines. Later Rolls Royce Merlins and Bristol Hercules engines were used. Over 11,000 were produced before manufacturing ceased in 1945.
It was designed at Brooklands racetrack and airfield in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson. They were built at Weybridge, Chester and Blackpool. It was famous for it’s immensely strong geodetic cross member construction developed by Dr. Barnes Wallis of the Dambuster bouncing bomb fame. In action it was able to absorb horrific damage and still remain controllable.
The Wellington was armed with twin .330 machine guns in the powered nose and tail turrets. It also had 2 manually-operated .303 guns in the beam positions and could carry a 4,500 lb bomb load. Early daylight operation losses proved the inadequacy of the turret fire-power in fending off attacking fighters, the Wellington went on to build up a great reputation for reliability and ruggedness in night bombing operations.
The Wellington’s first operation against the enemy was an attack on German warships in October 1939 and its last raid was on Previso in Northern Italy in April 1945. It had six crew members: pilot, radio operator, navigator, bomb aimer/nose gunner, tail gunner and waist gunner. Wellingtons would serve in Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Far East in various different roles including mine laying, troop transportation, submarine hunting, photo reconnaissance,
pathfinding and of course bombing.