10/31/2009. On April 25, 1946 the Ministry of Supply (MoS) had four former RAF Lancaster B.Mk.IIIs (LL809, LM681, LM639, ED866) registered as
G-AHJT to G-AHJW respectively, and subsequently supplied them to Flight Refuelling Ltd, at Ford Aerodrome, Littlehampton, Sussex, UK. They were converted into two pairs of tanker and receiver aircraft at Staverton, and were used in perfecting the company's looped-hose aerial refuelling techniques.
In co-operation with British South American Airways a series of flight refuelling trials over the Atlantic were conducted. The first trip, typical of the whole series, took place on 28 May 1947, when a Lancaster flown by Air Vice-Marshal D. C. T. Bennett left London Airport, was refuelled in mid-Atlantic with 1,700 gal (7,728 l) of petrol by an Azores-based Lancaster tanker, and completed the 3,433 mls (5,525 km) flight to Bermuda non-stop. Till August 11, 1947 eleven weekly return flights were accomplished.
The MoS had the four aircraft deregistered June 4, 1948, ten weeks later, August 13, they were registered to Flight Refuelling Ltd. The company became heavily involved in the Berlin Airlift for a year, delivering 7 million gal (32 million l) of fuel, the four Lancasters contributing their share.
G-AHJW, however, was lost on November 23, 1948. Returning to the UK for maintenance, it crashed into trees on fog-covered high ground at Conholt Park near Chute, Hampshire. Of the eight onboard the Canadian wireless operator was the sole survivor.
The remaining three Lancasters were scrapped in 1950 and 1951.