Avro York G-ANTK
The Avro York was a long-range transport that was designed to use the same wings, engines, undercarriage,
and tail unit (with a third fin added) as the Lancaster bomber. ‘TK was built at Yeadon and was rolled out in
January 1946. It entered RAF service with 242 Squadron as MW 232 that August, being based for a time at
Oakington. In May 1947 it moved to 511 Squadron at Lyneham, and was used on trooping and cargo flights,
including many to the Far East. In 1948/49 it was used on the Berlin Air Lift operation, and had the distinction
of carrying the 100,000th ton of supplies into the city. It suffered an undercarriage collapse during a landing
there, in January 1949, but was repaired and put into storage. In 1950/51 it was used by Fairey Aviation for in-
flight refuelling trials before being put back into storage awaiting disposal.
In 1954 it was bought by Dan-Air and registered G-ANTK. It was based firstly at Blackbushe and then at
Gtawick, and was used mainly on long-range freight charters to Africa and the Far East, including many flights
under an MoD contract to the Woomera Rocket Range in Australia. It was finally retired at Lasham in April
1964. It was fitted with bunks and used for a time by Scouts as their headquarters. In 1974, with the aircraft
deteriorating badly through standing outside, a group of Dan-Air engineers began restoring the aircraft in their
spare time, but this proved difficult because of the limited time which they could devote to the job, and
eventually Dan-Air offered both the York and their Airspeed Ambassador to the DAS on long-term loan for
restoration and preservation at Duxford. The York was moved by road to Duxford on 23rd May 1986 and after a
complete restoration which took 20 years, it was given an official roll-out before being moved into the new
AirSpace building where it is now permanently on display.
A number of items of historical interest are housed in the York. One is a wheel recovered from the York aircraft
in which Air Chief Marshall Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory was killed on November 14th 1944 when en route to
Burma to take up the post of Air Commander-in-Chief of South East Asia Command (SEAC). The aircraft
crashed in France in bad weather and this wheel was recovered from the crash site. Leigh-Mallory had direct
connections with Duxford: during the Battle of Britain he was in command of 12 Group RAF Fighter Command,
which included the squadrons based here. There is also a seat used by the late British Prime Minister Harold
Wilson (then Secretary for Overseas Trade) when he was flying home from a trade mission to Moscow in 1947.
His York aircraft overshot the runway at Heathrow and Mr Wilson was injured in the crash.
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