The Wellingtons were the mainstay of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the early years of World War II. A total of 57 RAF squadrons were equipped with Wellingtons.
Initially the Wellingtons were used in daylight raids, but when heavy losses were incurred they were switched to night bombing raids in 1940.
The No. 9 Squadron was the first to be equipped with the Wellington Mk I in October 1938.
Start of World War II
Bomber Command had six squadrons equipped with the Wellington at the start of World War II.
First Raid on Germany
The Wellingtons were the first bombers to attack Germany, at Brunsbüttelkoog, on September 4, 1939.
A 4,000 lb / 1,814 kg bomb was first dropped by a Wellington on April 1, 1941.
In the 1,000 bomber raid of Cologne in May 1942, Wellingtons made up 1/2 of the bombers.
The last raid conducted by the Wellingtons was on the night of October 8 - 9, 1943.
When the Wellingtons were no longer being used by Bomber Command they were transferred to Coastal Command in 1943.
Wellingtons Vs. U-boats
The Wellingtons sank 26 / 51 U-boats during World War II.
Victoria Cross Awarded
The only Wellington crew member to receive a Victoria Cross was New Zealander Sergeant J. A. Ward who was a second pilot in the No. 75 Squadron. He climbed out onto the wing of his aircraft to put out an engine fire.
The Wellingtons were withdrawn from service in 1953.
Wellington Mk I
The Wellington Mk I first entered service in October 1938.
Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand used the Wellington Mk I.
Kiel and Wilhelmshaven
Wellingtons were used on raids on Kiel and Wilhelmshaven.
Wellington Mk II
The Wellington Mk II was used by Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand.
Wellington Mk III
The Wellington Mk III was used by Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand.
Wellington Mk VIII
The Wellington GR.VIIIs were used by Australia, Britain, and Canada.
In January 1942 they were first delivered to No 221 Squadron in the Mediterranean.
First U-boat Kill
The first U-boat killed at night by a Wellington GR.VIII occurred in July 1942.