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Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre

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PE23 4DE

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Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre Photograph:

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre - Phil Catleugh

Lancaster NX611 'Just Jane'
Lancaster NX611 'Just Jane' was built in 1945 and was to have been used against Japan as part of the RAF's Tiger Force but due to the surrender of Japan it didn't see any action.

It spent several years in storage until it became one of 54 Lancasters sold to the French Government. It entered service with French Naval Aviation and used for maritime patrol and air-sea rescue work. The upper turret was removed, and radar was fitted as well as the equipment to carry and drop an Airborne lifeboat. It was operated by the French forces over the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and later the Pacific after being redeployed to New Caledonia.

In 1964, the French donated it to the Historical Aircraft Preservation Society, who flew it back to the United Kingdom and subsequently flew it for several years. However, the society could not afford the aircraft's operating costs and it was put up for auction in 1972. It became a gate guardian at RAF Scampton before being acquired by the Panton brothers.

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre Map

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre is an aviation museum in East Kirkby, Lincolnshire. It was opened to the public in 1988 by Lincolnshire farmers Fred and Harold Panton, as a memorial to their older brother, Christopher Witton Panton, who died during the Second World War.

The centre's main exhibit is Avro Lancaster Mk VII, NX611, named 'Just Jane'. The Lancaster makes regular taxi runs which raises some of the money needed to maintain and restore it. There have been major works carried out on 'Just Jane' to restore her to airworthy condition. A De Havilland Mosquito NF11 also makes regular taxi runs.

The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre is a privately owned and run Museum and was set up by two farming brothers, Fred and Harold Panton. It has been built up as a memorial to Bomber Command and primarily as a tribute to their eldest brother Christopher Whitton Panton; who was shot down and killed on a bombing raid over Nuremberg in March 1944.

On the night of 30/31 March 1944, Christopher Whitton Panton was flying in Handley Page Halifax HX272, one of 782 heavy bombers taking part in a raid on the German city of Nuremberg. This attack, known as RAF Bomber Command's "Black Friday", would become notorious for the high losses incurred - 108 British aircraft were lost, 665 aircrew were killed and 159 taken prisoner.

By the early 1970s, Christopher's younger brothers - Fred and Harold Panton - were successful poultry farmers. They became interested in acquiring a Second World War aircraft as a tribute to him and managed to obtain an option to purchase Avro Lancaster Mk VII, NX611, then serving as a gate guardian at RAF Scampton. The aircraft's purchase had the condition that it remain at Scampton until 1983. In 1981, they bought a part of the former Royal Air Force airfield, RAF East Kirkby, to be a site for the aircraft when it became available. The Lancaster was moved there in 1987 and has been there ever since.

The airfield was originally built in 1943 as a Bomber Command Station and was used by both No. 57 Squadron RAF and No. 630 Squadron RAF from 1943 until the end of the war. It had four years of post-war use by United States Air Force for Air Rescue squadrons before military use ceased in 1958. The airfield was sold in 1964. Much of the runway is still intact today and it is used by local farmers as hard standing.

'Just Jane' makes regular taxi runs which raises some of the money needed to maintain and restore it. It is hoped that the Lancaster can be restored to airworthy condition.

The centre also houses the cockpit of an English Electric Canberra WH957, the wreckage of Supermarine Spitfire BL655 which crashed in July 1943, killing its Canadian pilot, Flying Officer Norman Alexander Watt, and there are two aircraft undergoing restoration to flying condition, a Percival Proctor and a Handley Page Hampden. There is also a Barnes Wallis Bouncing Bomb as well as twelve Second World War-era, RAF ground vehicles.

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre Address & Travel
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre
East Kirkby
PE23 4DE
Telephone: 01790 763207

The museum is located in East Kirkby, Lincolnshire and the satnav postcode is PE23 4DE.

Travelling by car it should take about an hour from Lincoln or half an hour from Skegness.

Public Transport:
The closest train stations to East Kirkby are Boston, Skegness and Thorpe Culvert. There is also a train station at Lincoln. A return bus runs hourly from Lincoln to Skegness stopping at the nearest town to East Kirkby called Spilsby. Although there is a bus stop outside the Centre's gate you will need to book a callconnect bus to stop there. This can be done online Book a callconnect bus. There are also taxi firms based at Spilsby, Boston and Lincoln.

How much does it cost?
The admission fee can be found on the official website.

What are the Opening Hours?
The Opening Hours can be found on the official website.

For more information then visit the
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre official website.

Accommodation: postcode - PE23 4DE

Museum Aircraft

Museum Aircraft:
Avro Lancaster 'Just Jane' (NX611)
De Havilland Mosquito NF11 (HJ711)
English Electric Canberra cockpit (WH957)
Supermarine Spitfire wrekage (BL655)
Handley Page Hampden restoration project
Percival Proctor restoration project
DC3 Dakota 'Drag em oot' (N473DC)

Museum Weapons:
Barnes Wallis Bouncing Bomb

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre Photograph:

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre - Phil Catleugh