During the Second World War, Britain's Royal Air Force was divided into a number of functional and geographic commands in line with an organisation that had first been implemented in 1936. Bomber Command was based in Great Britain and was responsible for bombing targets in enemy-controlled Europe. At the height of its operations in late 1944 Bomber Command comprised over 80 operational squadrons. These squadrons were organised into several groups on the basis of their role, the type of aircraft they operated, and the locations of the airfields from which they operated. In 1939 these groups were numbered 2-5 and by the end of the war Bomber Command comprised 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Canadian), 8 (Pathfinder), 100 (Special Duties), and 91, 92 and 93 (Training) groups. Approximately 10,000 Royal Australian Air Force personnel served with Bomber Command and 3,486 were killed.
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"G For George" Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster B1, known with affection as "G for George", has a remarkable history. "G for George" flew eighty nine operational missions over Germany and occupied Europe during the height of the bomber offensive. From the time it was built in 1942 until its retirement from active service in 1944, the bomber was flown by No. 460 Squadron RAAF (when in Britain).
The plane has always been one of the most popular exhibits at the Australian War Memorial. After undergoing extensive restoration at the Australian War Memorial's Treloar Conservation workshops, it went back on display in Anzac Hall in "Striking by night", a permanent exhibition featuring a dramatic sound and light show that re-creates a night bombing operation over Berlin in December 1943. Three German Messerschmitt fighter aircraft also feature in the display.
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