||The twin-engine Wellington was the mainstay of Bomber Command until 1942, when the four-engine heavy bombers entered service. The Wellington prototype took to the air for the first time in June 1936 and production models entered service with the Royal Air Force in October 1938. By September 1939 Bomber Command had eight Wellington squadrons, which increased to 21 by the beginning of 1942. It was widely nicknamed the "Wimpey" after the character in the Popeye cartoon strip, J. Wellington Wimpey.
Wellingtons were the first bombers used to attack Germany in September 1939, but like all British bombers of the war they were lightly armed and suffered heavily from attacks by German fighters. In 1940 the Wellington squadrons were switched to night raids. The unique geodetic latticework construction of the Wellington made it particularly robust - able to sustain remarkable amounts of flak damage and yet still keep flying. The last Wellingtons were withdrawn from service over Germany and occupied Europe in 1943 but continued to serve in the Mediterranean theatre and over Burma until the end of the war. The Wellington proved a versatile aircraft and was also employed as a maritime patrol aircraft, a minelayer, and a transport. In all, 11,461 Wellingtons were built during the war, making it the numerous multi-engine aircraft produced by Britain.