Photo of Bristol Bolingbroke Mk. IVT

 Click on one of the thumbnails below to access the 22 photos of this aircraft.

  • Status: On display
  • Airworthiness: Under restoration to static condition
  • Type: Bomber
  • Serial Number: RCAF 10117
  • Current Markings: RCAF 714
  • Length: 42 ft 9 in
  • Wingspan: 56 ft 4 in
  • Power: 920 hp
  • Engine: 2 x Bristol Mercury XV
  • Maximum Speed: 288 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 200 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 27,000 ft
  • Range: 1,400 miles

Aircraft Description

In 1937, the Bristol Aeroplane Co. was developing the Bolingbroke as an improved version of its Blenheim Mk. I, light bomber. As the British Air Ministry was more interested in speeding up the supply of Blenheims to the RAF than with developing an improved type, development of the Bolingbroke was handed over to the RCAF, who urgently needed a modern reconnaissance bomber. The first Bolingbroke flew from Filton, England, in September 1937 and was then shipped to Canada for further testing.

Fairchild Aircraft, of Longueuil, Quebec was licenced to manufacture the Bolingbroke, in November 1937 and the first Bolingbroke Mk. I flew in September 1939. An early Bolingbroke was fitted with North American instruments and was designated the Bolingbroke Mk. II. The Bolingbroke Mk. III was a seaplane version, which according to test reports had excellent flying characteristics. However, although 24 seaplanes were ordered, only one was ever built. The most numerous Bolingbroke was the Mk. IV, which had the basic British airframe fitted with Bristol Mercury XV engines, together with North American instruments and equipment. The Mk. IVT was the trainer version.

During WW II, Bolingbrokes initially equipped eight RCAF Coastal Command squadrons on anti submarine patrols, off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. However, most Bolingbrokes were used as trainers with the bombing and gunnery schools of the BCATP. Bolingbrokes were phased out of RCAF service at the end of the war in 1945.

A total of 626 Bristol Bolingbrokes were manufactured in Canada between 1939 and 1943. Another 1,980 Blenheim Mk. IVs similar to the Bolingbroke, were built in the UK for the RAF, during the same time period.

The Museum's Bolingbroke Mk IVT is currently being rebuilt from the remains of eight aircraft, salvaged from Manitoba, in the mid 1980s. When the long restoration process is complete, the aircraft will be painted in the colours and markings of RCAF No. 119 "City of Hamilton" Squadron.

© Canadian Warplane Heritage 2024