Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Foggy Parade of Lightnings

On a cold, foggy, rainy English morning, a parade of Lockheed Lightnings move slowly down the cobblestone streets. They have just been unloaded from a ship, after crossing the Atlantic from America, and are being towed to the airfield where they will be reassembled and flown into the fray. This official Lockheed Aircraft photo is hand-date 5-27-43 on the back.

The only hint at the location that I can see in the photo is the sign that says "S" on the opposite street corner, behind the left boom. In small letters (discernible in the hi-res scan, but not this low-res web version) that sign also says "Shelton" with an arrow pointing to the left. If this is referring to Shelton, Staffordshire, that puts this scene quite aways inland, and I'm not sure why the planes would have been towed so far. If anyone wants to figure out a more precise location for the shot, I'd love to hear from you!

Wikimedia Commons has a photo of Lightnings, which can be seen at this link, with similar wrapping sitting on a baby aircraft carrier in New York, just before leaving for their trans-Atlantic voyage to England.


  1. The location of these planes is probably Liverpool, so they've only been towed a short distance from the docks. See: http://www.retronaut.com/2012/10/mustangs-in-liverpool/

  2. The sign you refer to "S" I think says shelter not Shelton and is pointing to the nearest Air raid shelter and not a road direction sign as they would have been removed. I agree it's almost certainly Liverpool.

  3. I have done some research and they were towed from Liverpool Docks to nearby Speke Airport ( 5 miles away ) then fully assembled and flown on.

  4. With help of my wife which is from Liverpool : The photo has probably been shot in Garston (Liverpool), the nearest docks from Speke airfield, about one mile away. "Speke (near Liverpool) was Lockheed's assembly facility called officially the "British Re-assembly Division" ; planes arrived via Liverpool's Garston Docks on freighters with outer wing panels removed. They were assembled and engines tested at Speke..." (ref. http://raf-112-squadron.org/78thfghonor_roll_mto.html)

    1. I'm also from Liverpool. They were probably not unloaded at Garston docks, which though nearer Speke airport only handles smaller ships.
      Other pictures show planes being towed past the Liver building in the center of the dock area.


      It was about a 5 mile road trip.