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Worker’s Weekend – Wellington LN514

Photo: Work continues on a Wellington at the Brooklands factory.

 

Last month, we shared British Pathé newsreel footage showing Wellington bombers training with torpedoes, and we alluded to it being possible to construct and fly off a Wellington in 24 hours. Following on from that, we explore the incredible build story of Wellington LN514.

In 1943 workers at one factory in Broughton, Flintshire, Wales, gave up a weekend to try and build a Wellington in under 30 hours. They donated their wages for this special shift to the Red Cross.

Vickers Armstrong Wellington production at Brooklands, 13 July 1939. (Key Collection)

If they were successful, they’d smash a record held by a Californian factory. The effort was filmed by the Ministry of Information to create a propaganda piece, Worker’s Week-end, to boost morale, praise the workforce (more than 6,000 worked at the factory, half of them were women), and to drive recruitment. The film, which was narrated by Flying Officer J. Peach, RCAF, was released in October 1943 and was also shown in America.

Thanks to footage being made available by The National Archives, and hosted by Charlie Dean Archives, you can watch Worker’s Week-end below.

Normally, the factory churned out around 30 Wellingtons a week at peak production, the aircraft taking an average of 60 hours to build. Reportedly, the test pilot had to be woken, as the aircraft was completed long before the deadline set by the workers. LN514 lifted off the ground 24 hours and 48 minutes after construction began and was ferried to its unit the same day.

LN514 was used as a training aircraft and survived the war, it was scrapped in 1948.

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