NOTE: While this item cannot be truly classified as an Original Aircraft Collectable being a later production run 1960 model of the Pyrene Type P1 (albeit identical to those carried aboard the Avro Lancaster) - it does have a fascinating connection to one of the most daring and courageous acts undertaken by an RAF crew member in WWII and having just come across this amazing story, I couldn't resist including it here and believe it would still make an incredible conversation piece, mounted on its stand with detailed scale model of the Lancaster perched above. What do you think?
Like many of the RAF’s heavy bombers, the Avro Lancaster was installed with an inboard engine fire suppression system operated from the Flight Engineer’s main systems panel. If one of the Lancaster’s 4 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines caught fire, the Flight Engineer would immediately turn off the master fuel cock to that engine, activate its extinguisher and feather the prop.
For fires elsewhere on the Lancaster, the crew member closest to the outbreak would grab one of the wall-mounted brass Pyrene fire extinguishers and after pumping its handle, direct its nozzle at the base of the flame.
Originally developed for the fledgling automobile industry in 1912, the Pyrene’s small compact shape and high velocity spray made it an ideal portable extinguisher for the RAF’s heavy bombers with its carbon tetrachloride mix vaporising and extinguishing the flames by interfering with the chemical reaction.
One incredible account of its use was during an RAF bomber Command raid on the Germain industrial city of Schweinfurt on the night of 26th April 1944 when after successfully dropping its load over the target, a Lancaster from the RAF’s Pathfinder 106 Squadron was attacked by night fighters who managed to score a number of hits and set the Lancaster’s starboard wing alight.
Already injured by shell fragments, the Flight Engineer, Sergeant Norman Cyril Jackson, convinced the pilot he could climb out of the cockpit onto the wing and extinguish the blaze between the fuselage and the inner engine.
Grabbing the Pyrene from its holder above the navigation desk he pushed it down into the top of his life jacket and clipping on a parachute started climbing out of the jettisoned escape hatch above the pilot's head.
Unfortunately before he could fully leave the hatch, his parachute opened with the canopy and lines spilling into the cockpit. Undaunted, he continued climbing out onto the wing with the pilot, bomb aimer and navigator gathering the parachute together and paying out the lines as Sergeant Jackson crawled along the fuselage to the flames.
With the aircraft travelling at almost 200mph and at thousands of feet above the ground, he made his way down onto the wing root but slipped, only just managing to grab hold of an air intake on the wing's leading edge.
Having lost the extinguisher in the fall and with the flames now spreading, Jackson was last seen being swept over the wing into the darkness with his clothing and parachute alight.
Realising the Lancaster was all but lost, the pilot gave the order for the remaining crew to bail out with all but the pilot and the tail gunner surviving.
Miraculously Sergeant Jackson made it to the ground alive and with a broken ankle, severe burns to his hands and one eye, was eventually interned in a German POW camp for the reminder of the war.
For his courageous attempt to extinguish the flames and save his fellow crew members, Sergeant Jackson was awarded the Victoria Flying Cross.
While this model is dated 1960, it remained unchanged from its wartime duties and is a beautiful example of function and form.
This later model of the Avro Lancaster Extinguisher comes complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in the aircraft cockpit.
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Dated 1960, please note that this is a later production run example but identical model of the wartime Type P1 Fire Extinguisher used in the Avro Lancaster
Your Avro Lancaster Pyrene Fire Extinguisher, Original Recovery Curios Warbird Collectable includes:
- Highly detailed hand-built and airbrushed 1/72 plastic scale model of the aircraft.
- Original Warbird instrument
- Hand-crafted and beautifully finished 100yr, Far North Queensland Mango Wood display stand
- Detailed, 2-sided, printed and laminated Instrument Fact Sheet detailing aircraft and instrument
- Removable Magnetic Display Arm
The heavily detailed scale model is available with wheels & flaps up or down and bomb bays open or closed. Upon order placement you will receive an email asking for your preferred configuration.
Your complete Recovery Curios Original Instrument Collectable is securely packed and delivery normally takes between 3 - 4 weeks approx..
Did you fly, crew or maintain an Avro Lancaster or have a friend, colleague or family member who did? Check out our PERSONALISED ORIGINAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTABLE OPTION here.