Series 1 - Episode 3: Wingwalker

Wingwalker

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Like all the Allied bombers of World War II, the crew of the Lancaster ME669 had an extremely dangerous job: avoiding deadly enemy fire while dropping high-powered explosives over Nazi Germany. Without them, Hitler may have emerged victorious.

But the tactic called 'total war', a controversial strategy that turned cities into legitimate targets, overshadowed their legacy. Yet for the more than 100,000 volunteers, half of whom would not return, there was no other option.

The rookie crew of Lancaster ME669 began their careers with a near-death crash landing. But the band of brothers bounced back with vigour, determined to defy the grim statistics of their profession. Ordered to fly 30 missions, no one expected them to make it past 14.

Somehow luck was on their side and despite another crash landing and blood curdling missions over Berlin, Germany's most defended city, their heroic feats piled up. That is until their final mission, when they were forced to go deep into the heart of industrial Germany. This time, the men would not be so lucky.

In April 1944, in one of the most heroic acts of the World War II, as the Lancaster tore through the night at 200 miles an hour, Sergeant Norman Jackson climbed onto the wing to try to fight a fire in a fuel tank while under attack from a German fighter at 22,000 feet.

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