Short Stirling Heavy Bomber, Profiles and Logos

Profiles and Logos

The Stirling was the first of the RAF’s four engined heavy bombers to enter service in World War 2. The aircraft was originally developed as the S.29 receiving the name Stirling when it entered production. The design of the aircraft was restricted to a wingspan of 100ft due to the maximum hangar opening size of 112ft. The aircraft entered service with 7 Squadron in August 1940. The aircraft had a limited altitude and range compared with the other “Heavy” bombers but could manoeuvre well being able to out turn the Ju88 and Bf110 night fighters. When the RAF started to use large “Cookies” and “Specials” the Stirling became less useful with the aircraft being withdrawn from service as bombers from December 1943 however it continued to be used is specialist operations including dropping spies behind enemy lines. During 1943 a requirement for a powerful aircraft to tow heavy gliders was recognised and it was found that the Stirling met this role well.

The glider tug modification removed the nose and dorsal turrets and could also be used fro dropping paratroopers. The aircraft was used extensively in the Battle of Normandy and Operation Market Garden. The aircraft was also converted into a transport and 12 were used post war as airliners for Belgian airline Trans-air.