Bolingbroke Mk.IV W
UK — RAF WW-II maritime patrol bomber aircraft

Archive Photos

Bristol "Bolingbroke Mk.IV W" RAF WW-II Maritime Patrol Bomber Aircraft (Restoration Project) c.2003 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Mount Hope, Ontario, Canada (Photos by John Shupek)

Overview 2

The Bristol Fairchild Bolingbroke was a maritime patrol aircraft and trainer used by the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Built by Fairchild-Canada, it was a license-built version of the Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV bomber.

Design and Development 2

In 1935, the British Air Ministry issued Specification G.24/35 to procure a coastal reconnaissance/light bomber to replace the Avro Anson. Bristol proposed the Type 149, based on its Blenheim Mk.I, with Bristol Aquila engines to give greater range. While the Air Ministry rejected this proposal, a Blenheim Mk.I, retaining its Mercury VIII engines, was converted as a Type 149 (Blenheim Mk.III) for the general reconnaissance role. The nose was lengthened to provide more room for the bombardier, with the upper left surface of the nose being scooped out to maintain pilot visibility during takeoff and landing.

The longer range also fulfilled a Canadian requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft. Consequently, Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada) of Quebec started production of the Blenheim Mk.IV as the Bolingbroke (the originally intended name for the Blenheim IV). This type was nicknamed the "Bolly". After a small run of aircraft constructed to British specifications, as the Bolingbroke Mk.I, Fairchild switched production to the Bolingbroke Mk.IV with Canadian and American instruments and equipment. These versions also included anti-icing boots and a dinghy. One of the early Mk.IV variants was the Bolingbroke Mk.IVW which was powered by two 825 hp (615 kW) Pratt & Whitney SB4G Twin Wasp Junior engines. Incapable of maintaining altitude on one engine, the normal bomb load was reduced to 500 pounds on these aircraft to compensate for the low engine power. The most-produced variant was the Bolingbroke Mk.IVT trainer, of which 457 were completed. A total of 626 Bolingbrokes were produced.

Operational History 2

Most of the 151 Mk.IVs built served in their intended role as patrol bombers on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada between 1940 and 1944. Two squadrons of these aircraft also served in Alaska during the Aleutians campaign. The Mk.IVT trainers saw extensive use in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).

Variants 2

Operators 2

Specifications (Bolingbroke Mk.IV) 2

General Characteristics




  1. Shupek, John. Photos, Copyright © 2009 Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Bristol Bolingbroke


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