That was me, Michael. Not. My interest in obsolete weapons of war began in 1967 when I found a bomber for sale (a Lancaster) in 'Exchange & Mart', a UK publication advertising apartments, dogs, cars for sale etc. A bomber was too good an opportunity to miss. At least I wish. It was only £250. I must say the prices seem to have gone up since ...
Mike, I will pass on the aircraft carrier.
Monica, a Lancaster would look good here on my property. £250 was a lot of money back than - though the one in the Australia War Memorial was just returned back there following 3 years of renovation. Although the aircraft is on static display, the entire plane is complete including those lovely Merlin's.
Renovation cost was $5 million. (Australian $ is worth 76c US$)
I believe there is only one airworthy Lanc, the City of Lincoln which is based in the UK.
Anyways it just after midnight here and it’s therefore 2004.
This whole business is shrounded in the years gone by for me. It seems impossible, yet I saw it. I was a teenager, and I'd just discovered this great magazine where you could buy anything - but I wasn't prepared for a bomber. It just said "Bomber for sale" under B. It was only 27 years after the end of the war (like 1977 now), but who on earth had the bomber, and how did they get it? I wouldn't actually swear to it being a Lanc, though I think it was. It might have been a Halifax, but definitely not a Wellington. I live in Farnborough (Airshow town) and we usually get the City of Lincoln coming in every two years - it's a rather spooky aircraft, all black, with that drone we know so well from the movies. You must have quite a spread, if you could land a Lanc!! Happy New Year.
The bid is now up to US $7,901,400.00. So far, 48 people have bid on it.
Monica, I can think of any number of warbird groups that would love to get their mits on a Lancaster, especially if the machine could be made airworthy. By all accounts, there are very few of them around that are.
158 bids as I post this and the price is up to US $91,000,100.00-
I would hope that this points to a legitamate interest rather then some sick gag. At that sort of price, this ship won't be going to the shipbreakers (Intentionally) assuming the offers are legit. I would hope that this points to a museum foundation taking an interest, but if so, I have to wonder where they're getting the money since most such outfits often operate on a shoestring.
Okay...call me a cynic...but something here doesn't smell right.
Probably some despot princeling who knows he couldn't get himself an aircraft carrier any other way. Who put it on the Ebay in the first place? The US Govt? French? (I'm assuming it is a US ship, not many countries make aircraft carriers) It'll probably turn up on the Caspian Sea sometime. I must say, it does sound like a joke to me, but I suppose it can't be. It's what I was saying about my Exchange & Mart Bomber (most similar if you think about it) - just where did it come from? Ex-RAF planes don't just turn up in private hands, unless wrecks on a farm or something. I remember my bomber said "one careful owner" or "good working order" or some such similar nonsense!
Also here's some info about the sources of WW2 aircraft used in the film Battle Of Britain, which was in production at about the time you saw that ad and which had something in common with Cameron's Titanic - nice hardware, shame about the script.
Just discovered it's one of ours! Or was, the HMS Vengeance from decades ago, gone to Brasil via a loan to Australia at one point. I think EBay has had some accusations of arms dealings from the statement they posted on the site about decommissioning. The whole thing is fairly peculiar, I wonder if we'll ever find out who offered it for sale. My money is still on the despot princeling for a buyer ....
I caught the thing being invalided about an hour ago. Monica, I don't think you'd have to worry about a despot getting their hands on an obsolete and worn out 60 year old carrier. Not this way in any event. Those hulls which exist which are militarily useful are few and far between and even fewer are even being offered for sale. I only know of one...a Russian Kiev class V/STOL carrier...that's being eyed by the indian Navy.
Personally, I think the whole thing was an attempt at fraud so transparant that eBay simply pulled the plug. When I saw the jump to $60,000,000 yesterday, and noted that the sellors said they were brokers rather then the actual owners, I began to smell a rat.
While it's not unusual for ships of any description to be put up for auction...especially if they were seized to pay outrstanding debts...eBay is not the usual venue for such transactions.
Well ... entertained at the thought really, Michael, rather than worried. There's a fair history, as I'm sure you know, of despot princelings eager to buy up kit nobody wants any more, even if they can't do much with it anyway. And if it wasn't one of them, I bet it was a bunch of giggling teenagers in the boondocks out-bidding each other - as you say, the whole thing is quite absurd. EBay indeed!
>>Well ... entertained at the thought really, Michael, rather than worried. There's a fair history, as I'm sure you know, of despot princelings eager to buy up kit nobody wants any more, even if they can't do much with it anyway.<<
I wouldn't dispute that on general terms. However most of these blokes like to go for something that they have some reasonable expectation that they might be able to use. Submarines seem to be the happening thing among warships, especially if they have air independant propulsion systems. Imagine the fun the Iranians could have with the three ex-Russian Kilos if they really want to close off the Straits of Hormuz? The acoustics there are...to put it mildly...challanging, and a diesel boat running submerged on batteries in shuch conditions is an anti-submarine operators worst nightmare.
They don't even have to trouble themselves with challanging anybody's navy directly. All they have to do is torpedo a couple of tankers and you better believe that Lloyds of London along with the rest of the maritime community will get the message.
Aircraft carriers are by contrast extremely complex machines and working up an air group so they do something a bit more useful then crashing into the stern is challanging to say the least. The Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy has had nearly 80 years of experience in this and still manage to muck up the works from time to time. Think what it would be like for somebody starting from scratch!!!!
So-o-o-o-o...carriers don't concern me, but the submarine threat does.
A Lancaster for 250,-???? Unbelievable even if it was in 1967. When my dad was still in the airforce he used to take my brother and me out to the airfield and we were allowed to have a snoop inside Victors and Vulcans. Their interiors had this perculiar "oily" smell which I'll never forget. One of our friends had a nose section of a Canberra in his back yard to play in!
The Panton brothers who now own NX611 also had a Halifax offered to them at a very good price many years ago. They refused the offer and a few years later got the Lancaster instead.
The only surviving Halifax in the RAF museum is in a pretty sorry state. They ought to have it restored; but then of course one doesn't restore a WWII bomber quite as easy as a motorcycle or a car.
I remember hearing on the news that about six or seven Lancasters were found buried outside an RAF base in the UK. This was about ten years ago and I never heard anything about it since.
NX611 - is that Just Jane? Yes, I think £250 is pretty unbelievable, in fact I thought the whole thing was. The only reason I think it was a Lanc is that my boyfriend's father flew them, and it stuck in my mind. In fact, he was the pilot scheduled to fly the Polish Prime Minister in exile out of Gibralta, but he was pulled at the last moment and someone else flew it and it crashed into the sea, killing all aboard. He always thought it odd.
Yes, that's the one. I went to East Kirby many years ago and saw it there. That was before it did some taxying up and down the runway. Thinking about it I am not entirely surprised to see that a Lanc was on offer for that price in the 1960s. The RAF had thousands of them after the war. Anyone with a decent amount of pocket money could buy one. Someone salvaged a complete Lancaster from lake Geneva in the 60s. He also raised three B17s but these weren't in as good condition as the Lancaster was. He tried to sell them to collecters but no one came forward so they were scrapped. All that survived of this Lancaster is the rear turret.