The Ten Deadliest British Bombers In WWII

YouTube / Caliban Rising - Aviation History

Did you ever wonder which British bomber was the deadliest aircraft of WWII? Not the deadliest for the enemy – but for the crew. So, in which British aircraft did the most men from RAF Bomber Command die?

  1. Fairey Battle

Of the crew who operated the Battle, 280 crewmen would perish. This is a relatively low proportion of the total 57,750 men of all ranks who died in Bomber Command.

  1. Avro Manchester

This aircraft was used in fairly small numbers during its short service. With the Manchester, 375 young men died while operating the type. It should be noted that the aircraft was notoriously unreliable, with many of its deaths coming from flying accidents rather than enemy fire.

  1. De Havilland Mosquito

Often touted as the safest British plane in WWII with the highest crew survival rate, 626 men still failed to return from their sorties. One reason for this is the fact that Mosquitoes were sent to some of the most hazardous missions as the war progressed.

  1. Bristol Blenheim

Despite its much shorter operational career, the Blenheim is associated with more than double the deaths as the Mosquito. 1,755 air crew died operating this beautiful, yet obsolete bomber in the early years of the war.

  1. Armstrong Whitworth Whitley

2,0001 men would die flying the Whitley during WWII. It was exclusively operated by six squadrons of No. 4 Group before it was relegated to other duties.

  1. Handley Page Hampden 

Used primarily in the first couple of years of the war, the Hampden found its niche as a mine layer. 2,052 men would then die from Bomber Command while operating the Hampden.

  1. Short Stirling

Coming it an number four is the famous Short Stirling. One of the first heavy bombers to reach frontline squadrons, this aircraft was operated by 4,182 men who died in combat.

  1. Vickers Wellington

The workhorse of Bomber Command would have 10,020 men die during service. Many of these men were killed while in Advanced Training.

  1. Handley Page Halifax

This bomber was not as widely used as the Avro Lancaster, but it was more than capable of the role it was given. 11,238 men were lost in Halifaxes, the majority of which served in No. 4 group and No.6 Group for all Canadian Air Force.

  1. Avro Lancaster

Of course, the top British bomber in terms of crew losses is the Avro Lancaster. 21,579 men died using the Lancaster, a number not far off from the total losses of the other nine bombers on the list.


Most of those familiar with these aircraft wouldn’t probably be surprised by these numbers. After all, Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Stirlings were all used and produced extensively throughout the war.