NEARLY 100 sightseers gathered at a war memorial to watch the last pair of airworthy Lancaster bombers fly over Colchester for the final time.

Flanked by a Spitfire and a Hurricane fighter, the British and Canadian planes flew over a monument to the crew of a Lancaster bomber which crashed near what is now Ipswich Road in April 1944.

The Second World War aircraft, part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, flew over the town at precisely 2.55pm yesterday afternoon en route to Clacton Air Show.

Those gathered included history enthusiasts and men who remember seeing a Lancaster crash on April 25, 1944, while returning from a bombing mission to Karlsruhe, Germany.

A group of friends helped put together the monument in honour of the crew of Brits and Canadians unsuccessfully tried to crash land at Boxted Airfield after being attacked by German fighters.

Roy Tolhurst, one of the organisers, said the Lancasters were not getting any younger and it was probably the last chance to see them in action.

He said: “It’s a privilege to have the Lancasters come over.

“With the schedule they’ve got at the moment we never expected them to do this, but they offered to do it.

“The turnout is absolutely amazing.”

Organisers thanked Space Maker and Stanfords Cattle Market for letting visitors use their car parks.

The two surviving aircraft are expected to visit about 60 air shows and public events across the UK over the next five weeks.