Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Canberra - Survivor WH887

TT.18 WH887 - Andrew Shemans, Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire

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Canberra TT.18 WH887 at Sywell, 3rd April 2015; Damien Burke

WH887 was built as a B.2 for the RAF by Short Brothers at Belfast. She was delivered to the RAF on 29th January 1954, and was issued to 1323 Flight at RAF Wyton, which was primarily a Canberra PR.7 Unit. She was immediately thrown into action with two flights through H-bomb clouds during the American "Castle" thermonuclear bomb trials at Bikini and Eniwetok (now Enewetak) Atolls in May 1954. She later served with 542 Squadron at RAF Weston Zoyland, 21 Squadron at RAF Upwood and also the Station Flight there before she was converted to a TT.18 by EE during 1968/1969. She was then stored for a while before entering RN service with the Fleet Requirements Unit (FRU) at Hurn.

She was flown and maintained by civilian staff of Airwork Services Ltd. and was operated from Dorset until the unit moved to RNAS Yeovilton in 1972, eventually becoming the Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Unit (FRADU). She bounced between service with FRADU and storage periods until her retirement in November 1992.

After retirement, WH887 was ferried to Llanbedr and eventually dismantled there in 2002, with the rear fuselage being scrapped in 2004. The cockpit was sold to GJD Services who moved her to Crondall in Hampshire. WH887 was sold on to a pair of private collectors who transported the nose section to Upwood for restoration, winning an award at the 2009 Cockpitfest event. By 2014 she had caught the eye of Ben Brown and Andrew Shemans at the Sywell Aviation Museum and they acquired her in October of that year. Since then her restoration has continued, with Andrew becoming sole owner as he became ever more smitten!

In May 2020, the cockpit was moved to Bruntingthorpe so she could receive some TLC with help from the Classic British Jets Collection. This is only a temporary move; WH887 should return to Sywell at some point within the next year or so.

Information on this page current as of 31/12/2021, last updated by Damien

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