Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Canberra - Survivor WH953

B.6 WH953 - Privately Owned, Walpole, Suffolk

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Canberra B.6 WH953 at Walpole, 2nd August 2020; Richard E Flagg

Built as a B.6, WH953 was ready for collection in January 1955 and was put onto the RAF's charge. She was, however, delivered to the Radar Research Establishment's works at Defford the same month and was taken off the RAF's charge a month later. During 1956 to 1958, WH953 was involved in installations and trials of the AI Mk 20 radar until, in 1959, she was transferred to RRE Pershore and modified to a "long nose" standard.

Further trials were carried out including experimental installations of "single dish" CW AI radar during 1961 to 1963. From 1963 to 1969, WH953, still with the RRE, was involved in experimental trials with the FMI CW radar system, a conversion of the CW AI radar, then during the period 1969 to 1971 was used in the research for the JP236 AEW system. This was followed by a spell at Marconi during the development of the Tornado ADV's AI radar until, in 1977 this B.6 ended up at the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment at Bedford.

There is no history for WH953 for any of her post-Bedford life, but she was still active and flying in 1993 and disposed of at some point after that. The nose section is now preserved at Blyth Valley Aviation Collection, Walpole, Suffolk. A recent photo of the cockpit seen above shows it in fairly poor exterior condition and crammed in to a small farm building. Hopefully WH953 will be cleaned up in the future to make her more presentable.

Information on this page current as of 01/08/2020, last updated by Damien

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