Thunder & Lightnings

English Electric Canberra - Survivor XH169

PR.9 XH169 - RAF Marham (gate guard), Norfolk

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Canberra PR.9 XH169 at RAF Marham, 21st June 2012; Richard E Flagg

XH169 was delivered to 15 MU Wroughton on 4 August 1960 for acceptance checks before being released onto the charge of 58 Sqn at RAF Wyton. This PR.9's service life was fairly uneventful and, when 58 Sqn gave up its PR.9s (58 Sqn, D Flight) in December 1962, XH169 transferred to the charge of 39 Sqn - then based at RAF Luqa, Malta.

XH169 next spent a while with MoD(PE) (Procurement Executive) before returning to RAF service with 13 Sqn. Around 1972, 13 Sqn had its PR.9s replaced by PR.7s and XH169 transferred back to 39 Sqn at RAF Wyton. She stayed with 39 Sqn when they were re-designated 1 PRU and moved to RAF Marham after which XH169 contributed to the photo-recce role of the squadron. She also took part in operations during the second Gulf War during which she sported the nose-art of 'Persian Princess' along with mission markings.

The airframe retired at RAF Marham in 2006 and was stripped for spares including cockpit instruments and engines. Once stripped, and after the cessation of Canberra flying and the disbandment of 39 Squadron, XH169 finally took up gate guard duties at RAF Marham, with the canopy receiving a black coat of paint to protect the plexiglass and probably to hide the empty cockpit too.

Unfortunately, she is not on public view due to being on display by Station Headquarters rather than actually at the gate, so permission to see her needs to be sought from the Marham Community Relations Officer.

Information on this page current as of 07/09/2021, last updated by Damien

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