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Cold War History – Cuban Missile Crisis

From February 1962 onwards two jets in every major RAF base, armed with nuclear weapons, were on standby for Quick Reaction Alert (QRA). QRA is a permanent state of readiness to “scramble” when an alert is received. Britain was applying…

A personal view of the Canberra PR7 – 1959-61

I had flown the Canberra B2 for three years before converting to the Photo Reconnaissance version in 1959. The difference from a three man B2 to a two man PR7 meant that the navigator was expected to do some of…

Black Buck Memories

Barry Masefield, former XH558 Air Electronics Officer, relives his experiences back in 1982.  This article first appeared in a special 20th Anniversary edition of ‘The Vulcan’ Magazine in May 2002.  The Build-up It was 04.30 hours on 2nd April 1982, when 150…

Cold War Stories: Red Steer – The Firebar Affair

An espionage story from 1966 – by Jim Debenham, VTST Volunteer If this were a fictional story it would have been written by none other than Ian Fleming, with James Bond as the lead character. During the heady days of…

Flying the Vulcan During the Cold War

Reproduced from The Vulcan(Club Magazine) 23 Apr 08 Martin Withers Recently, during one of her campaign speeches, I heard Hilary Clinton state quite simply about her defence policy, that if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel or…

Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent Development – Part One

The discovery of the neutron and its properties is central to the extraordinary developments that lead to the first atomic bomb in 1945, and the subsequent years of nuclear deterrent. Britain could be considered the birthplace of atomic vision and…

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NEWS

The latest news from the Trust

October Lottery Draw

558 Lottery winners announced for October 2020

November Lottery Draw

558 Lottery winners announced for October 2020

December Lottery Draw

558 Lottery winners announced for October 2020

Green Technology to be at the heart of new aviation visitor experience

A Green Technology Hub will be at the heart of the new Vulcan Experience, giving young people an insight into how scientists and engineers are tackling the climate change challenge. The charity responsible for returning Vulcan XH558 to flight is…

Names Under the Wing Update

We are very pleased to announce that the name plaques for the Diamond Anniversary of XH558’s First Test Flight have now been applied. This new set of plaques joins supporters’ names from previous campaigns; the 25th Anniversary of XH558’s Final…

September Lottery Draw

558 Lottery winners announced for September 2020

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AIRCRAFT

Read about the aircraft

Vulcan VX770

In 1946 the Air Ministry drew up requirements for bombers to replace the existing piston-engine heavy bombers such as the Avro Lancaster and the Avro Lincoln. The Air Staff Operational Requirement OR.229 was for ‘a medium-range bomber landplane capable of…

Canberra WK163

Built by AV Roe at Woodford in 1954 as part of a contract for 100 B2 Canberra aircraft, WK163 was taken on charge with controller (aircraft) on 28th January 1955. The same day the aircraft was transferred to Armstrong Siddeley…

Vulcan XH558

Avro Vulcan serial number XH558 was ordered under a MoD contract placed in September 1954. XH558 was completed at Avro’s Woodford factory in 1960 and was first flown on 25 May that year. The aircraft was finally completed on 30…

Vulcan XL427

Completed on 29 September 1962 and fitted with Olympus 201 engines. Blue Steel modified. Served with: 83 Squadron October 1962 (Scampton Wing), 617 Squadron September 1969, 27 Squadron March 1971, 230 OCU June 1972, 617 Squadron July 1972, 230 OCU…

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SQUADRONS

Read about the squadrons that operated the aircraft

617 Squadron

Aprés moi, le déluge – (After me, the flood) Badge: On a roundel, a wall in fesse, fracted by three flashes of lightning in pile and issuant from the breach water proper – approved by King George VI in March…

12 (B) Squadron

Leads the Field Badge: A fox’s mask – approved by King George VI in February 1937. Based on a suggestion when the squadron was equipped with the Fairey Fox, an aircraft of which they were proud and the sole operators.…

35 (XXXV) Squadron

Uno animo agimus – (We act with one accord) Badge: A horse’s head winged. The badge commemorates co-operation with the Calvary during the First World War. Formed on 1 February 1916 at Thetford, Norfolk, from a nucleus flight of No.9…

9 Squadron

Per noctem volamus – (Throughout the night we fly) Badge: A bat – approved by King Edward VIII in November 1936 as an authorised version of a badge highlighting the Squadron’s night-bombing duties. Formed at St Omer, France on 8…

83 Squadron

Strike to defend Badge: An attire. The red deer’s antler is in reference to the squadron’s association with Scotland. The attire has six points commemorating an outstanding occasion in the First World War when six DFCs were awarded for one…

27 Squadron

Quam celerrime ad astra – (With all speed to the Stars) Badge: An elephant – approved by HM King Edward VIII in October 1936. The badge was based on an unofficial emblem first used in 1934 and commemorates the Squadron’s…

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AIRFIELD

Read about where all aircraft were located

RAF Wyton

In times of heightened international tension, the V-force, already loaded with their nuclear weapons, could be flown from their main base to a further 26 dispersal bases, where they could be kept at a few minutes readiness to take-off. The…

RAF Scampton

RAF Scampton stands on the site of a First World War Royal Flying Corps landing field, which had been called Brattleby. The station was closed and returned to agriculture following the First World War, and reactivated in the 1930s. It…

RAF Finningley

During the refurbishment of the Royal Flying Corps station at Doncaster in 1915, a decision was taken to move operations temporarily to an airstrip at Bancroft Farm at Finningley. This flight of aircraft is thought to have consisted of Royal…

RAF Waddington

RAF Waddington is located beside the village of Waddington, just south of Lincoln. The station opened in 1916 as a Royal Flying Corps flying training station. Hundreds of pilots, including members of the US Army, were taught to fly a…

RAF Cottesmore

We Rise to Our Obstacles RAF Cottesmore opened on 11 March 1938. The station was used mainly for training, and the first squadrons were equipped with Vickers Wellesley aircraft, but soon converted to Fairey Battles. Later RAF Bomber Command took…

RAF Honington

RAF Honington is a Royal Air Force station located 6 mi (9.7 km) south of Thetford near Ixworth in Suffolk, England. Although used as a bomber station during the Second World War, RAF Honington is now the RAF Regiment depotConstruction…

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