With the English Electric Canberra having been in RAF service for 55 years (from May 1951 to June 2006), there are thousands of people worldwide who have had contact in some way with the UK's first jet bomber. The Canberra Association was set up to provide a focus for those thousands with Canberra connections, enthusiasts, collectors and those with a healthy interest of this great aircraft.

The Association's Honorary President is Air Vice Marshal B Brownlow, CB OBE AFC FRAeS. John, as he is known, has extensive Canberra experience since he was on the service liaison team to visit Warton before the type entered service in 1951. The Honorary Sectretary is Phil Spencer, an ex-RAF and BAC Warton Canberra airframe specialist.

The provisional aims of the Canberra Association are:

  • Promote the outstanding memory of the Canberra aircraft and provide a contact organisation which will also publish newsletters and assist in the organisation of reunions.
  • Promote all aspects of the history of the Canberra and create an archive of related material.
  • Assist in the establishment of a Canberra Trust to support the flying operations of civilian-registered Canberra aircraft to ensure their continued operation and public appearance.

Membership is open to everyone with a past or present involvement with the Canberra and all those with an interest in it. The anual membership fee, which includes issue of newsletters and general correspondance, is 10 - [ that is ten UK pounds ]. To receive your registration form, send a large stamped and self-addressed envelope to :

    The Canberra Association
    PO Box 799
    St Ives
    PE27 5YU
    Great Britain
    E-mail your enquiry to the Association



This year saw the 50th anniversary of the Canberra going into service with 101 Sqn of the RAF. The Association's annual reunion, hosted most elegantly once again by RAF Wyton, was highlighted by 39 Sqn who took time from their busy schedule to attend with their "Blue One", a T.4 painted to represent the prototype. The weather was kind with brilliant sunshine, a soft wind off the airfield and high scattered clouds, "scattered" just as were the Grobs of the University Air Squadron when 39's T.4 joined the circuit and landed.

After an excellent buffet lunch provided by Wyton's Officer's Mess, members were bussed up onto the airfield to gather around "VN799". In the bright sunshine all the ex-Canberra men, and their wives, had the chance to re-acquaint themselves with the Queen of the Skies [and the unique smell of the cockpit].

Then all up to the PR.9 (XH170) at the main gate for a group photo. As you can see, the end result was a well disciplined group. . . which only took about 30 minutes to assemble.

Gathering around 39 Sqn's "Blue One" T.4

Association Members and RAF Wyton's PR.9 Gate Guard
[Click in photo for larger image]


Once again members of the Association gathered at the Black Horse pub in the village of Winterbourne Earls. Not so many this year but nevertheless a pleasant time was had by all. As before "Bee" Beamont, the Association's Honorary President joined us for a few beers, and some stimulating conversations, on a fine and sunny afternoon in the beer garden of this delightful country pub.

Black Horse
The Black Horse, Winterbourne Earls



Once again members congregated at the current home of the Canberra, RAF Marham. A glorious day, sun, high cloud, bit of a breeze and Canberras. As before, 39Sqn were gracious hosts and patient as well as the Association was given guided tours of the facility although, unfortunately, Wg Cmdr Howard (the Boss) couldn't be there.


Marham 2000t
Association Members and T.4, WJ866



Members of the Association gathered for a few beers and some lunch at the Black Horse pub in the village of Winterbourne Earls. "Bee" Beamont, the Association's Honorary President (right) joined us on a fine and sunny afternoon in the beer garden of this delightful country pub and, along with the rest of us, spent a few happy hours talking Canberras and remembering the men the flew and serviced them.

As an added attraction to the day, Mr Frank Lund brought along his PR.7 cockpit (WT536) although, like nearly all Canberras these days, someone has been modifying the entrance door . . . I for one certainly don't remember it being that hard to get into a Canberra!

Bee Beamont
"Bee" Beamont - May 2000



Marham 1999
Members visit Marham's Museum with (centre) Wg Cdr S. Howard, OC 39 Sqn.
39Sqn hangar 1999
Members inspect a T.4 and PR.9 in 39 Sqn hangar.
The Association visited 39 Sqn, RAF Marham, on 28 September 1999. The Can Assoc members were bussed onto the camp where Wing Commander Stephen Howard met us in the Ops Centre. We all enjoyed a very interesting slide-supported presentation about 39 Sqn, the aircraft, the role and the future, before assembling for coffee and to take advantage of an invition to view the station's museum and Hall of Fame. Onto the bus again and a trip to the 39 Sqn hangar where XH134 (PR.9) and WH849 (T.4) were available for the interested inspection of the members. From there the Assoc members were taken to the Officer's Mess for a good lunch and an opportunity to review the morning's events. After lunch we were taken on a tour of the station's photo and imagery processing facility where we learned about the air-deployable systems that are operated and viewed some remarkable images.

39 Sqn had arranged a group photo shoot (surprise? from a PR outfit?). The members assembled outside in the sun in front of the "Blue One" - T.4 WJ874 painted in overall blue to represent VN799, the Canberra prototype, which first flew 50 years ago on May 13 1949. At the photo shoot, Mr Phil Spencer, on behalf of the Canberra Association, presented Wg Cmdr Howard with a framed set of photos taken of the "Blue One" at its display at RAF Waddington earlier in the year. An interesting visit to the squadron's Flight Tasking centre followed after which we finally all assembled in the aircrew crew room for coffee and "visitor's" biscuits.

All in all a very interesting visit which, it is hoped, signals a continuing association with the last operational Canberra squadron in the RAF.


The Association had a great time at the RAF Waddington Open Day, 26/27 June. Our Enclosure, next to the All Ranks Enclosure, was well placed on for viewing the aircraft on take off and it was filled for the whole day on the Saturday. The Canberra Association also played host for the 44 Sqn Association who held part of their reunion weekend at the Air Show. Magnificent weather prevailed on the Saturday (as you can see from the picture below), but it was blustery with a low ceiling on the Sunday. However, the Canberra guys had a good time - even though another enclosure started pinching most of our chairs - until Phil got amongst them!

The Association's Enclosure at Waddington 1999   Phil S at work, Waddington 1999
The Association's Enclosure at RAF Waddington 1999    and     Phil Spencer, Hon Sec, at work . .


The main event in 1999 was the celebration of the Canberra's 50th Anniversary. The "meet" that was planned for the weekend of May 15th/16th at the Newark Air Museum in Nottinghamshire was very successful with more that 600 visitors to the Museum - probably more than half of them CanMen.

None of the Canberras flew - no WK163 (hydraulic leak on a main u/c jack) and the RAF didn't show up at all with the "Blue" one. Still, the Battle of Britain Flight (Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster) did do a couple of fly-bys and we were all thrilled by a sky full of the wonderful sound of Melins.