Canberra B(I)8
A selection of pictures of the RAF's Interdictor - B(I)8 Galleries
A Table of all the UK built Canberra B(I)8s
Memories of Kuantan - Operation Confrontation, 1964

The B(I)8's offset canopy shown on WT346 when it was at Cosford


B(I)8 XH204 (3 Sqn) during a bombing competition.
Chaumont 1966. [Photo : Ron Ledwidge - 3Sqn pilot]


XM275 (3 Sqn) [Note silver undersides] [Via : Rick Kent]

14 Sqn B(I)8 standing QRA at RAFG Wildenrath.
[Via : Ken Delve]


A 3 Sqn B(I)8 flies home into the sunset, 1970
[Photo Tim Garden, ex-3 Sqn Pilot]
Click in this striking photo from Tim Garden to view a larger image.

The B(I)8 Canberra (the "I" stands for "Interdictor") lost the one-piece "glasshouse" bubble canopy so "loved" by aircrews and sported instead a fighter type canopy.  This was offset from the aircraft's centreline giving the B(I)8 a very distinctive profile shared by the photo-reconn variant, the PR-9, (and of course the DH-110).

The B(I)8 was introduced to fill the role of a night-intruder bomber/interdictor flying low-level missions in the European theater.   A Boulton Paul gunpack, containing four 20mm Hispano "Aden" guns, could be fitted snugly into the rear of the bomb-bay and special bomb doors with cut-outs for the gunpack were fitted.  The special bomb-bay doors allowed the B(I)8 to carry flares which were used to illuminate night targets.  The gunpack, as well as one 500 pound HE bomb (or two 250 pounds) on each underwing pylon, gave the B(I)8 Canberra a decided punch which was used effectively by the Indian Air Force during their UN support effort in the Congo in 1961.

Rupak Chattopadhyay has an excellent Web Page giving some background to this in the form of some very interesting action stories by the IAF B(I)8 flyers.

Also roled as a bomber, the B(I)8 served only with the RAF's Strike Squadrons in Germany.  In its bomber configuration, this Mark of Canberra was part of the UK's Nuclear Strike Force and carried a US made weapon (Project E). Nuclear strikes were to have been delivered by the infamous Low Altitude Bombing System [LABS] technique.   This system, developed by the USAF for the SAC's B-47's, involved the B(I)8 flying fast and level at around 250 feet, then, at a pre-determined point pulling up into a half-loop, releasing the weapon [under clockwork timer control!] at the appropriate time during the climb then, letting the science of ballistics deliver it (supposedly) unerringly.  Meanwhile the Canberra would finish the power-climb to the top of the loop, do a half-barrelling dive piling on the speed and high-tailing it for home!

The robust and well-proven Canberra airframe stood up very well to the "G" forces involved in this kind of flying ("toss bombing"), suffering no serious structural strains in the process.  Its true the nose-wheel doors were prone to easing apart, but this was easily fixed.

Colour schemes for the B(I)8 started with European grey/green top surface with black undersurface, but around 1965 the undersides were re-finished in silver.  See the difference in the photos in the B(I)8 Gallery.

In June 1972, 16 Sqn (RAF Laarbruch) finally turned-in the last RAF B(I)8 Canberra after a squadron ownership of 14 years! 3 Sqn's B(I)8s (RAF Geilenkirchen) went in January of the same year after flying with the squadron for 11 years. 14 Sqn (RAF Wildenrath) had lost their B(I)8s in June 1970 after 8 years with the Night Intruder.

In RAF Germany the Canberra Strike Squadrons were:
  3 Sqn - RAF Geilenkirchen - Jan 1961-Jan 1968
  3 Sqn - RAF Laarbruch - Jan 1968-Jan 1972
14 Sqn - RAF Wildenrath - Dec 1962 - Jun 1970
16 Sqn - RAF Laarbruch - Mar 1958 - Jun 1972
59 Sqn - RAF Geilenkirchen - Feb 1957 - Jan 1961 (Renumbered to 3 Sqn)
88 Sqn - RAF Wildenrath - Jan 1956 - Dec 1962 (Renumbered to 14 Sqn)
213 Sqn - RAF Alhorn - July 1955 - Dec 1969

3 Sqn Fin Flash (A Cockatrice on Monolith)

Ron Ledwige.
Ron Ledwidge.
3 Sqn B(I)8 pilot, top bloke, sadly missed.
Passed away 20 July 2003.