B.2 (Mod) - WG789

WG789 with RRE
WG789 - In store
(Photo : Steve Pickup - Owner)

Built at EE works at Preston, WG789 was part of Contract 6/Acft/3520/CB6(b). It is distinguished in that it is only one of two Canberras that were given a "WG" number (the other being WG788). These two were built as replacements for WD937 & WD940 which were diverted off contract and sold the the USA.

Ready for collection on 29 Aug 1952, it was delivered to 231 OCU at RAF Bassingbourne. On 6 Feb 1956, WG789 was transferred to charge of Ministry of Supply and almost immediately went to Boulton Paul at Defford and fitted for use in "Red Dean/AI.18" attack computer development. [Probably modified with AI.18 and nose radome at this time].

Three years later, on 1 Jan 1959, it was transferred to Boulton Paul's at Seighford for guided weapons guidance system fit and trials and afterwards, in May 59, flew with RRE Pershore on experimental trials in connection with development of a CW semi-active homing missile. Flown as CW illuminator using modified AI.18 during trials. Reallocated for Sea Dart homing trials in Jun 65. Carry trials of Sea Dart homing head. To storage in Aug 68. Reallocated for Pershore radar calibration in Apr 70. To storage in Mar 71

Then things became more interesting for this Canberra. On 8 July 1971 it transferred to BAe Fairford as Concorde chase plane, but only for a few weeks until 6 Aug 1971 when it was moved into storage at BAe.

Over a year later, WG789 was taken from storage (6 Oct 1972) and reputed to have been rebuilt circa 1972/73-Jan 74. It was transferred to RRE as backup for Sea Skua homing head trials. Reallocated for Sea Eagle trials in Nov 76. To BAe for major in Aug 78. Returned to RRE for Sea Eagle guided weapon homing head carrying trials. This lasted until the end of 1976 (Nov ) when WG789 was transferred to the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) at Bedford.

On 23 Feb 1982, WG789 was struck off charge at RSRE Bedford and used by apprentices as a ground instructional airframe. Eventually, this Canberra was scrapped and,in 1986, and taken by road to Burgess Hill, West Sussex.

The nose of WG789 is now owned by Steve Pickup of Mendlesham who tells me that its conditon (see Steve's photo) is due to the fact that it was blown off its cradle in recent storms.

Recently Steve has said "Just a brief update - Finally managed to relocate WG789 to the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton as of 9th March 2002. Here, with some encouragement and advice from the Members there I hope finally to get some substantial tidying-up done. I have obtained a replacement canopy - and subject to figuring out how - shortly hope to remove the remains old one and put on the new. Until then, and becoming once again watertight, she remains 'tarpaulined' at Flixton; but even partially shrouded, has attracted a fair degree of interest from some of the winter-time visitors who have stopped for a chat whilst I've been 'tinkering' - because of the unusual nose...I thus feel very positive, and reckon that WG789 being exposed to the elements but visible and enjoyable to many, is a far better plan than keeping her dry but hidden any longer."