B.15 - WH984
WH984 at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, Horsham
(Photo : Via Glen Ambler)

WH984 Port Side (Photo : Via Glen Ambler)
Built at Short Bros Belfast in 1955 under contract 6/ACFT/5790, WH984 was the 100th Canberra built at this site. It was immediately issued to 49MU for Special Fit. On 14th September 1956 WH984 was issued to 9 Sqn at RAF Binbrook with the squadron code of "E". Five months later, on 11 February 1957 it was transferred to 32MU for more Special Fit work before being returned to RAF Binbrook's Station Flight.

Still as a B.6, WH984 was then sent, on 12 July 1957, to Marshalls of Cambridge for modifications and returned, once again, to 9 Sqn in January 1958. The modification program continued with WH984 being sent to BAe Salmesbury for a further series of modifications on 25 June 1959. This work lasted around a month and this Canberra was back with 9 Sqn again on 14 July 1959.

On the 18th April 1961 WH984 was transferred to Boscombe Down, possibly for conversion to B.15 (although this conversion may have been earlier). It was transferred to the charge of 32 Sqn Near East Air Force at RAF Akrotiri on 7 March 1962 as part of the package to replace 32 Sqn's B.2s with the more formidable B.15/16's.

WH984 was next off to 103 MU (NEAF) on 17 December 1963 (Major?) and back to 32 Sqn by 21 January 1964. Then, on 11 June 1968, it became part of the 32/73 Sqn Air Strike Wing at RAF Akrotiri. It was transferred to No.1 Engineering Sqn, NEAF on 12 March 1969 with 2303 hours "on the clock" and this was effectively its last flight. By August 1970, WH984 was assigned code 8101M and made a Ground Instructional Airframe at No2 SoTT at RAF Cosford. Eventually, the cockpit was sent to RAF St Athan and the airframe scrapped.

This cockpit now belongs to Mr John Sheldrake who moved it to the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, Horsham, on 30 November 2005. The update information was passed to the Canberra Tribute Site by Mr Kelvin Sloper of the Museum.

With WH984 now in a museum environment it is hoped that this B.15 will be restored to fine display state over the coming months.

A former B.15 pilot, Bill Little of 32 Sqn and then 73 Sqn, has been in contact about this Canberra and says . . .

Amazing - I flew WH984 many times when I was B Flt Cdr on 32 Sqn and A Flt Cdr later on 73 Sqn in Cyprus. In fact, looking back through my numerous log books, my first flight on 32 was on 15th March 1962 in WH984!

Among the flights were numerous low level LABS manoeuvres, and I was cleared down to 100 feet over the sea. Other sorties included dropping 4x 25 lb practice bombs from medium level, dropping 4x 1000lb bombs at El Adem range, 8x25 lb bombs on Episkopi range, and 8x25 lbs at night after a cross-country to El Adem at night. On 11th January 1963 we commenced the low level rocketry trials with 36x2" rockets in a pod under each wing, (72 total), at Larnaca range - all in one attack as a ripple. That was the best flying of all, I think it might have been at 42 feet agl and 380 knts, but it might have been faster. I will have to ask Mike Knight when I see him next at the Air League. He was my Squadron Commander on 32Sqn. (He is now Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Knight.)

WH984 at Cosford
WH984 shown here as a Ground Instructional Airframe at RAF Cosford (Photo : Martin Smith)

WH984 at Akrotiri
WH984 on the pan at RAF Akrotiri - 1960's
(Photo : Via Canberra Association)