B.2 - WJ676
WJ676 is seen here at the Newark Aviation Museum Cockpit Fest in 2005
painted in Bomber Command 1 scheme
(Photo : Les Bywaters)

Built by Handley Page at Radlet, WJ676 was ready for collection in November 1954. Duly collected by the RAF it was flown first to No 15 MU at RAF Wroughton for service preparation. At that time, and it does seem unbelievable now, the RAF had more Canberras than it had squadrons to operate them, so WJ676 went into short term storage until March 1955.

Out of storage, this B.2 was flown to join 149 Sqn at RAFG Gutersloh where it remained until 1956. It was flown back to RAF Upwood in August that year to join 40 Sqn as part of Upwood's Bomber Wing. From 40 Sqn, WJ676 was transferred to 50 Sqn - on the same airfield. It stayed with 50 Sqn until 1959 when it was transferred, again on the same airfield, to 35 Sqn.

In 1961, WH676 joined 245 Sqn at RAF Tangmere where the flying tasks included calibration of radio and navigation aids installed on various RAF stations. In December 1962, it joined No 12 Group Comms Flight at RAF Colerne briefly before being reclassified as a Ground Instructional airframe (No 7796M) with No 12 School of Technical Training at RAF Melksham.

The aircraft eventually returned to RAF Colerne where it joined that station's aircraft museum. WJ676 stayed there until the museum closed in 1976 when the aircraft was transferred by road to No 15 MU at RAF Wroughton. It was repainted in overall silver and given 35 Sqn's badge (later removed - the top left picture below shows WJ676 in the "badged" condition). In this form, WJ676 was placed on display as Gate Guard by the entrance to RAF Hospital Wroughton. In 1987 it was repainted in 50 Sqn colours and was put up for sale in 1991.

WJ676's cockpit section is owned by Mr Karl Edmonson of Newcastle (since February 2005) who enthusiastically maintains the kit. Having boldly painted his cockpit in the old Bomber Command 1 scheme, Karl has succeeded in making WJ676 reminiscent of the early RAF days of Canberras. As the only cockpit depicting this scheme (known to the Webmaster) Karl's Canberra makes a striking exhibit.

WJ676 at RAF Wroughton (Photo : Via Kev Darling)
WJ676 at RAF Colerne, 1965 (Photo : CP Russell-Smith)
WJ676 at RAF Wroughton (Photo : Ray Walker)
Another showing WJ676 at RAF Wroughton (Photo : Ray Walker)