B.15 - WT205
WT205 - Manston
Nose section at the RAF Manston History Museum,
September, 2001 (Photo : Damien Burke)
WT205 - Manston
Refurbished cockpit with 9 Sqn marking at RAF Manston History Museum, July, 2004 (Photo : J B Sanderson)

Built by Short Brothers and Harland Ltd as a B.6, WT205 was ready for collection on October 31 1955. It was taken on charge by the RAF and issued to 9 Sqn, at that time resident at RAF Conningsby. 9 Sqn had just converted from B.2s to B.6s and had moved from RAF Binbrook in the September. WT205 flew with 9 Sqn for six years until just five months before they disbanded from Canberras in December 1961. On 15 July 1961, WT205 was transferred to English Electric who carried out the conversion to B.15 configuration - it never flew with the RAF again. WT205's remaining years were spent in trials and development.

In December 1962 it was given on loan to Controller Supply (Aircraft) and was flown to Marshalls Cambridge where it four months undergoing unspecified trial installations. On 19 April 1963 it was moved to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment for clearance trials before returning the Marshalls in the July of 1963. A year later, July 1964, WT205 was back at the A&AEE for extended armament trials.

This B.15 then shuttled between Marshalls and the A&AEE from June 1966 to April 1967. On its last visit to Marshalls (December 1966 to April 1967) it was fitted with a practice bomb carrier. We can be sure this and other trials fits were evaluated during its resumed stay with the A&AEE until, on 30 January 1969 it was transferred to the charge of the Ministry of Aviation. The trials saga continued with WT205 returning once again to the A&AEE for ballistic trials on 26 March 1971. It was released from this task on 7 June 1972 and finally struck off charge on 31 August 1972.

Its life wasn't over though. It was alloted to Royal Aircraft Establishment on the day it was struck off charge and was flown to Farnborourgh a month later on 28 September 1972 where it was converted to a ground effect vehicle. Finally, after many years serving the aircraft establishment, WT205 was broken up for scrap. Fortunately, the nose section was rescued and has ended up at the RAF Manston History Museum where it is being gradually restored to exhibition standard.

As can be seen from the newly submitted photo above, the restoration work is pretty much complete. WT205 now looks in fine order and can still be viewed at RAF Manston. Thanks to J B Sanderson for the photo.