B(I)8 - WT333
WT333 - side
Attracting visitors at Bruntingthorpe (Photo : Les Bywaters)

A pretty interesting Canberra this. Built as a B(I)8 in 1956, WT333 was delivered, new, to Marshall's of Cambridge for trials installation of the Smith's Mk 19 autopilot as well as power rudder stabiliser trials. Shortly afterwards (a few months) it was transferred to the Royal Aircraft Establishment's Armament Department for LABS development and flight trials (Low Altitude Bombing System).

In 1959, WT333 was transferred once again, this time to the charge of Controller (Aircraft) and, in 1958, at the Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) it took part in rocket firing trials with the Microcell unguided missile system.

Around 1964 it returned to Marshall's for a major overhaul before going to BAC Warton in 1965 to take part in flight trials involving drop tanks. A&AEE carried out flight clearance for drop tanks in 1966. In the same year, WT333 was sent to 12 Joint Services Trials Unit at Edinburgh Field (Australia) where it undertook a series of weapons trials before returning to the Radar Research Establishment at Pershaw for "Sky Flash" missile homing head development in 1969.

1970 saw this B(I)8 being put into strorage at 27 MU RAF Shawbury. where it languished until 1976 when it was removed from store and modified into a "long nose" B.6 - the "nose" fitted came from Canberra WK135. It was flown to RAE Bedford in 1977.

Currently, the B(I)8/6 is preserved whole at Bruntingthorpe, Leicstershire, where it can be seen in its "long nose" configuration and still resplendent in the Royal Aircraft Establishment's distinctive "rasberry ripple" colour scheme.

WT333, May 1999
(Photo : Gary Lakin)
The Owners
(Photo : Les Bywaters)