T.4 - WT486
Loading WT486
Loading the cockpit
At rest with a lot of work to be done.
(Both photos, copyright : Tony Osborne)

The Canberra Tribute Site wishes the project all the luck, there is a lot of work to do.

Awaiting collection on 30 June 1955 WT486 was initially issued to the Station Flight at RAFG Wildenrath. When 88 Sqn formed there with their Canberra B(I)8s in January 1956, WT486 was transferred to their charge as a conversion and continuation trainer (see photo below). It stayed with 88 Sqn until some time in 1957 when it was again transferred, this time to the charge of 17 Sqn who had moved to RAFG Wildenrath from RAFG Wahn in the March of that year with their Canberra PR.7s.

In December 1962 88 Sqn was re-numbered to 14 Sqn while retaining their B(I)8s and remaining at RAFG Wildenrath. WT486 was again on the move being transferred back to the charge of the B(I)8 squadron.

For the next few years WT486 flew with 14 Sqn providing conversion and continuation training for the B(I)8 pilots. With the disbandment of 14 Sqn in June 1970, WT486 was transferred back to the charge of Widenrath's Statiion Flight - returned its starting place.

1970 was the end of Canberras at RAFG Wildenrath - 17 Sqn's PR.7s had disbanded in the December of 1969. It was also the beginning of the end of the RAF's Canberras in Germany, with final withdrawal in 1972. Accordingly WT486 became surplus to the flying trainer inventory at RAFG Wildenrath and was flown to No 2 School of Technical Training at RAF Cosford where it was allocated the Ground Instructional Airframe No 8102M on 21 August 1970. WT486 stayed at Cosford for the next five years.

Cosford must have looked after this T.4 though because, in 1975, WT486 was transferred to the Apprentice Training School at the RAF's No 23 Maintenance Unit, Aldergrove, Ireland. There, it lasted five years with the apprentices but was derelict by 1980 and moved onto the fire dump at Belfast Airport, Aldergrove.

Eventually the Flight Experience Workshop recovered the cockpit section from the fire dump at Aldergrove with the intention of putting it in a Museum they were planning with Castlereagh council, the plan failed. It lay for several years at Gilnahirk Golf Course, Belfast until it was discovered by Tony Osborne, AWO with 2241 ATC Sqn based at Regent House School Newtownards, who acquired it for the Sqn. It was subsequently donated by Flight Experience Workshop to the ATC squadron and was moved to 664VGS at Newtownards airfield during September 2005. Tony comments that "It is intended to use it as a long term restoration project for the cadets and eventually have it as a display exhibit."

Tony and the ATC squadron would be pleased to hear from anyone with in-service information or photographs of WT486.

  88 Sqn Wildenrath
WT486 (2nd from left) in a line up with 88 Sqn's B(I)8s at Wildenrath - circa 1956.
(Photo via Barry Collins, Hon Sec 88 Sqn Association)