PR.7 - WT520

WT520 with 967 ATC Sqn, BAe Warton. (Photo : Damien Burke)


Built in 1955, this PR.7 was part of a 190 aircraft contract placed 28 Feb 1951 - (Contract 6/Acft/6445/CB(6)) - and was ready for collection from EE Co, Warton, on 29 April 1955. Taken on charge by the MoD (RAF) it was issued to the charge of 80 Sqn who, at that time were at RAFG Laarbruch. It stayed in Germany transferring from 80 Sqn to 31 Sqn, also at Laarbruch. Next came a series of transfers between 31 Sqn at Laarbruch and 17 Sqn at RAFG Wahn. No dates unfortunately.

In all likelihood it would have been an airframe that just happened to be swapped regularly to cover for squadron servicing requirements. As, for example, when one, or more, of a squadron's aircraft were on 2nd Line Servicing, or when a squadron had several long-term unservicabilities but had a heavy flying task to complete.

WT520 ended its operational life with 31 Sqn at Laarbruch and was allotted Ground Instructional No 8094M. This however was not taken up and WT520 was struck off charge on 18 October 1971. 31 Sqn themselves ceased "trading" in March of 1971 so it is probable that WT520 was flown back to the UK (for re-allocation/storage) previous to being struck off charge in the October. WT520 was next noted at RAF Manby and allotted yet another Ground Instructional No - 8184M - probably around 1972 - before being moved to the No 4 School of Recruit Training at RAF Swinderby in March 1974. At Swinderby it was used as background for passing out parades, course photos, and the like before being moved to Swinderby's fire dump in August 1991. It had been scrapped by November 1991. It is probable that this Canberra may be in many photos of eager newly trained recruits which now reside in dusty photo albums throughout the land.

Of the two photos of WT520 (below) the top one shows it undergoing 2nd Line servicing at RAFG Bruggen in or around 1965. Ron Reeve, an SAC at RAFG Bruggen from 1965-1967, who submitted the photo, says it shows 80 Sqn aircraft! This puts at odds other info above, that WT520 ended up on 17 Sqn! This photo make this suspect now as it seems WT520 was with of 80 Sqn in 1965. This could mean that WT520 was always on 80 Sqn's inventory and just loaned to 17 and 31 for an extended period. This makes some sort of sense as the aircraft owner would be responsible for the 2nd Line servicing aspects. It is a pity that the pic shows WT520 with the fin removed so we can't really see if there is an 80 Sqn badge on it (as with WT522 on the right), but, I've no cause to dispute the sender though as he worked on these Canberas (Ron is shown in the middle of the photo).

The nose section of PR.7 WT520 is now with 967 (BAe Warton) squadron ATC, and is currently being restored to be used as a training aid for squadron activities and recruitment.

WT520 - 80Sqn
WD520 seen here at RAFG Bruggen on 2nd Line servicing. Ron Reeve in center forground with rag (Photo : Ron Reeve)
WT520 - 31Sqn
WD520 in 31 Sqn colours. (Photo : Unknown)