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WJ629's service history

English Electric Canberra WJ629 was built by Handley Page Ltd at Radlett for the Royal Air Force, as a B.2 bomber.
It was declared ready for collection on 20th April 1954, and received its first squadron posting to RAF 40 Squadron (Sqn), which had recently moved to RAF Wittering from its previous base at RAF Coningsby. Unfortunately dates/times served are currently not available at the time of writing, but it is known that WJ629 also served with RAF 32 Sqn at RAF Weston Zoyland in Somerset, and than latterly with RAF 6 Sqn at Akrotiri in Cyprus. The B.2 Canberra was phased out of 6 Sqn in December 1959, so it's probable that WJ629 was returned to the UK and was perhaps placed in store.

In 1968/9, WJ629 was moved to the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) factory at Warton for conversion to TT.18 specification, to fulfil an order for nine aeroplanes for the Royal Air Force. Upon completion of this work and after the aeroplane was cleared for military service, it was ferried to RAF St Mawgan to join the newly reformed RAF 7 Sqn in 1970. It was tasked with target towing duties and operated as aeroplane '29' for the remainder of the decade.

On 24th June 1981, WJ629 arrived at RNAS Yeovilton to join the Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Unit (FRADU). It was issued with the fleet number '845' but only remained in service for nine months, as it was downgraded to a Ground Instructional (GI) airframe on 15th March 1982. Issued the RAF maintenance serial 8747M, WJ629's last flight was a short delivery 'hop' to RAF Chivenor on 24th March, where it was to be used for crash rescue and battle damage repair training.
The airframe remained intact until it was disposed of in early 1994.

[ Brian Johnstone]

WJ629's civilian life

WJ629 was acquired by a scrap merchant and broken up at Chivenor, the remnants leaving by lorry in March 1994.
It's possible the cockpit section survives, but this has not been confirmed. CAN ANYONE HELP!!!

- December 2020

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