B.2 - WH700
WH700
WH700 of the Lincoln Nitshke Military and Historical Aircraft Collection, 2002 (Photo : Bill Wild)

 

Pretty interesting Canberra really. Built in January 1953 it went first into the 2 Tactical Air Force [Germany] in the charge of the Tactical Development Unit. It was next allocated to 1323Flt (Wyton) but, according to the record was never taken up by this Flight. Some say it did actually carry out missions with them though as WH700 is one of three Canberras that were supposed to have been fitted with a large US camera in the bomb bay. These allegedly took part in the infamous "overflights" of the USSR (Kapustin Yar) in the late 50's looking for USSR missile production sites. Although histories say WH700 never actually flew with 1323 Flt it may have been crewed by them and crews from 192Sqd. [Another in this trio of Canberras was WK163 - the Scorpion Rocket Canberra - still flying in private hands out of Coventry Airport.]

In September 1955 WH700 was taken on loan by the UK's Controller (Aircraft) and passed to DH Props to take part in trial installations for the Blue Jay programme. In October 1956 WH700 was allocated to Blue Jay Joint Services Trials Unit at the Weapons Research Establishment, Australia departing from Hatfield in February 1957.

In December 1959, still with 12JSTU, Woomera, WH700 was transferred onto the Red Top/Jindivik trials for a couple of months before, in February 1960, it was allocated as the Safety Aircraft for the Blue Steel programme. WH700 stayed with the Blue Steel programme until 1960 when it was released [December 1960].

It stayed at Woomera in non-participant role for about 10 years until it was struck off charge at Edinburgh Field in February 1970. After another 12 years WH700 was taken on by the Air Museum, Prarfield in 1982 where it languished for a further eight years before being taken up by the Lincoln Nitshke Military and Historical Aircraft Collection in 1990.

As Bill's pictures show, WH700 is a "full" airframe and, considering it has been lying around at various sites for 22 years, it seems in viewable condition, tied down ["picketed"] and with a supporting trestle under the rear fuselage just behinf the bomb bay. It even still has it's tip tanks!

Bill Wild, an ex-RAF friend of mine, lives near Greenock and reports . . .
"I looked up Lincoln Nitchke Aviation Museum (in a paddock) in our local phonebook and remembered when I saw his name on your post that I had met him many years ago. Whilst I was shopping at the local supermarket around late 1970 I heard this farmer chap talking away to this older bloke about Biggin Hill and other things. After a while I couldn't resist joining them and introducing myself as Bill . . . ex-RAF Workshops and it we chatted, young and old, for the next hour. Lincoln was starting his collection and was only about 30 years old but had travelled extensively as a plane enthusiast. The old boy was an ex-RAF fighter pilot who lived somewhere here in the Barossa Valley."

Bill goes on to say . . .
"I have telephoned the present owner of WH700 (Lincoln Nitschke) and he assures me that his museum is still a going concern open for 6 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. He has given me permision to photograph the aircraft for you."

WH700 - in service
WH700 shown in service at Edinburgh Field (Photo : via Bill Wild)

Thanks Bill. Any Australian CanMen in that area may care to visit this collection and view WH700; it had a remarkable career.