B.2 - WH876
WH876 - TomMcGhee
The cockpit section of WH876 at Boscombe Down - 2001
(Photo : Tom McGhee)
WH876 - Mark Ray
Mark Ray's picture of WH876
(Photo : Mark Ray)
WH876 - In Service-1
WH876 as a Mk U.10 in A&AEE colours. (Photo : Unknown)
WH876 - Eject
With Martin Baker on ejection seat tests. (Photo : Unknown)

Ready for collection in October 1953, this B.2 was taken into RAF charge with 115 Sqd, newly reformed with Canberras in January 1954 at RAF Marham. Between then and September 1960 it was transferred onto 207 Sqd (also at Marham) and the 73 Sqd in Akrotiri. WH876 was transferred to the charge of the Ministry of Aircraft in September 1960 where it stayed until being flown to Shorts Brothers, Belfast. There it was converted into a Mk U.14 radio controlled aircraft. It first flew in this configuration on 10 September 1961.

WH876, in U.14 configuration, was used as a pilotless drone target by 728B Squadron. This was a Royal Navy squadron, at Hal Far, Malta, who flew these target drone Canberras on guided missile trials [Seacat and Seaslug]. WH876 was numbered "595" whilst with the RN. The Canberras, six of them, were painted all-over white with wide black bands around the outer part of the wings. The navy only managed to shoot down one of the six - WH921 ("590") - brought down by a missile fired by HMS Girdle Ness on 6 October 1961. Having survived the Navy(!), WH876 returned to the UK in December 1961 where it was put into store at Pershore.

During 1963, WH876 was re-worked as a B.2 with the removal of the radio controll equipment and joined the Bomber Maritime Test Squadron at the A&AEE in March 1964. It was used mostly for target towing although by 1971, an in-flight refueling nose probe had been fitted - but this was never a "wet" system. In the mid 1970s, WH876 was carrying out ejector seat tests with the A&AEE at Boscombe Down having replaced WJ638 which had been used previously. It remained at Boscombe until it was transferred to Martin Baker at Chalgrove in mid 1985 to carry out work on parachute trials.

Returning to Boscombe Down in 1988, WH876 was put into storage again and was finally dismantled there in 1990.