T.4 - WJ880
WJ880 at Museum
At the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum
(Photo : David Reid, Owner)
WJ880 at Waddington
Shown attracting plenty of visitors at RAF Waddington's Air Day in 1999
(Photo : Les Bywaters)

Built at Preston in 1955 this T.4 was first delivered to the charge of 104 Sqd at RAFG Gutersloh (who flew B.2s). It was next moved onto the Station Flight at Gutersloh and then, later, transferred to Station Flight at RAFG Laarbruch.

Around 1961, WJ880 returned to English Electric (for refurbishment?) before being sent to Marshall's of Cambridge who carried out trial installations of LABS equipment (Low Altitude Bombing System - for nuclear delivery). This equipment went into nearly all RAFG Strike Sqd B(I)8s at that time. LABS equiped, WJ880 was transferred, in September 1962, to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment, presumably to conduct the LABS trials, returning to Marshalls for mods in the November (possibly to have the LABS equipment removed).

In April 1963, WJ880 returned to Station Flight at RAFG Laarbruch where, before long, it was taken onto the strength of 16 Sqd. At that time in RAFG, T.4s tended to be shuttled between station and squadron ownership, at least this was the case at Geilenkirchen with 3 Sqd so it probably happened to all strike squadrons.

It is next noted at 60 Maintenence Unit at RAF Dishforth, probably for a Major Service, before starting a round of different squadron owners. From Dishforth it was transferred to 56 Sqd at RAF Akrotiri (Cyprus). Then onto 100 Sqd at, possibly, RAF West Raynham. Still moving around, WJ880 next moved to 85 Sqd who were at West Raynham and finally to 7 Sqd who were based at RAF St Mawgan.

This T.4's travels were still not finished however as it was moved to No 1 School of Technical Training as a ground instructional airframe allocated the G/I number - 8491M. This was in July 1976. And still it wasn't over for this T.4. The aircraft was spilt up with the tail section being sent to Battle Damage Repair Flight at RAF Abigdon; the nose was allocated to 2408 (ATC) Sqd at Hornchurch and moved to North Weald in late 1982. The fuselage was sent to AWRE at Foulness in 1984 and sold for scrap in 1990. The nose was moved again to the South Yorkshire Air Museum, Firbeck in 1990 and eventually ended up in the ownership of David Reid of the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum where it now resides. David keeps this T.4 nose on a trailer and shows it at various functions - like the Air Days at RAF Waddington where I saw it (1999).