English Electric Canberra Cockpits
Canberra B2 WE113 BJ
Canberra WE113 last flight with a 100 Squadron Hawk. Photo by Tony Bish
WE113 was one of the oldest Canberras still in service with the RAF at Wyton when her retirement was announced. The aircraft had flown over 7000 hours and made 4956 landings before making her last flight in the company of a 100 Squadron Hawk, also based at Wyton on the 26th September 1991.
WE113 flying in the Green Marrows Display Team. Photo by Tony Bish.
Geoff Tippler making the first cut. Photo by Chris Cannon
With almost forty years of service with the RAF and having been based at numerous RAF bases including Binbrook, Cottesmore, Marham, Tangmere, Waddington, Watton, West Raynham and Wyton and serving with 85, 98, 100 and 245 Squadron and 231 Operational Conversation Unit, 113 had given good service. Unlike most of the old Canberra airframes, 113 escaped the scrapman’s axe having been bought by Chris Cannon a local Canberra enthusiast. That was when the hard work started, firstly a suitable trailer was needed, in fact one was found parked in a local farmer’s barn and quickly acquired. The necessary conversion work to fit the cockpit section to the trailer was carried out, and said trailer taken up to Wyton ready for the big day.
Pictured left: Dame Norma Major unveiling Canberra WE113. Photo by John Smith
After jacking up the nose and removing the front undercarriage it was just a case of cutting away with the disc cutter. After several hours of cutting, the cockpit gently let itself down onto the trailer. The cockpit was then towed the short distance to Woodhurst where the 200 plus bolts were cut off releasing the jagged metal from the transport joint. Another trip back to hangar two at Wyton to position and fix down the cockpit to the trailer and the job was nearly done. The final finishing touch was a trip over to Warboys where local engineer Ivan Barrett fabricated the steps. After a coat of paint on the trailer, the cockpit now known as 'The Canberra Exhibit' was given an airing at the Norma Major Charity Cricket Match, as well as attracting attention from the public it was also well received by the visiting celebrities. Over the last years WE113 has visited countless venues raising money for local charities such as Children in Need and Mencap and has also supported events at RAF Marham, Cottesmore and Waddington. As the old saying goes, all good things come to an end and with almost twenty years with Chris, The Canberra Exhibit has moved to the wartime airfield at Tangmere in Sussex. In the capable hands of Ex Canberra pilot Mr. Joe Marsden, who is her new owner.
Canberra WE113 cockpit. Photo by Chris Cannon
Chris making the finishing touches. Photo by Henry Setchell
Refitting WE113 on the trailer. Photo by Chris Cannon
In the hangar at Wyton. Photo by Chris Cannon
Footballer Jimmy Greaves. Photo by Chris Cannon
Actor Clive Mantell (left), known for the TV series Casualty and Chris Cannon. Photo by John Smith