Although RAF Abingdon was relatively close, we never visited much as the residents didn’t change much over the years. Paul Filmer continues his march through the archives with a look at RAF Abingdon – now Dalton Barracks – between 1983 and 1985.
In 1983 I went to the Battle of Britain Day, which was just after a bunch of ex-British Airways Super VC10s were delivered and then wrapped in Driclad bags. This was because there wasn’t a pressing need to convert the aircraft to tankers straight away, as the K2 and K3 conversions were still being carried out to replace the Victor K2 fleet which was nearing the end of its fatigue life.
Later the airframes with the highest hours were eventually scrapped for spares and the rest converted to K4 standard.
There were still some present that hadn’t been wrapped yet.
During this airshow we had our second encounter that year with an RAF BAe146 CC1, ZD696. This airframe, along with another, was being evaluated with 241 OCU for future operations for a brief time before being returned back to the civil market.
The RAE Viscounts were always good to see, and here is XT575 which was based at RAE Bedford. The front fuselage is currently displayed at the Brooklands Museum.
Another RAE aircraft present was BAC111-200AC XX105, also from RAE Bedford. This airframe was scrapped at Boscombe Down in 2010.
Jaguar GR1 XZ106 of 41 Squadron is seen here in the static display. The airframe is now displayed as a GR3A outside the RAF Manston History Museum.
Lightning F6 XS928, then with 11 Squadron, is now preserved within BAe Warton.
Hawk T1 XX217 is seen here operating with 63 Squadron. In 2006 it diverted to the Isle of Man with engine problems and was damaged on landing and shipped back to its then RAF Valley home by road.
This aircraft is still flying.
Jet Provost T4 XP547 with 79 Squadron is now based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as N547XP.
Jaguar T2 XX845 of 17 Squadron is seen here in one of Abingdon’s hangars being maintained.
The airframe ended up, destined to die, at RNAS Predannack and is being used for crash rescue training.
Onwards to 1984 and I shot a few aircraft around the airfield.
Vulcan B2MRR XH537 of 27 Squadron is seen here parked up and withdrawn from use. Interesting to see the other Vickers products in the distance also withdrawn.
The airframe was scrapped in 1991 at Abingdon. The nose was saved and is displayed at the Bournemouth Aviation Museum.
Canberra B2 WH869/8515M is seen here in the Battle Damage Repair (BDR) area of the airfield and was later scrapped. We didn’t see many white Canberras in those days.
Royal Navy Wessex HAS1 XS120/8653M, also in the BDR area, was eventually scrapped at Wroughton in 1994.
Onwards to 1985 and another Canberra, this time a B1/8 painted black – WV787, fitted with a Buccaneer nose. This aircraft was the UK’s only biological warfare research aircraft and operated via Porton Down. Later she was modified for ice research, when the idea of biological warfare was stopped internationally.
WV787 was saved from the BDR site at Abingdon and preserved at the Newark Air Museum.
DH104 Dove 6 G-ARDE ended her days at the Al Mahatah Museum painted as G-AJPR. This museum is now closed, so if anyone has any ideas what happened to this Dove, please let us know.