top of page
English Electric
Canberra WK118 Cockpit

Aircraft history

The English Electric Canberra was designed as a direct replacement for the wartime de Havilland Mosquito and entered service with the RAF in 1951. It was the first British jet-powered bomber and had become the RAF's longest-serving aircraft by the time it was retired in 2006, having amassed 55 years of service.

During the 1950s, the Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other aircraft in the world. It set several world altitude records and also made the first non-stop unrefuelled transatlantic crossing by a jet aircraft. Avro, Handley Page, and Short Brothers all built Canberras to satisfy the worldwide demand for this aircraft. It was exported to 16 countries and saw action in many conflicts including the Suez Crisis, Vietnam War, and Falklands War.

In total, Avro built 75 Canberras at Woodford during the 1950s and these included WK118, which was based in Germany from 1954 - 1957. Access inside the cockpit of WK118 is not permitted but visitors can see the interior through the open side door.


bottom of page