A rather unusual sight was seen on the roads of East Yorkshire and North Yorkshire on the morning of Sunday 18th August as the Yorkshire Air Museum received the donation of Blackburn Buccaneer XV168 from BAE Systems, Brough.
The large 1960’s jet aircraft was transported by road from the Brough site to Elvington, with the operation commencing at 7am, whilst the roads were quiet. However, some vehicles blocking the route in Brough Village caused some delay, so it was around 12:30pm before the aircraft reached its final destination at the Yorkshire Air Museum. The route was through Brough to the M62, then the A1 and A64 then the final stretch on the B1228 to Elvington. It certainly made an impressive, perhaps startling sight, as it was on an open low-loader transport vehicle, with no coverings. The wings were folded upwards.
The Buccaneer was the last true Blackburn aircraft to be designed and constructed at the historic site, that was established by Yorkshire aviation pioneer Robert Blackburn back in 1916, before the company merged with Hawker Siddley and then part of British Aerospace / BAE Systems. It became the company’s most successful and longest serving type, with 35 years of service and 209 examples to its credit.
In recognition of the close relationship between the aircraft and the site, XV168 was flown ‘home’ on 15th October 1993 from Lossiemouth, the first and last occasion on which a Buccaneer would land at Brough, no other having ever flown into or out of the airfield. XV168 was Dedicated in memory of the Blackburn / Hawker Siddley aircrew who gave their lives during the development of the Buccaneer. These were: John G Joyce; Trevor D Dunn; ‘Sailor’ G R I Parker and Gordon R Copeman. It has stood at Brough for 20 years.
Redevelopment of the Brough site led to the decision being taken to offer the airframe to the Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial as the most fitting place to house this aircraft. The Buccaneer design underwent development trials at Elvington Airfield and the company’s site at Holme on Spalding Moor, close by, so the type has an historic connection to XV168’s new locality.
Once the aircraft is settled in ‘situ’ at the Museum, a re-Dedication ceremony will be held, with the relatives of the aircrew mentioned above invited to attend.
XV168 will complement the two other Buccaneers within the Museum’s collection, these being Blackburn Buccaneer S.2B XX901 and the Hawker Siddley (Blackburn) Buccaneer S.2 XN974, which was the prototype for the Fleet Air Arm Naval version of the low level strike attack aircraft, which is kept in ‘live’ ground operational condition.