The Story of the Canberra PR.9 and XH135 in Particular

The Story of the Canberra PR.9 and XH135 in Particular

Aviationtag English Electric Canberra PR.9 XH135 Edition
The English Electric Canberra PR.9

The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation British jet-powered medium bomber, developed by English Electric in the 1940s as a successor to the de Havilland Mosquito. It excelled in high-altitude bombing and speed due to newly developed jet propulsion. In May 1951, it became the RAF's first jet powered bomber.

In total, 1352 Canberras were produced, including 403 B-57s and 48 aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force. The first British operational squadron was 101 Squadron at RAF Binbrook in May 1951, and in the RAF Germany area, the 149 Squadron at RAF Gütersloh became the first unit in August 1954.

Various versions were exported to Argentina, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Rhodesia, South Africa, Sweden, Venezuela, and West Germany. The RAF Germany operated the Canberra for approximately two decades.

In the German Bundeswehr, three aircraft were used by the Office for Military Geodesy for aerial photography missions from 1963 to 1993. On June 23, 2006, the RAF's last Canberras were officially retired after 55 years of service.

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English Electric Canberra PR.9 - XH135
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Aviationtag English Electric Canberra PR.9 XH135 Edition
English Electric Canberra PR.9 - XH135
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The XH135

Aviationtag’s XH135, built in 1959, served with RAF Handling Squadron at RAF Manby, then transferred to Shorts of Belfast. Later, it joined 58 Sqn at RAF Wyton, briefly transferred to 13 Sqn in Malta, and finally served with 39 Sqn at RAF Wyton until Feb 1982. It was stored at RAF St Athan and reactivated for 1 PRU at RAF Marham.

Aviationtag English Electric Canberra PR.9 Edition

Retired in July 2006 at Kemble airfield alongside XH131 and XH134, XH135 remained taxiable for airshows. It was acquired by Midair around 2010, and while XH134 was chosen for airworthiness, XH135 was used for electric start testing before being stripped for parts. Midair's bankruptcy in 2017 led to the Canberras becoming airport

In 2020, the Buccaneer Aviation Group relocated them to Cotswold Airport, where XH135 was cleaned. In early 2022, Cotswold Airport announced XH135's disposal. Former Canberra PR.9 Navigator initiated efforts to save the aircraft, but insufficient funds led to the hard decision to dismantle it.

Aviationtag managed to salvage parts of this legendary aircraft. The Aviationtag Edition features captivating variations in beige and white, each beautifully crafted from the storied XH135 of the Royal Air Force. Don't miss the chance to own a unique piece of aviation heritage.

Aviationtag English Electric Canberra PR.9 Edition

By August 2022, XH135 was reduced to a cockpit section and found its new home at West Raynham Business Park, formerly RAF West Raynham. Learn more about the project by clicking here.

How do you like this Aviationtag Edition? Would you like us to do more Military aircrafts? Let us know in the comments.

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    • Thijs

      I'am very happy with this edition and reading this blog off this aircraft has giving me alot more information about the Canberra PR-9 that i did not know before :)

    • Jannek

      This Edition featuring parts of the legendary XH135 Canberra PR.9 is a fascinating tribute to aviation heritage. It's a unique piece with captivating variations in beige and white, representing the storied Royal Air Force aircraft. I'd love to see more editions featuring military aircraft.

    • Dillion

      Fascinating article about the English Electric Canberra PR.9! It's incredible to learn about its development as a first-generation British jet-powered medium bomber and its significant contributions to high-altitude bombing and speed in the 1940s. The fact that it became the RAF's first jet-powered bomber in May 1951 is truly remarkable. Kudos to Aviationtag for their dedication to preserving aviation history and turning these retired aircraft parts into incredible pieces of memorabilia.Thank you for sharing this amazing opportunity with us!

    • IRA

      Wow. Never thought I would be able to get such a deep connection with an aircraft tag. My grandfather used to clean airplanes at Akrotiri Cyprus and this exact model was transferred in July 1961 at Akrotiri! He used to clean all type of aircraft, from commercials to military. Now being in his late 80's is very heart warming knowing he worked on this aircraft. Thank you AviationTag for such a unique and rare tag.

    • Alberto

      Stunning edition again! Although I´m more interested in comercial ones, I have to admit that this is a must have! Thanks for the chance of grab one Aviationtag team!

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