Canberra Gate Guardian at RAF Wyton given makeover

Members of 57 Sqn RAF Wyton group photograph by gate guardian after they had restored it.

Members of 57 Sqn RAF Wyton group photograph by gate guardian after they had restored it. - Credit: Archant

GLEAMING AGAIN: RAF Wyton’s Gate Guardian – a PR9 Canberra – has been restored to its former glory after standing outside the base for more than 30 years.

The plane was restored by the 57 (Reserve) Squadron after a decision was made to keep the Canberra rather than have it scrapped, such was the state of the aircraft.

Wing Commander Mike Brown, commanding officer at RAF Wyton, who helped with some of the painting, said: “It has been evident for many years now that care and maintenance of the Canberra had been overlooked and something clearly had to be done.

“The Canberra has been an iconic feature of RAF Wyton for many years. Its photographic reconnaissance role was an invaluable contribution to Defence Intelligence and it is still a valid representation of the unit’s function today.”

In March, under the direction of Squadron Leader Dave Piper, staff and students of 57 (Reserve) Squadron rolled up their sleeves and got to work, taking three months to complete the project – mainly because of delays caused by the British weather.

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Along with some help from local companies and others based at RAF Wyton, including Andy Bedgood of Babcock Aerospace, the Canberra is expected to be the base’s guardian for many more years to come.

Squadron Ldr Piper, who is credited with making the final landing of a Canberra in RAF service, said: “I am proud to have played a part in its history and even prouder that the staff and students of 57 (Reserve) Squadron deemed it appropriate to have my name inscribed below the cockpit.”

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