From the be­gin­ning

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

XH558 was built by Avro (later Bri­tish Aero­space and BAE Sys­tems) at Wood­ford and first flown on 21 May 1960. Painted white over­all, it was the first Vul­can B2 to en­ter ser­vice with the RAF when it joined ‘B’ Flight No 230 OCU at RAF Wadding­ton on 1 July 1960. A year later it moved with the OCU to RAF Fin­ning­ley (to­day Robin Hood Air­port, Don­caster/sh­effield). On 23 Fe­bru­ary 1968 XH558, now in the stan­dard grey/ green cam­ou­flage, joined the front-line Wadding­ton Wing and at the end of Oc­to­ber 1972 it was al­lo­cated to No 101 Squadron.

A new chap­ter be­gan on 17 Au­gust 1973 when XH558 was flown to Bitteswell to be one of nine Vul­cans con­verted for Strate­gic Mar­itime Re­con­nais­sance and 13 months later as a B2(MRR) was de­liv­ered for ser­vice with No 27 Squadron at RAF Scamp­ton.

When this squadron was dis­banded on 30 March 1982 it re­turned to Wadding­ton for No 44 Squadron. With an ur­gent re­quire­ment for more air-to-air tankers, XH558 was one of six Vul­cans hastily con­verted to B2(K)S by BAE at Wood­ford.

Al­lo­cated to No 50 Squadron at Wadding­ton, XH558 was ini­tially used as a tri­als air­craft at A&AEE Boscombe Down from 25 Oc­to­ber 1982. It made a rare pub­lic ap­pear­ance in the In­ter­na­tional Air Tat­too ‘83 static park at Green­ham Com­mon. XH558’S tanker life was cut short on 17 Septem­ber 1984 when it was flown to RAF Marham for dis­posal.

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