It’s always nice to see stories from abroad, which just goes to show the global reach of XH558 and the support she gets. Here, Nigel Appleby writes from Canada.
My first memory of seeing a Vulcan was when I was 15 or 16 years old, so that would put it in 1959 or 1960. I was a pupil at Christ's Hospital School and one of the winners of RAF Benevolent Fund Scholarships to the school. We all wore a special plaque on the shoulder of our uniform coats.
There were a maximum of three scholarships awarded each year, which were funded by the award Dr Barnes Wallis was given by the government for his achievements, specially the bouncing bomb used by 617 Squadron.
On the day in question, all the scholarship holders who were old enough to be in the Combined Cadet Force (13 plus rings a bell) were rounded up, driven to a nearby airfield and loaded into an aircraft and flown to 617 Sqn for the day. At 617 Sqn we were very well looked after, shown around a Vulcan, inside and out, shown the hangars and other facilities and fed lunch in the Officers Mess.
It was a memorable day thanks to the members of 617 Squadron who looked after us, although, unfortunately, memories have dimmed with the passage of time. We knew we were looking at a marvellous new aircraft, but I didn't realise that it was destined to become such a celebrity. We were returned to school the same way we came and probably, had extra homework to catch up on what we had missed!
After I left Christ's Hospital, I joined the RAF and became a navigator on Marine Patrol Shackletons, then the AEW version before retiring and migrating to Canada, so I never did fly in a Vulcan, but now I can do what I can to keep XH558 flying.
In January 2009 I visited the Falkland Islands during a cruise and purchased a copy of the book Vulcan 607, which I have read more than once.
Nigel Appleby Flight Lieutenant (Retired).
The Vulcan 607 book Nigel refers to, is the true story of the build up to the Falklands Conflict and the RAF's first strikes against the runway at Port Stanley - gripping reading. The ideal Christmas Gift!
Available now in a Special VTTS branded Limited Edition Hardback, at just £20 plus postage.