Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History
Vickers Valiant B.1

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Valiant Taxying with Blue Steel


Vickers Valiant Image Gallery

  Several Vickers Valiant B.1 aircraft visited Australia in the 1950s & 60s,
Some were used for trials associated with
Operation Buffalo, the code name of the Blue Danube thermonuclear bomb tests.
Others were used by A.V.Roe & Co Ltd for development and trials of the Blue Steel Nuclear Stand-Off weapon
Two other Valiants visited in more peaceful roles as part of Operation Too Right (see below)

The Valiant was seen as the least glamorous of the three V Bombers, the futuristic looking Avro Vulcan and Handley Page Victor often overshadowing this elegant design. All three V Bombers saw service in Australia. Some were issued with RAAF Aircraft Status Cards.
It was the first in service with the prototype flying in 1951. Its career was cut short when wing fatigue issues discovered in 1964 grounded the fleet in 1965.
They were all scrapped except for XD818 which is currently on display in RAF Museum, Cosford's Cold War hangar along with a Vulcan and a Victor.

The sole survivng Valiant XD818 
RAF Museum, Cosford
June 2014
Photo Martin Edwards

Serial Type Aircraft History
WP201 B.1 Status Card states "24/06/1954 Valiant B.1 aircraft WP201 will be sent to LRWE(A) early in 1955 for Bomb Ballistic Trials
Was expected to be on loan for approx 6 months in 1955 for Bomb Ballistic Trials. It is expected that the a/c will be used in Australia for up to 6 months."
11/08/1955 Valiant B.1 a/c WP209 received at Air Trails Unit, No advice further for above (Unintelligible) for WP201.
WP204 B.1 09/09/1954 First flight, delivered to RAF 04/04/1955
Status card states departed for Australia 27/09/1960 and received by RAAF 28/08/1960 so one of these dates would seem wrong
Fitted with Avon MK20401 Nos. 6697, 6674, 6973 & 6988.
Operated by Base Squadron Edinburgh Field for A.V Roe and Co.
04/01/1962 Departed for the UK,
11/01/1962 Returned to the UK .

Highlight for Album: Valiant WP204  

Perished 24/08/1965 at St Athan

WP206 B.1 03/11/1954 First flight, delivered to RAF 08/02/1955
Previously visited Australia in 1955 as part of Operation Too Right (see below)

17/10/1961 Received by RAAF at Base Squadron Edinburgh Field,
17/10/1961 To A.V Roe and Co and operated by Base Squadron Edinburgh Field,
27/05/1963 Returned to the UK ex Edinburgh Field.

Highlight for Album: Valiant WP206
WP206 wore RAAF kangaroo roundels for a while, we don't know if they were officially approved! 

WP209 B.1 08/01/1955 First flight, delivered to RAF 06/04/1955
31/07/1955 Issued to Air trials Unit ex UK,
11/08/1955 Received Air trials Unit ex UK, Installed Avons Mk.20401 Nos. 6716, 6717, 6718, 6719 (last changed to 8078)
18/08/1955 Held unserviceable at ATU,
25/08/1955 Held serviceable at ATU,
08/09/1955 Held unserviceable at ATU,
15/09/1955 Held unserviceable at ATU,
12/01/1956 Held U/E at ATU,
03/05/1956 Held unserviceable at ATU,
07/09/1956 Held unserviceable at ATU,
14/12/1956 Held unserviceable at ATU,
12/07/1957 Held ATU under repair,
26/02/1958 Issued to ATU Det.A for ATU
11/02/1958 Held U/E at ATU CAT A,
25/02/1958 Allotted ATU Det.A ex ATU for flying duties,
26/02/1958 Issued ATU Det ex ATU,
12/06/1958 Held U/E 2 ATU,
23/07/1958 Issued & received Base Squadron Edinburgh ex 2 ATU,
04/08/1958 Allotted Maintenance Squadron Edinburgh for modifications,
06/08/1958 Issued and received 2 ATU ex Maintenance Squadron Edinburgh,
12/08/1958 Held U/E 2 ATU,
12/01/1959 Held U/R at Maintenance Squadron Edinburgh,
12/03/1959 Held U/E 2 ATU,
12/07/1959 Held U/E 2 ATU,
12/11/1959 Held U/E 2 ATU,
12/02/1960 Held U/R at Maintenance Squadron Edinburgh,
04/03/1960 Received 2 ATU ex Maintenance Squadron Edinburgh,
26/08/1960 Aircraft status reported allotted to Vickers Armstrong Aircraft Ltd, Marshalls Flying School, Cambridge, UK

10/1966 Perished Sansted Airport fire school

WZ366 B.1 No RAAF Status Card Found
18/08/1955 First flight, delivered to RAF 07/10/1955
04/08/1956 Left RAF Wittering
for Maralinga to carry out Operation Buffalo, the Blue Danube thermonuclear bomb tests.
11/10/1956 The first British Nuclear Bomb was dropped at 35,000 feet from WZ366
Returned to UK later in 10/1956

Highlight for Album: Valiant WZ366

16/06/1965 scrapped at No. 19 MU St Athan. To Anthanto Marine Salvage. Portsmouth

WZ367   No RAAF Status Card Found
30/08/1955 First flight, delivered to RAF 20/09/1955
04/08/1956 Left RAF Wittering
for Australia
20/08/1956 Arrived Edinburgh after a week's delay due to seized engine at Nagombo, Ceylon
To Maralinga to carry out Operation Buffalo, the Blue Danube thermonuclear bomb tests.
Returned to UK 18/10/1956

To BAC Weybridge for fatigue test. Broken up 06/1965

WZ370 B.1 22/09/1955 First flight, delivered to RAF 10/1955
22/07/1957 To Base Squadron Edinburgh Field ex A.V.Roe and Co Ltd Woodford Stockport, for special development trials, fitted with Avon MK20401 6738, 6751, 6742 & 6787,
15/10/1959 Base Squadron Edinburgh Field queried as to present status,
29/06/1959 A/C on charge and operated by A.V.Roe and Co Ltd and based at Base Squadron Edinburgh Field in accordance with Ministry of Supply Contract,
09/11/1959 Returned to the UK ex Edinburgh Field.

Highlight for Album: Valiant WZ370

03/1966 scrapped at Pershore

WZ373 B.1 18/10/1955 First flight, delivered to RAF 18/11/1955
02/11/1960 Received Base Squadron Edinburgh ex-UK (
fitted with Avon MK20401 4467, 4397, 4335 & 6787,)
03/11/1960 to A.V.Roe
16/02/1962 Returned to the UK ex Edinburgh Field,

Highlight for Album: Valiant WZ373

WZ375 B.1 02/11/1955 First flight, delivered to RAF 30/11/1955
10/04/1961 To Base Squadron Edinburgh Field ex A.V.Roe fitted with Avon MK20401s Nos. 4455, 7146, 7154 & 4395,
12/02/1963 Aircraft and engines returned to the UK ex Edinburgh Field.

Struck off charge 22/07/1966 and scrapped at Pershore


In 1955 two Vickers Valiant B.1 bombers (serial numbers WP206 and WP207) from RAF 138 Squadron visited Australia as part of Operation "Too Right"
WP207 was flown by
FLTLT Roy Mathers. His son Rob Mathers has kindly supplied photographs, copies of newspaper articles and extracts from his father's Log Book (all may be seen by clicking on thumbnail below)
The details below are for WP207. The other Valiant WP206 would of followed a similar schedule.

05/09/1955 Departed RAF Wittering destination Habbaniya, Iraq
05/09/1955 Aborted departure for Karachi, Pakistan due to no pressurisation.
06/09/1955 Departed Habbaniya for Karachi, then Karachi to Negombo, Ceylon (current Sri Lanka)
08/09/1955 Flew Negombo to Changi, Singapore
10/09/1955 Flew Changi to Perth
12/09/1955 Arrived Sydney (Mascot) Airport flying from Perth in a record time of 3 hours 23 minutes
14/09/1955 Flew to Melbourne (Essendon) Airport detouring for a flying display over Canberra en-route.
On landing it blew a main undercarriage tyre. Barricades were set up and armed guards posted around the still top secret aircraft.
Was on display for Melbourne Air Force Week Celebrations
16/09/1955 Flew Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide then on to RAAF Edinburgh
18/09/1955 Edinburgh to Christchurch, New Zealand
21/09/1955 Christchurch to Wellington (Ohakea)

Both aircraft then returned to UK
WP206 later returned to Australia for weapon's trials (see above)
WP207 was eventually sold as scrap 01/01/1967 at No.19 MU St Athan to Bradbury's of Bournemouth

Highlight for Album: Valiant WP207




Page Authors Daren Crick, Martin Edwards & Brendan Cowan.

Sources: RAAF Status Cards, UK Military Aircraft Serials, British Military Aircraft Serials 1911-1979 by Bruce Robertson, Valiant Boys by Tony Blackman & Anthony Wright.

Emails: Mick Boulanger, Rob Mathers, Mike Mirkovic.

Updated 2nd March 2016

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