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Photograph by Peter Middlebrook
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Avro Vulcan B1A XA909 of the Waddington Wing at Prestwick Airport in July 1964. 909's rudder has obviously been robbed from another aircraft.

Like many of the 40-year-old images in this collection, the original transparencies have faded somewhat. Though digital copies can be manipulated and the colours approximately restored, there can be no assurance that the digital file format or the storage medium can be archived completely safely.

Peter Middlebrook remembers:

"This was to be the last day for XA909, and this is probably the last photo taken. I had been sent up to Prestwick as part of the ops team, and wandered out onto the ORP just before the aircraft were scrambled to take this shot. Once the Vulcans were airborne, we packed up and flew back to Waddington in an Argosy.

"Everyone wanted to know what had happened to XA909, but we of course knew nothing. While on the low level route in Wales, one engine exploded. The pilots managed to gain some height and get the rear crew out.

"Talking to Colin Woods the co pilot later, he said they trimmed the aircraft, pointed it out to sea over Angelsey, and then ejected. I seem to remember that he was startled to see XA909 turn round of its own accord and head back straight towards him."

© Peter Middlebrook.

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