Self vulcanising

Here’s an interesting blast from the past concerning some leftfield local mythology. I was contacted in the week by reader Richard Stanley, who posed this interesting question:

Hey Bob,

Odd memory that came to me whilst watching a program about the Falklands, there was at one point the cockpit section of a Vulcan bomber sitting in a garden in Hammerwich. I didn’t believe myself for a while but I managed to find some photos to prove it was a actually there – see

Do you or your readers know anything about it? I think it’s just the sort of curiosity you’d be interested in and would very much like to know what it was doing there, where it came from and the like?



P.S. On the military theme there was also once a tank sitting in a field near the junction of Barracks Lane and the A461?

Now I never actually witnessed this, but remember the buzz surrounding it, as does [Howmuch?], but neither of us have a clue what was going on, and it would be quite interesting to find out. There’s brief mention of it on the Iconic Aircraft Aviation Forum, but little else online regarding this curious event. As to the tank, not heard that one before, but I welcome contributions on the subject.

I do recall passing a front garden somewhere in the Saredon/Brewood/Penkridge type area in about 1988 that was a tribute to the Battle of Britain, complete with model spitfire and allsorts, but nothing like the cockpit pictured below.

Vulcan Bomber 1990 Burntwood

Image embedded from the Flckr photostream of user daevideo.

Vulcan Bomber 1990 Burntwood

Image embedded from the Flckr photostream of user daevideo.

Vulcan Bomber 1990 Burntwood

Image embedded from the Flckr photostream of user daevideo.

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15 Responses to Self vulcanising

  1. Dave Fellows says:

    I could be wrong here as time and memory play tricks, but I think there was a fuselage of a Lightning fighter in the same garden?


  2. Andy Dennis says:

    Was this the chap who had a dumper truck painted white and a Bofors gun? Calf Heath?

    • Cheers everyone. At the time, I didn’t cycle out that way, preferring Shenstone and the east. Wish I had now.

      Andy is bang on about Calf Hath, that’s the one I remember. Didn’t look the work of someone, shall we say, totally with all their chairs under the table. But where would Britain be without it’s eccentrics?

      Best wishes


      • Hello Bob, You might be interested to know that these images I took in 1990 when I cycled past the house in Farewell Lane opp the smallest park in the British Isles. I went back with my mothers Instamatic Kodak which she bought in 1970. It was an arresting sight and I wish I had some edifice like this in my garden. I was quite a rabid cyclist in those days.

  3. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    There was such a cockpit section in the front garden of a cottage just across the road from Burntwood church for some years, but it is not there now..where Farewell Lane joins Church Lane.
    The tank in Barracks Lane was an armed troop carrier I think , and was owned by the householder.. by the field. It seemed to do a lot of damage very quickly to the surface of the field..behind the Car Spares depot)
    Boys and their toys! ( I want and F 11, please ! )

  4. 7rin says:

    *nods* Echoing David Evans’ recollection of aircrafty stuff in a garden around where Farewell and Church Lane join.

  5. R Nuttall says:

    David, you are correct. It was a light tank and it was purchased by the then owner of the field at an MOD disposal sale. The gun was in place but it was, of course, decommissioned and unusable. He practiced driving in the field in preparation for it’s journey to Little Aston School on the day of it’s Annual Fair as his son was a pupil there. The tank was up as the price exhibit and it cost you £ 0.50p a time to go inside and sit in the driver’s seat; all monies to the school fund. They were queuing 100 yards to have a go. At the appointed time, he drove the vehicle himself up to Shire Oak and along the Chester Road to the Irish Harp and then left along the Aldridge Rd to the school. To complete the picture, his friend purchase a very impressive ex Russian Officer’s peaked hat and coat and completed the journey both ways standing out the turret and saluting everyone he passed. Whether this journey was legal or illegal is very contentious but he got away with it and earned a lot for the School. The tank was removed back from whence it came the next day on a low loader.

    • Frank says:

      The tank was a Abbott self proppelled gun owned by the Bridge family who co’owned Bridges of Minwoth truck sales. I had to go to Mr J Bridges house by Barracks lane and get the engine sorted as it had stood for many months but we got it going and played in the field a while. Later it went back to minworth to be sold. I still have its full workshop manual somewhere.

  6. Julie Le-Moine says:

    ah my father in law used to work on the Vulcan’s, happy memories…..fantastic sight to see at Cosford Airshow…….

  7. Craig says:

    I certainly remember this in my youth (Grandparents have lived there since they moved there in the 50’s). I definately remember going past it back during the late 80’s early 90’s. I will have a word with my father and grand parents and see what they remember of it.

  8. gabriel says:

    This was the nose of Vulcan B.2 XM652. Potted history from :
    “Completed 12.8.64. Olympus 301 engines. 9 Squadron 17.8.64, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 24.12.67, 44 Squadron 9.75, 9 Squadron 10.81, 50 Squadron 10.82. Sold to Boulding Group 20.2.84. Dismantled and transported to Sheffield 7.5.84. Nose to Burntwood 2.85, rest of airframe scrapped 2.85.”

    On the runway at RAF Finnigley 21 September 1974:

    A picture of her in flight 15 April 1982, at RAF Waddington:

    There’s a shot of the nose being removed here:
    The caption reads:
    Avro Vulcan XM652 being dismantled at RAF Waddington in 1983/’84, in an ill fated effort to move her to Sheffield for preservation. Here, the cockpit is removed, which still exists today on a farm in Wales.

    Being dismantled:

    Some details of the dismantling at

    It was last heard of in a private collection in Welshpool. A google for “vulcan xm652” will reveal some great pics – including past crews.

  9. Tom Moran says:

    Hi Bob, just found this thread and interesting to see photos of XM652′s nose in Burntwood. I knew it had spent time there but had never seen the photos before! I’m the son of the chap who dismantled it at Waddington in the early 1980s. Gabriel (above) linked to my write-up on the Iconic Aircraft forum and a few of our photos (taken by my Dad) on Flickr.

    You can see the full set here:

    I’m sporting what I can only assume was the height of fashion at the time – red waterproof trousers and an anorak! My memory of those heady days is a bit hazy, but I do recall Waddington being somewhat chilly and windswept.

    To the best of my knowledge the crane was supplied by a guy who lived on our road in Sheffield at the time. My Dad knew him from the pub, which is where the ill-fated 652 plan was hatched.

    To my Dad’s massive credit, he succeeded in project managing the dismantling of XM652 with very little help from anyone, especially the RAF, whose only interest was demanding the beast be moved asap. It was broken down into 11 big pieces for transportation and then the plug was pulled and the mid fuselage section chopped right down the middle, through the bomb arches and effectively stymieing any hope of reassembly. Suffice to say we weren’t too happy about that. And while memories of the months of dismantling still send shivers down my Dad’s spine to this day, the disappointment of not pulling it off – and not saving XM652 as a complete airframe – is still felt.

    The last time I saw this Vulcan was in a scrap yard in Sheffield several months later. I believe it was on Carlisle Street, and the nose section was on the back of a lorry and still looked good. I remember it well despite only being 4 or 5. I have no idea what condition it is in today, but during dismantling at Waddington it was (to the best of my knowledge) in excellent condition with complete instruments.

    Hope that helps shed a bit more light on the back story of this Vulcan in the hazy space between retirement from service and winding up in Welshpool! Feel free to contact me any time if you have any questions.



  10. Pingback: Some disassembly required « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  11. Ian Garfield says:

    Coming from Burntwood, I remember driving past that house in Hammerwich in my youth and being so excited at seeing the Vulcan cockpit. I can also remember the Lightning that was in the garden along with a couple of missiles. Does anyone know which lightning it was?

  12. It was I who took these images in Farewell near the Hammerwich Hoard location. I estimate that it was 1990. I was on my bike.

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