Some disassembly required


A remarkable plane. And a rather fetching pair of red strides. Image from Tom Moran’s Flickr photo stream – click on the image to visit it.

Readers with long memories will recall my ruminations on the Vulcan Bomber cockpit that notoriously found itself in a garden in Burntwood a few years ago. The story still gets a large quantity of hits, and I think it’s fair to say is somewhat of a legend hereabouts.

Tom Moran has been in touch, and left a comment on the original post, and also sent me a interesting email, which I include below. The photos really are remarkable, and I thank Tom for his thoughtful and considered input, helping us to nail down the detail of what actually happened.

Hi Bob,

I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and was particularly interested to find the photos of Vulcan XM652’s cockpit in Burntwood. I left you a comment on the page but since it’s a few months old I wasn’t sure if you’d see it, so thought I’d drop you an email anyway 🙂

The Vulcan cockpit definitely did spend some time in Burntwood. I even knew a guy who’d seen it (he went to my school near Sheffield but came from Cannock Chase). I’m the son of the man who dismantled the Vulcan at Waddington with a view to preserving it outside a Sheffield country house. I also wrote the write-up on Iconic Aircraft. You’re absolutely right that not much exists online about it, but if you’re interested please do feel free to email me and I’ll happily answer any questions you have.

Here’s my Flickr set (if you’d like to post a photo or two on your blog that would be absolutely fine. Please just link back to the set):

It’s a long and somewhat messy story, but nevertheless an entertaining one! XM652 was purchased with the sole intention of preservation (as far as we were concerned, but with clearly ulterior motives for other members of the group). Of course, the whole thing was badly thought through and basically a shambles, but I’m pretty sure I can safely say that my father is the only person (other than a group of RAF engineers who moved a Vulcan to Hendon by road) to have dismantled a V-Bomber! Unfortunately, putting it back together again proved somewhat more difficult. Back in those days he had Wednesday off, so he spent every Wednesday and every weekend for months at RAF Waddington…

I was very young at the time but have fairly vivid memories of it. One of my favourite stories from that time was when our next door neighbour (a Scotsman who enjoyed a drink) had pledged a crane and decided he’d come along personally one day to inspect the operation while the Vulcan was still intact. Thinking it would be a relatively simple affair of removing the wings and tail, he arrived at Waddington and stood motionless in front of the bomber. My Dad (who was having his lunch in the cockpit at the time) said his words, when I finally spoke, were: “Moran, what the **** have you done?”. He was being serious!

Well, I hope that sheds a little more light on how the cockpit of XM652 came to be in Burntwood en route to Welshpool. Please feel free to contact me any time if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Tom Moran

p.s. from your post, it sounds as though the Vulcan is enshrined in local Brownhills lore. Well, I can tell you, it’s well and truly enshrined in Moran family lore, as well as that of the Bulls Head and Ranmoor Inn on Fulwood Road in Sheffield!

XM652 cockpit

I can’t begin to imagine how you even separate a cockpit from a bomber. A huge task! Image from Tom Moran’s Flickr photo stream – click on the image to visit it.

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6 Responses to Some disassembly required

  1. Jimbo says:

    In my opinion the Vulcan is by far the most impressive looking warplane ever designed graceful yet imposing at the same time like some massive bird of prey.

  2. D.Evans says:

    HI Bob
    very sunny Saturday afternoon ..I think 22 Sept, at 3,30 pm. a Vulcan bomber flew slowly and gracefully over Shire Oak and headed west over Clayhanger .perhaps to Cosford. A beautiful plane. Was this the Bruntingthorpe Vulcan? An amazing sight!

  3. Clive says:

    Nice one Tom and Bob.

  4. pedro says:

    See the bird on Youtube…

  5. I am surprised that my 1990 or 1991 photos of the front section XM652 resting in Farewell ( near Burntwood) seem to be the only ones available, which I uploaded to Flickr a few years ago. I actually cycled there again from about 20 miles away to take said snaps with my mam’s old Kodak Instamatic. The nose section could have been there for 5 years if the dates work out.

    • Gary says:

      Hi I lived opposite this Vulcan bomber cockpit, in farewell lane , my children often played in , my kids thought most people had one as they grew up feeling it was the norm , Gary woodward

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