E.E. Canberra WH972

RAF Kinloss, Forres, Moray













Aircraft Type Photos


Pre-Accident Photos of Canberra WH972






Airliners.net (with others at Canberra 40th Anniversary Celebration at RAF Wyton in 1989 - the year before this aircraft crashed.)



BELOW: An RAF English Electric Canberra bomber  / photo-reconnaissance aircraft at the classic Kemble Air Show, Gloucestershire, England in 2003.


a canberra bomber


Photo: 2003 Adrian Pingstone ('Arpingstone'). Released by the author to the public domain.





Aircraft Type and Background


RAF English Electric Canberra E.15  / WH972



Aircraft manufacturer: Handley Page Ltd.


Other manufacturers of this type:



(Like Handley Page, both Avro and Shorts were subcontracted by English Electric to help cope with demand);

BAC (subcontractor to English Electric following liquidation or merger of the earlier manufacturers);

Martin B-57 Canberra (US Type built under licence.)


Aircraft Type Nickname: "Cranberry"; Caterpillar", and others.


Built as a successor to the de Havilland Mosquito, the English Electric Canberra became one of the RAF's longest serving aircraft. Used initially as a high-altitude jet bomber, the Canberra was put into service latterly as a photo-reconnaissance aircraft. Between its two roles, the type served with the RAF for over 50 years.


As it was designed to fly high and fast, the Canberra did not carry any defensive armaments. However, as a bomber, the aircraft could carry 6,000lbs of bombs internally plus under-wing gun pods or another 1,000 of bombs externally.


The modified B.2 variant of the Canberra, which is the type featured here, first flew in 1950.


Many of these Canberras served with the RAF in Malaya,  and Egypt during the Suez Crisis. Martin B-57 Canberras served with the USAF in Vietnam. Canberras were also used by the RAAF in Australia against targets in Malaya and Vietnam.


Equipped with Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engines, the Canberra had a maximum speed of just over 600mph, and a ceiling greater than 48,000ft.


A No. 39 (PRU) Squadron Canberra remained in service at RAF Marham until 28 July 2006, when the type was finally retired from the RAF.



BELOW: An RAAF English Electric Canberra bomber.


an english electric canberra bomber


Photo: 2007 'DJGB'. Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.





Aircraft Accident Details


At 14:50 hours on 27 June 1990, the crew of Canberra WH972 from RAF Wyton took off from RAF Kinloss to participate in a maritime training exercise.


The operational aspects of the sortie was completed uneventfully, and the crew commenced recovery for an Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach to runway 26 of RAF Kinloss.


At around 600 feet above ground level (AGL) the navigator noticed that the aircraft was diverging from the ILS localiser course and advised the pilot accordingly.


At first, the pilot attempted corrective measures, but then decided to overshoot the runway. He applied power to both engines. However, the port engine appeared to surge, resulting in a loss of power. The pilot attempted to throttle back and re-apply power, but this failed to clear the engine surge and consequent loss of power. At this point, the aircraft-- which was still in cloud - yawed and rolled rapidly to the left before striking the ground, almost inverted and nose down. The aircraft caught fire on impact with the ground.


Very soon after the aircraft started rolling rapidly, the navigator ejected. Although he survived, he suffered major injuries.


The pilot ejected shortly after the navigator; but by this time the aircraft was too close to the ground. Tragically, the pilot died on impact with the ground.


The accident occurred in a field about 1nm mile E of RAF Kinloss.



[Above information extracted from MoD Official Aircraft Accident Summary -- Canberra WH972]





Aircraft Crew Casualties


The pilot who died was:

  • Flt Lt Cameron Locke (29)


The name of the seriously injured navigator is unknown.





Crash Site Photos


At the moment, there are no photos of the crash site.



















Crash Date / Site


Accident Date: 27 Jun 1990


Accident Site:

1nm E of

RAF Kinloss [map]


Region: Moray


Nearest towns or villages:

Kinloss or Forres


Nearest large towns:

Elgin (E), Forres (SW) or Nairn (W)


OS Grid Refs: N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: As the accident occurred in a field close to RAF Kinloss, all wreckage was removed.




Aircraft Details


Registration or Serial: WH972


Operator: RAF (35 Squadron) ? (On detachment to 100 Squadron)


Operating Station (at time of accident): RAF Kinloss


Operating Station Location: Kinloss, Forres, Moray, Scotland.


Current Station Status (RAF Kinloss): Operational Military Air Station


Current Station Name (RAF Kinloss): RAF Kinloss




Parent Station: RAF Wyton 


Parent Station Location: Wyton, Cambridgeshire, England.


Current Parent Station Status (RAF Wyton): Operational Military Air Station (merged)


Current Parent Station Name (RAF Wyton): RAF Bampton Wyton Henlow




Principal airport data courtesy of John Woodside, A Catalogue of UK Airfields





Hill Walking Links


(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)

Walking Scotland's Mountains



Other Outdoor Activities


Backpacking and Backpackers

Backpacking in Britain

Backpacking Lite

Cicerone (Backpacking Guides for Walking in the UK)

The Backpackers Club

UK Backpacking Websites



Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayak Scotland (Sea Kayaking in Scotland)

Kayaking at Active Scotland (Various venues)

Sea Kayak Scotland


Mountain Biking

Mountain Bike Trails (Forestry Commission Scotland)


Rock Climbing and Abseiling

Abseiling in Perthshire

Abseiling Scotland (Various venues)

Climbing, Scrambling and Abseiling Scotland

Mountain Sports Courses and Paddle Sports Courses at Glenmore Lodge

Rock Climbing at Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre (Skills Courses and Qualifications Courses)

Rock Climbing in Scotland (Rock Climbing Areas)

UKClimbing.com (UKC) (Includes Abseiling / Rappelling)


Trekking and Hiking

Gairloch Trekking Centre (Pony Trekking in the Scottish Highlands)

Pony and Quad Treks (North Wales)

Ramblers (UK)

Ramblers (Worldwide Holidays)

Trekking Britain

Walking and Hiking



Emergency Services Link

Register for Text 999 Emergency Service

If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.