Withdrawn Blackburn Buccaneers Torn Apart at RAF Shawbury

buccaneer-scrap-shawbury (All images by Alan Allen, reproduced with permission)

Today, a healthy number of Blackburn Buccaneer subsonic strike jets can be found in aviation museums across the UK and South Africa, its two operators. But after the type was retired from Royal Air Force service in March 1994, the majority of the twin-seat bombers were broken up for scrap. These photographs reveal a sorry line up of Buccaneers in the process of recycling at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire after their flying days came to an end.


Introduced operationally in 1962, the Blackburn Buccaneer was initially operated by the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm and the South African Air Force, as well as the RAF, with whom it served with distinction during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. But like all military aircraft, retirement brought mass scrapping after a job well done.


Seen above on misty Shropshire day, a line of redundant jets, stripped of all useful parts, awaits recycling at RAF Shawbury, a former Royal Flying Corps airfield dating back to World War One that now serves, among other duties, as a storage facility for grounded aircraft.


One of those abandoned aircraft, Buccaneer XX896, daubed with the dreaded ‘blue cross of death’, stands amid a pile of torn metal and wires before being ripped apart.


Another is seen flipped on its back as a mechanical digger tears into the old airframe’s severed cockpit section. Meanwhile, in the background a line of ghastly Buccaneer hulks wait their turn for the hydraulic claws.


Barely recognisable as a former warplane, only the undercarriage betrays the original purpose of this tangled pile of scrap metal.

Related – Buccaneer Jet Looks Impressive on Scottish Petrol Station Forecourt


About the author: Tom


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