Re: A beautiful aircraft though
Absolutely true. One AMAZING fact I remember about these planes was their great American adventure?
As in most things, America was pretty down on the upstart 'Brits', daring to join the nuclear club. Disregard the fact that without our help the actual atomic bomb would have been developed in Germany first.
Once these planes were operational, Britain announced them as the first 'true' V bombers and thus our main nuclear deterrent. The Americans decried it as slow, cumbersome and far too noisy to be a tactically effective bomber? Naturally, this ruffled a few collars in the MOD and plans were set afoot to show the Americans that the UK could certainly hold its own in the area of defence. And so one such plane took off for America.
Its payload was a plastic 'bomb'...basically a weighed hollow plastic tube. Its flightpath took it out over Iceland (I believe it was refueled on both legs of this flight)? Greenland, out over Newfoundland, through Canada, over the Great Lakes and finally releasing its 'bomb' on the unsuspecting city of Chicago. Whereupon, it returned via the same route to the UK. Once they RAF had confirmation of the successful 'raid', they informed the Americans that they had been bombed and the evidence was in a park in Chicago!!!
There was instant outrage from our cousins over the pond and quick rebuttals as to the authenticity of the 'attack'...the assumption being that the 'bomb' had simply been placed there under darkness. So the RAF plotted a second 'low level' attack...still following the same route, but this time making its final bombing run over the Great Lakes at an altitude below radar surveillance. This too was achieved without incident and despite having been warned in advance, the only thing the American defences could confirm, was they had heard a deep rumbling sound, out over the Lakes. And they found the 2nd 'bomb' exactly where we had told them it would be.
And as an aside...I remember watching a news report many years ago, on the final docking as one of our nuclear submarines arrived in port, to be retired...I think it was Portsmouth? And the TV reporter asked the captain, what his one memory of his time on the sub would be? And his answer epitomised the 'Bulldog' spirit. It was something along the lines of...
'Without doubt, it's the fact that from the day we launched, until today...not ONE other country in the World knew where we were. Not the Americans, not the Russians, not the Chinese. We remained undetected for the whole time'!!!
And those three events to me, sum up what it is to be British.