Avro Vulcan

History The Life & Times of the Avro Vulcan, a British design icon

Churchill, Truman and StalinPotsdam July 1945 – the start of the Vulcan’s story. Within a month, the USA had dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, and Tory Prime Minister Churchill had lost a General Election in a landslide to the Labour Party’s Clement Atlee, who by the end of August 1945 had proposed to the Cabinet that the UK develop its own atomic bomb.


Meanwhile Stalin was tightening his grip on Eastern Europe, and adopting the doctrine of political expansion. President Truman opposed this expansion, leading to the Cold War. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill USA President Harry S Truman and Soviet Union President Joseph Stalin.

Churchill, Truman and Stalin

This is Britain’s first production atomic bomb. Code named “Blue Danube”, it had the same explosive power as those dropped on Japan – about 16,000 tonnes of conventional high explosive. The RAF’s three V-Bombers –the Vickers Valiant, the Handley Page Victor & the Avro Vulcan –were each designed to carry this huge device to Russia, in response to a Soviet nuclear attack –the strategy of deterrence was born.

Blue Danube

vulcan2This is Avro Vulcan XH558 on 1stJuly 1960, painted in “anti-flash” white, during her delivery flight from the factory at Woodford, near Manchester, to RAF Waddington near Lincoln. XH558 was the first Vulcan B.Mk2 to be delivered to the RAF, and she is now the oldest complete Vulcan in the world.

The Avro Vulcan XH558 has appeared at Clacton Air Show many time – August Bank Holiday

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