XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society

50th Anniversary Celebrations

On the 24th November 1964 the third from last AVRO Vulcan B.2 produced, XM655, was flown from Woodford to Cottesmore, to be made available to the RAF as part of the now famous V-Force.

To celebrate this 50th Anniversary, 655MaPS held two special events: a Twilight Photoshoot on the 15th November 2014 and a Members’ day on the 22nd November 2014.

15th November 2014 Photo Shoot

On a fine but chilly Saturday, XM655 was moved onto the taxyway ready for a photoshoot with just under 100 photographers eager to get their shots. This event was co-produced with TimeLine Events, where Heritage and Photography come together and recreate scenes from a past era.

preparing for the shoot
Copyright © Dougie Hales        Copyright © Phil Gaines

There were 8 re-enactors posing for different scenarios during the 5 hour event along with our ground equipment and even a systems demo to enable the photographers the opportunity to see and photograph inside the bomb bay.

preparing for the shoot
Copyright © Phil Gaines

The photoshoot commenced late afternoon whilst it was still daylight and as darkness fell special lighting was switched on to enhance the atmosphere of a Vulcan being prepared for QRA. As the night grew colder we did wonder if the photographers would ever want to go home but despite such an enthusiastic response, time had to be called at 2000 hrs so that XM655 could be tucked up once again on her pan safe and sound for the night. After which a tired but very happy band of MaPS volunteers who had been there since the morning also left for the night, we suppose 14 hour shifts were common during a QRA!

A highly successful event and one which we are going to repeat this year on 24th October, tickets are already on sale through timelineevents.org.

preparing for the shoot
MaPS Volunteers 15th November
Copyright © Clive Hanley

Time Line Events will be running a 2nd Twilight shoot at XM655 on 24th. October 2015. Details can be found Here

November 22nd - Members' Day

Our MaPS 2014 Members’ Day saw over 160 Members and 22 guests including our Guest of Honour who was AEO on the Delivery into Service flight, Flying Officer Tom Howat. Attendees on the day were looked after by 15 volunteers with 6 Air Cadets -3 from 150 Oxford Sqn and 240 Darlaston Sqn with their leaders.

For some the weekend started on Friday, moving aircraft and putting up the marquees ready for the following day. Isi, Bob, Bry, Av, Nick, Eric & Kay worked really hard and stayed in good spirit in extremely foul weather when it rained heavily all day with strong winds at times. Charles was also arranging and printing documents in the warmth of his office.

Isi warms up to teach the men Eric prepares for pole dancing lessons...!
how to pole dance!!

Copyright © Av Magill

Saturday started quite early with the final preparations for the big day, when the Hog Roast turned up mid-morning it put a big smile on the volunteers faces.

Our guests started to arrive at 1100 hrs with a few well-known faces to our Members: the regular Wings and Wheels Aircrew of Mike Pollitt, David Thomas and John Laycock and this year’s Wings and Wheels compere Andy Marson. These, along with 655 MaPS Members Sqn Ldr Alan Coles and Wg Cdr Chris Reid participated in events, such as talks, question and answer sessions, and book signing throughout the day alongside authors Tony Blackman & Craig Bulman.

book signing
Guest of HonourTony Blackman, Mike Pollitt & Chris Reid book signing
Tom Howat

Copyright © Clive Hanley

With many activities running all day such as: the well-attended Question and Answer sessions covering a wide range of Vulcan related topics, Ground Equipment and Under-wing tours, Photo opportunities and not least the Cockpit Experience, the sensation of a Vulcan engine start-up with light and sound, which proved to be exceptionally popular.

members day
Copyright © Clive Hanley

As with the rest of the weekend the rain made an appearance for a short while, which gave the opportunity for photographers to take shots of a completely different dimension using the puddles, or was it a river!

Waterfall Pure engineering!
Copyright © Dougie HalesCopyright ©Alex Milne

Finally there was a twilight photographic opportunity which was very different from the previous week in that the floodlight aircraft was plunged into darkness with only the tail illuminated as a finale.


On Sunday the weather was unkind to us again as Isi, Bob, Kay, Bry, Av, Nick, Eric, Charles, Edward & Hayley took down the tents and washing them before packing away.

washing tents

Two down...one to goEdward & Hayley preparing the
marquee walls for hosing down

washing poles
Bob, Nick & Bry washing the marquee poles
Copyright © Kay Prestidge & Isi Jackson

On behalf of the 50th Committee I would like to thank all the volunteers, guests and members who attended which made both events so successful. - Av Magill

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