Call to bring iconic Valiant, Vulcan and Victor nuclear bombers back to Doncaster

Officials at Doncaster’s aircraft museum have been urged to bring four iconic V-Bomber cockpits to the borough.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 11:57 am

They are being auctioned off by their previous owner this week, sparking the call for them to be given a permanent home in the borough which was once home to the RAF Finningley air base which operated each of the three types of jet.

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The collection, to be sold by auctioneers Hansons on Tuesday, is made up of cockpits taken from a Vickers Valiant, an Avro Vulcan, and two Handley Page Victors.

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The Cockpits Collection. PIcture: Nigel Towler

All three are types of nuclear bomber which were based in Doncaster during the cold war.

Owner Nigel Towler, 65, has dedicated 40 years of his life to salvaging and restoring his collection but says he needs to sell them – and warns they could be sold off for scrap if a buyer cannot be found.

Aviation buff Adrian Ford-Simms contacted the Free Press to call for them to go to the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum at Lakeside.

He said: “I would love to see these come to SYAM at Doncaster.

Victor B2. Picture: Nigel Towler

"RAF Finningley had all three V- bombers (the Vulcan, Valiant and Victor) at some time or other, but there's little or no chance they'll go there.

“The SYAM is home to the UK's largest permanent display of the Falklands conflict. This is on account of nearby RAF Bawtry, home to RAF Strike Command HQ from its formation until 1983.

“Every element of the RAF's V-force was controlled from here. Few who lived in nearby towns and villages appreciated that indirectly, they lived under one of the great shadows of the Cold War.

“On a personal level, I grew up with the V-bombers, under Bawtry's Cold War Shadow, in some of those towns and villages- one of which had an air raid siren mounted on a pole next to the village library.

Victor B2 xh670. PIcture; Nigel Towler

“These cockpits are part of South Yorkshire's aviation heritage and my life. I'm not a Yorkshireman, but I could not think of anywhere more appropriate, and deserving, to see them go on public display.”

Museum marketing manager Mal Taylor said the team at the museum was aware of the auction and had an interest in some of the items. He declined to say which items they were looking at.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.

Vulcan XH560. Picture: Nigel Towler