Southend Vulcan to honour ‘Dam Busters’ 

Avro Vulcan B.2 XL426 to take to the runway at twilight to commemorate 617 Squadron

The Vulcan Restoration Trust (VRT) announced on February 20, 2023 that is to undertake a special public twilight taxi-run at its Southend Airport home in Essex on May 20 to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of 617 Squadron’s daring and audacious raid against the Möhne, Edersee and Sorpe Dams in Western Germany on the night of May 16/17, 1943.

Barry Williams


In its announcement, the VRT said: “Our Vulcan, XL426, has strong links with the 'Dam Busters'. It comes from the same Avro 'stable' as the Lancasters used on the raid and served with 617 Squadron in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. [Today] XL426 wears 617 Squadron's famous diamond-shaped emblem, featuring a breached dam, on the port side of its fin.”

It added: “The Dam Busters Twilight Taxi-Run event will begin with a big-screen Secret Cinema showing of the 1955 feature film, The Dam Busters, in association with the 2023 Southend Film Festival. The sun would have been setting when 617 Squadron's Lancasters took off in May 1943, and so will it be when visitors move outside to witness Vulcan XL426 taxi in the twilight. There will superb opportunities to watch and photograph XL426 as she starts her engines as the sun sets. XL426 will then move off and carry out two taxi-runs on the Southend Airport runway. The second run will be a high-speed pass.”

Barry Williams


Viewing will be from the Trust's exclusive visitor area in front of its hangar – giving visitors an uninterrupted view across the airport and unrivalled photographic opportunities. With gates slated to open at 4:30pm, the screening of The Dam Busters will commence at 5:45pm, before XL426 starts ‘her’ engines at 8:00pm to taxi at 8.30pm.

Attendance is limited, and tickets are now on sale. Prices are as follows:

Public Adult: £65.00; VRT Member Adult: £35.00; Under-16 (must be over 12 years of age): £25.00

More information can be found here.