Shackleton WR977 - Duty Carried Out

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Shackleton WR977 - Duty Carried Out' page

Location of the Newark Air Museum Shop

By Robert Lindsay & Howard Heeley

The Avro Shackleton aircraft was a familiar sight at airfields around the world including south Nottinghamshire, where over several years many different Shackletons underwent various conversions at the Avro factory at Langar airfield.

The book Shackleton WR977 - Duty Carried Out, which is published by the Newark Air Museum provides a detailed insight into one very special Shackleton MR3 aircraft, that joined the museum collection in spring 1977. The book provides a detailed record of this aircraft’s operational life between 1957 and 1971, which includes stories of Search and Rescue patrols; locating Gypsy Moth IV & Sir Francis Chichester; and Beira Patrols during the Rhodesia Crisis. One fact uncovered during the research for the book is that WR977 is the aircraft believed to be the RAF's longest serving Shackleton MR3.

WR977’s first spell in Nottinghamshire occurred in 1963 when the aircraft came to the Avro factory at Langar, Notts, for Phase 2 modifications, which took just under a year to complete. Much of the work involved updating the radio and avionics fit, including the Radio Compass and TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation) fit and updating to Mk 1C Sonic Sets. The incorporation of the Orange Harvest ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) also changed the external appearance of the MR3s through the addition of roof-mounted plinths and the 'Spark-plug' shaped aerials to all Phase 2 aircraft.

It returned again to the Avro factory at Langar in 1965 where it underwent modification to the Phase 3 standard, which involved a re-build of major airframe sections. Radio and avionics upgrades were again an important aspect of the work however significant structural changes to the airframe also took place. This was to accommodate a further tactical sonics station and this involved moving the wardroom bulkhead backwards and reducing the size of this and the galley area.

Its final move to Nottinghamshire came in 1977 when it was acquired by the Newark Air Museum joining the collection on the former Winthorpe airfield site.

Copies of the 150 page book (ISBN 0 9500341 7 7) can be obtained from the Newark Air Museum Shop; cost £5.95 each; for further details please telephone 01636 707170 or email

This page was added by Howard Heeley on 12/11/2014.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.