ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20740
Last updated: 22 August 2014
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Date:27-NOV-1957
Time:16:15 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B.2
Owner/operator:6 Sqn RAF
Registration: WF886
C/n / msn: 71087
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:RAF Akrotiri -   Cyprus
Phase: Standing
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus
Destination airport:
Narrative:
WF886 was one of four Camberras (the other being WT508. WP514 and WJ858) that were destroyed in a hangar fire at Akrotiri, Cyprus on 27.11.1957 following a bomb explosion caused by EOKA guerrillas

Per eyewitness/contemporary reports: "An EOKA sabotage at Akrotiri Base- Huge damages- EOKA succeeds in infiltrating even the English Bases

EOKA carried out a very serious act of sabotage in the Akrotiri Base on 26 November 1957. Members of the Organisation who were employed at the base managed to perform a very difficult task with the help of Panikos Soteriou, a fifth-form student of LimassolΥs Lanitio Gymnasium.

Andreas Vassiliou, an Akrotiri Base employee and the protagonist of this most daring sabotage action, placed two time bombs against two airplanes on November 25. They were detonated the next day. Such a bold enterprise by a teenager demonstrated the spirit of persistence and self-sacrifice of EOKA members. This is his personal account of how the operation was carried out:

"The English technicians finished their job and left the hangar at 1 p.m., there remaining only an armed guard to keep watch on us until 4 p.m. when we would be finishing our work as well. After our lunch break, a Turk and an Armenian colleague went outside the hangar at 1.45 p.m., while a third colleague, a Greek, happened to fall asleep on a makeshift bench. At this moment and while the English guard was examining one of the planes situated in the corner next to the entrance, I went quietly to the middle of the hangar and sneaking under the wings of a 'Canberra' bomber jet, I placed the explosive device in the inside cavity next to the fuel tank. I then turned back without being seen and left the hangar.

At 2.30 p.m. I pretended to go to the toilet and left the spot where we worked with my colleagues and the guard watching us. When I reached the exit of the hangar I did not go out but turned in the opposite direction and hiding behind the bulk of the planes I placed the other bomb in the dead end of an opening on the left side of one of them, the same type as the first one. It was a spot almost adjacent to the fuel tank. After that I returned by the same route and rejoined my colleagues.

When I came to Limassol in the evening, I gave a report to those in charge and waited for the results. On the following day, the 26th of November, I went to work as usual, so as not to arouse the suspicions of the English after the explosions, but I realized that nothing had happened in the hangar.

I found myself in a very difficult situation, because I would be giving myself away if I left work and the English technician working on the planes in the meantime were to discover the bombs, in spite of how well I had hidden them. On the other hand, the bombs could go off at any moment, killing me and everybody else in the hangar. Nevertheless, I carried on working until 4 p.m. when we finished."

Dighenis wrote about the affair:

"The bombs, two of them, were placed inside the engines of two 'Canberra' bomber jets. At about 16.15 the fuel tanks of the planes blew up. In a matter of seconds the flames engulfed the tin-made hangar, which was 130 metres long 20 metres high and housed 4 'Canberra" jets and one Venom.'

The whole structure collapsed and was completely destroyed, together with all the planes and other material, consisting of plane motors and lathes. None of those who carried out this sabotage was ever arrested. This was the most destructive act of its kind in the history of the island and of England. The damage caused was estimated at 4.5 million pounds."

WF886 was formally Struck Off Charge 02/12/1957 as CAT 5(C) at 131 MU Akrotiri, Cyprus

Sources:
Air Britain RAF Aircraft WA100 - WZ999
http://www.ukserials.com/losses-1957.htm
http://www.britains-smallwars.com/cyprus/war.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Akrotiri#History
http://www.britains-smallwars.com/cyprus/war.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
07-Jun-2008 12:11 JINX Added
04-Apr-2013 00:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
04-Apr-2013 19:28 Nepa Updated [Operator]
Number of views: 702

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