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News release - Issued by the Yorkshire Air Museum

French Mirage IV Strategic Nuclear Bomber Gifted by France to Britain Begins Epic Road and Sea Transportation.

On Monday 27th March, the Director of the Allied Air Forces Memorial & Yorkshire Air Museum, Ian Reed ONM FRAeS, was at Châteaudun Airbase on the outskirts of Paris, to sign the contact and see off the departure of the convoy of 4 transporters on an epic 850km journey bringing the iconic Mirage IV BR (No. 45) strategic nuclear bomber gifted by the French Government to its new home at Elvington in Yorkshire.

The project is starting to go viral. Tens of thousands across the world are already “following” on social media. Worldwide media are also reporting on this exciting phase of the transfer by sea and road, especially along the route through France and up through the centre of Britain from the South Coast to North Yorkshire via London.

This unique Anglo/French Project occurs just as British Prime Minister Theresa May begins the formal BREXIT process, an irony not lost on our colleagues both sides of the Channel (La Manche).

Sally Greenaway, Head of Visit York, said: “This unique gift recognises the historic links and friendship between France and Britain and we’re thrilled the Mirage IV will be making its home at the Yorkshire Air Museum. As the only example in the world of this aircraft type on display outside of France, this adds yet another unique offer for our 6.9 million visitors to York and is sure to create lots of interest not just in the UK but also overseas”

Sailing from Le Havre to Portsmouth by Brittany Ferries, the convoy will make two crossings on Tuesday 28th March and Wednesday 29th March at 17:00pm. The latter will consist of the two ‘transports exceptionnel’ which bear the main fuselage section and then the huge delta wings and tailfin. Fully assembled, the Mirage IV is 77 feet long and 39 feet wide. The transport will provide a rare sight as it comes through Portsmouth and the latter stages of the journey around the M25 and then progressing up the M1. We wanted all media along the route to be aware of what this was all about, and, importantly, to urge those who see it along the route to share images, so that we can fully document this rare transportation and welcome this gift to Britain. We anticipate the aircraft to depart Portsmouth with escort at 09:30am on Thursday 30th March, to arrive with us later in the day.

The planned route in England is: M275 from Portsmouth; M27; M3; M25; M1; A1(M); A64 then B1228 to Elvington.

This is the culmination of 12 years of negotiation and is already being followed by tens of thousands of supporters across the world by social media, TV and Press. There is a dedicated website for up to date media information with pictures, background history and supporters:


Social media and live film streaming will be available free via:




We would like to express our thanks to our many sponsors and media supporters in this unique and very special example of our close ties and excellent Anglo/French co-operation.


In 1944, RAF Elvington was the home to two unique French Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command - 346 “Guyenne” and 347 “Tunisie”. In October 1945, these Squadrons returned to France with their British Halifax bombers to form the basis of the post war French Air Force. This gift of an iconic Cold War aircraft reflects this historic link between Britain, Elvington and France. The reformed 346 “Guyenne” Squadron was one of the first to operate the Mirage IV A, based at Istres, France.

This will be the only example in the world to be seen outside France.

Ian Richardson
Communications Manager – Yorkshire Air Museum

01904 608595 / 07896 902 895