The latest Ian Fleming pastiche, Solo by William Boyd, was published on 26 September. It’s 1969 and James Bond, just after his 45th birthday, sets off to adventures in Africa in a BOAC VC10. (BOAC, the British Overseas Airways Corporation, would become part of British Airways in 1974). Just under a week earlier, on 20 September, the RAF had conducted its final operations with VC10 tankers (above), almost 50 years after the aircraft entered commercial service with BOAC in 1964 and 51 years after the first flight in 1962. The last VC10 landing was on 25 September, the day on which copies of Solo were despatched around the world via British Airways.
Static civilian VC10s can be seen in the UK in Surrey at Brooklands and in Cambridgeshire at Duxford, and military tankers will be on display in Surrey at Dunsfold and in Cornwall (SW England) at Newquay.