Coventry Cathedral had been rebuilt after the damage from WWII and was approaching its opening date. RAF 66 Squadron planned and executed a 3 phase operation to lift the sprire into place:
- undertake a practice run with a replica of the correct dimensions and weight, at RAF Odiham
- lift the 4000 lb flèche (lattice spire) onto a small base plate (known as Operation Needle)
- lift the cross onto the flèche (known as Operation Camel).