Last chance to see RAF's first jet fighter at National Trust Croome - The Evesham Observer

Last chance to see RAF's first jet fighter at National Trust Croome

Evesham Editorial 24th Aug, 2023   0

TIME is running out to see the Gloster Meteor jet fighter at National Trust Croome.

The historic aeroplane, on display next to the car park and RAF Defford Museum was the last aircraft to leave RAF Defford in March 1958 and since its return, has provided a popular indication of Croome’s role as a secret RAF airbase.

In fact Meteor WD686 is a part of Croome’s long and fascinating history.

The land required for RAF Defford was requisitioned from the Earl of Coventry in 1940.

The Coventry family had owned Croome since the 16th Century, and it was the 6th Earl who worked with the brightest talent of the day during the 18th Century to develop the House and parkland that make the landmark so attractive.

The Meteor has been on display at Croome’s visitor centre during the past four years but sadly it’s showing signs of exposure to the elements and therefore, arrangements have now been made for it to travel to a new home where its long-term future can be assured.

The aircraft was initially loaned to the Defford Airfield Heritage Group from Boscombe Down Aviation Collection for one year and went on display at Croome in October 2019.

This was extended during Covid and after nearly four years it’s clear that keeping it outside long-term is not ideal for its preservation.

The good news is that Boscombe Down Aviation Collection have been able to secure a new home for the aircraft at Wattisham Station Heritage Museum in Suffolk, where it will be kept under cover, preventing further deterioration and enabling essential restoration work to be carried out.

During the Second World War the RAF Defford base at Croome was one of the most secret places in the country.

Even today it can be a surprise to find out there was a secret Second World War RAF base at Croome, where the historically significant experiments and developments in Radar were carried out. These were to play a vital part in helping the Allies to win the war and pave the way for many everyday electronic applications that we now take for granted.

If visitors would love to see the aeroplane before it travels to its new home, they’ll need to be quick as it is due to be dismantled on September 5-6 for transportation on the 7th.

Michelle Fullard, National Trust South Worcestershire general manager said: “The Meteor has been an exciting addition to the experience for visitors to Croome.

“While we’re sad to see it go we’re also pleased it will be enjoyed by more people in a different location and as a veteran aircraft will be well looked after at Wattisham Station.”

Visit to find out more.

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