Making a welcome return to museum - The Evesham Observer

Making a welcome return to museum

Evesham Editorial 26th Aug, 2018   0

THE RESTORED forward fuselage, nose and cockpit of the last plane to fly out of RAF Defford more 60 than years ago will be making a 90 mile journey by road to return to the National Trust Croome.

The forward fuselage of Meteor NF11 WD686 night fighter is due to arrive on Tuesday (August 28) and will make another exciting addition to the RAF Defford Museum continuing the story of the secret work at the airbase, near Pershore.

During the Second World War and the Cold War years which followed, RAF Defford airfield, was one of the most secret places in the country. For it was at RAF Defford that airborne radar was tested, developed and proven. The airfield was built in the grounds of Croome the ancestral seat of the Earls of Coventry.

Radar was a war-winning weapon. Amongst many other outstanding achievements, the arrival in service of ASV radar developed by scientists at Malvern and proven at Defford, helped defeat the U-boats and win the Battle of the Atlantic.

Up until then, Nazi submarines were sinking allied ships faster than shipyards of Britain and America could build them. Radar helped defeat the menace of the night bomber and the blitz, and enabled Bomber Command to strike back at Germany. And later, in the Cold War, Britain with NATO allies needed radar to stay ahead of Soviet submarines and the threat of nuclear attack from the air.

The very last aircraft to leave RAF Defford before closure was a Meteor NF11 night fighter, serial number WD686, which flew out in April 1958. Incredibly, WD686 has survived, but the Meteor was at risk, deteriorating in the open and exposed to the elements next to the sea in Norfolk.

“The prospect of the return to the site of RAF Defford by last plane to fly out of the airfield before the airfield closed to flying sixty years ago, is very exciting,” said Dr Bob Shaw of the Defford Airfield Heritage Group (DAHG) who are responsible for the RAF Defford Museum exhibits.

“This year we will be showing the forward fuselage, cockpit and nose of Meteor WD686, which has been fully restored.

Next year we hope to have restored and on show, the whole aircraft. That really will be an event to remember!”

Visitors will be able to see the forward fuselage, which includes the fully furnished cockpit, canopy and nose of Meteor WD686 from August 28 until the end of October.


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