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Kestrels – where are they now?

P.1127

  • XP831 Hawker P.1127 1st prototype f/f 21/10/60 now at the Science Museum, London,
  • XP836 Hawker P.1127 2nd prototype f/f 7/7/61 w/o 14/12/61
  • XP972 Hawker P.1127 3rd prototype f/f 5/4/62 w/o 30/11/1962
  • XP976 Hawker P.1127 4th prototype f/f 12/7/62 crashed Tangmere 12/7/61, scr. Faygate
  • XP980 Hawker P.1127  5th prototype f/f 24/2/63 taller fin, anhedral tail. Yeovilton UK
  • XP984 Hawker P.1127 6th prototype f/f 13/2/64 (effectively the 1st Kestrel) with swept wing and Pegasus 5. Now fitted with early P.1127 wing at Brooklands Museum UK

Kestrels in the US

All with swept wings and larger tail than the P.1127s

  • XS688 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 07/03/1964, to USAF 64-18262,Wright-Patterson Museum, Ohio
  • XS689 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 28/05/1964, to 64-18263, NASA521, Virginia Air & Space Museum
  • XS690 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 05/08/1964, to USAF 64-18264, now Pima Museum, Tucson, AZ
  • XS691 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 05/09/1964, to USAF 64-18265 w/o at Edwards AFB
  • XS692 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 07/11/1964, to USAF 64-18266, NASA520, Hampton, Virginia

Kestrels in the UK

  • XS693 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 25/11/1964, w/o 21/09/1967 Boscombe Down UK
  • XS694 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 30/01/1965, to USAF 64-18268, now Wings Museum, Balcombe UK
  • XS695 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 19/02/1965, w/o 15/03/1967, to A2619, now RAF Cosford Museum UK
  • XS696 Hawker Kestrel FGA1 f/f 05/03/1965, w/o 01/04/1965, West Raynham UK

Pre-production Harriers

  • XV277 Harrier 2nd pre-production Harrier f/f 9/11/66 now at National Museum of Flight Scotland
  • XV278 Harrier 3rd pre-production Harrier f/f 13/12/66 Luftwaffenmuseum, Gatow Germany

Download the PDF file .

Don Riches

Hawker Siddeley Test Pilot 1968-1980

Don Riches

Donald Riches, was a Squadron Leader in the RAF. He was posted to Singapore in the early 60’s and subsequently to Devon and then Norway.

In August 1968, Don Riches completed his posting with the Norwegian Air Force 336 SKV at Rygge and took up his new posting at Dunsfold with Hawker Siddeley as Squadron Leader on secondment from the RAF due to the belief that both the Navy and Air Force would be purchasing Harriers and Sea Harriers in the future.  After a couple of years, he was asked by Hawker Siddeley if he wanted to give up his RAF career and continue as a test pilot for them. 

Don was test flying the Harrier and the Hawk. He flew at the Paris and Farnborough airshows. His contemporaries at his time at Dunsfold were Andy Jones, John Farley, Dick Whittington, Jim Hawkins and Duncan Simpson.

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Memorial unveiled to commemorate Pallinghurst crash in 1944

Read the Surrey Advertiser article on the recent unveiling of a memorial to the crew of a B-25 Mitchell that was downed in a mid-air collision near Dunsfold: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/horror-dunsfold-story-how-two-16956700

You can read the background to the story and see the research conducted by Dunsfold Airfield History Society researcher Frank Phillipson here.

Crash at Blacknest Farm, Dunsfold of Mitchell FW264 on 6th October 1944

Crash at Blacknest Farm, Dunsfold of Mitchell II, Ser. No.FW264, of 180 Squadron on 6th October 1944 at 10:21hrs.

Compiled by Frank Phillipson.

At 10:00 on 6th October 1944, twelve Mitchell II bombers of 180 Squadron took off from their airfield at RAF Dunsfold to attack a petrol, oil and lubricant dump west of Amersfoort, Holland. As the aircraft climbed away from the airfield two of them collided in cloud with Mitchell FW264 crashing and killing all on board at Blacknest Farm, Chiddingfold Road, Dunsfold. The aircraft was burnt out with three of it’s 500lb bombs detonating, three made safe and two still remaining to be traced (at the time of the police Daybook entry below).

C:\Users\Frank\Pictures\z011 Dunsfold Airfield and crashes and incidents thereon\z059 Blacknest Farm 6th Oct. 44\6th Oct Police Day Book 02.JPG

C:\Users\Frank\Pictures\z011 Dunsfold Airfield and crashes and incidents thereon\z059 Blacknest Farm 6th Oct. 44\6th Oct Police Day Book 05.JPG Continue reading

The end of eras

Sunday 16th June 2019 marks the last time we will hear fast jets flying over Dunsfold. The final Wings and Wheels airshow will have concluded. It is the last because the redevelopment of the airfield will soon be welcoming the construction vehicles to try to pull up the runways and perimeters with the aim of building thousands of square metres of industrial space and 1800 houses. I wonder if any of the construction team will appreciate the significance of what they are demolishing, digging up and dragging into a ditch somewhere.

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The Hemingway story

The “Curley’ Stone” crew flew their 1st op with 98 sqdn. on 22 April 1944. They were screened on 03 August 1944, having put in their 50 trips.  An uncle of mine, Sgt James Le Blanc, was one of the crew’s A/Gs.  
 
The crew, with the exception of a single op, consisted of :
Plt    F/O ‘Curley’ Stones.  RCAF.  (Winnipeg)
Nav F/O ‘Gremlin’ Walkerdine. RCAF.
A/G Sgt James ‘Jofo’ Le Blanc. RCAF. (New Richmond)
A/G Sgt Ed Kornlowitch. (Alberta)
 

A request for information came into the Society from Michael LeBlanc in Canada. Can anyone shed more light on the story recounted?

“To date I have been unable to find more information on the officers – not even initials. Hoping someone can help.
I do have a  crew photo and have a trove of family letters between my uncle, his two other brothers in the RCAF (78 & 425 Sqdns.), all sent to their mother. Lots of great gossip about him and his fellow NCO gunner drinking and lots of chat about chasing pretty British girls together.

 

Uncle Jim was a wonderful story tells, always presented with great humour. He use to tell one about a trip made with Ernest Hemingway on board and the incident, when after being hit by flak, they lagged behind and that to run the flak concentrated on them.

Hemingsway’s then pal and fellow newsman from the News Chronicle Special Correspondent, Michael Moynihan, flew with P/O Stevenson & Rees in ‘U’. He describes the same incident in some detail his book ‘War Correspondent – unfit for service’, but no date is given and an original newspaper clipping of the same story from Jim’s papers has no date.

Moynihan and Hemingway had been haunting the station in that period hoping for a trip of their own while doing some stories on the boys. Getting late notice of the op, they rushed to the field getting there at the very last last moment and hoped on the nearest kites. Their names do not show up in the Monthly Summaries nor in the daily ORBs

Unfortunately, I’m having difficulty identifying exactly what date this took place on with the various clues offered so far.

Time of take-off shortly after 2 pm.
Stones & Stevenson flying.

Can anyone help flesh out more of this crew’s story ?

It would be interesting to know if anyone else has anyone else heard of the ‘Hemingway’ story or others similar to this one ?”

Michael LeBlanc

PS:

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XZ494 Harrier – restoration

Harrier XZ494

The Harrier was purchased about 10 years ago by my friend Neil Banwell. I met him about 3 years ago and said I would be interested in cleaning the Harrier and from there on I have moved to restoring it. I have attached some photos from when Neil first purchased it to how it looks now. There is still more to do, and we are still looking for bits, so if you know of any, I would be very interested in them.    Cris.

XZ494 arriving at its home in Somerset, not far from where it was based at RNAS Yeovilton

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Could Red Arrows ‘come home’ to Dunsfold?

Many will have seen the news last week that the RAF is closing Scampton – the airbase which, among other things, is the home of the iconic Red Arrows display team. Those with an interest in UK aviation history, including neighbours living around Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, will probably also know that the Hawk trainer jet which is used by the Red Arrows was developed, assembled and first flown at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in 1974.  More than a few people are therefore asking the question – is now the time to consider offering a new base for the Red Arrows, at the historic home of the Hawk, Dunsfold Aerodrome?

Hawk 168 in 1985 over Dunsfold: Image by Andy Lawson/ BAe Systems

Red Arrows and BAe aircraft in 1985 at Dunsfold: Image by Andy Lawson/ BAe Systems

Red Arrows at Dunsfold 2010. Photo courtesy Karen Sutton www.limelight-marketing.co.uk

By coincidence (or may it be providence?), a rare example of a Hawker Hunter fighter jet which has for many years been on public display in a shopping street in Woking, is also looking for a new home. ‘XL623’ was the last Hunter T.7 to be built, and it is believed it first flew at Dunsfold.

T7 Hunter XL 623 as art in Woking
T.7 Hunter XL 623 as art in Woking Photo Courtesy Neil Randell

T.7 Hunter XL 623 being removed from Woking, July 2018 Photo Courtesy Carol Fenton-Balch

XL623. Royal Air Force Hawker Hunter T.7 at RAF Leuchars. Image copyright Jim Cain

Having been donated to Brooklands Museum, and with the help of the Hawker Association, restoration of Hunter T7 XL623  is about to begin – very fittingly at Dunsfold Aerodrome! How good would it be if that aircraft could also find a permanent home at the Dunsfold site?

Dunsfold Aerodrome is also the semi-permanent home of the Brooklands-owned VC10 aircraft, which although not fit to fly, regularly starts up its engines for a short taxi round the runways. In addition, it is a base frequently used by a WW2 Dakota painted in D-Day landing colours.

In the past year, the Aerodrome has benefitted from a flurry of Listings of buildings on the near-intact and still operational airfield.   During 2017, Historic England listed as Grade II;

VSTOL Blast Pads

Engine Running Pens

Royal Observer Corps Monitoring Post

Canadian War Memorial

So are we about to see a resurgence of interest in Dunsfold Aerodrome becoming a living museum as the home of a VC10, Hunter XL623, and – possibly? – a base for the Red Arrows flight of Hawk jets?    Well, while the threat of obliteration of the aerodrome under housing development remains, this would seem a remote dream. But, surely, the site owners, who often cite their interest in the flying history of the airfield, would do well to consider how popular such a proposal might be, and how many tourists the new museum could attract? It may, just, be time for the planes to come home to Dunsfold.

Banner Image: Red Arrows at Dunsfold 2010. Image courtesy of Gareth Stringer

Collection of Photos from heyday of Dunsfold

Eric Hayward had worked at Dunsfold for many years and over that time was able to take photographs of the activities and aircraft that he saw.   His whole collection has been scanned and assembled into an album on Flickr.  Whilst it is a diverse collection, in no particular date order, many images are from Dunsfold, and some are of very significant aircraft.

If you can assist in identifying aircraft and locations, please do add the detail in the comment section.

Eric Hayward. Mainly Dunsfold

How can you help?

Dunsfold Airfield History Society is keen to encourage you to help us preserve the valuable and unique heritage that is Dunsfold Airfield.

How can you help?

You can do so in a number of ways:

  1. You can become a free member of the Society by subscribing to this website with a simple email registration.
  2. You can add to the information on this website, via the comments sections, the forum, or by contacting us directly.
  3. You can support our recent submission for the Aerodrome to be designated a Conservation Area.  Conservation Area status is a vital step to protecting the buildings and structures from further decay.

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