A few miles from the small town of Pershore in Worcestershire near Birlingham lies a small private collection of vintage jet aircraft. Rescued from the scrap mans axe over 20 years ago by local produce farmer Graham Revill, the aircraft have sat outside and are gradually succumbing to rust and rot with one of the two De Havilland Vampire T11 cockpit sections completely lost to the elements.
Mr Revill is a very knowledgable gentleman, and has a great passion for his small collection of vintage aircraft – all of which he bought from the Ministry of Defence via various auctions, beating scrapyards to their ownership and saving them from an immediate death warrant.
The collection is on private farm land, within a working farm with heavy plant machinery moving around frequently all day every day. The property is not accessible without permission, and locked at night. Mr Revill is happy for people to come and see his marvellous collection of aircraft, and is very welcoming, but not en masse and certainly not without permission.
Mr Revill’s jet aircraft collection comprises of the following airframes:
Hunting Jet Provost T.3 XN632 (wears XN623)
Gloster Meteor T.7 WH166
De Havilland Vampire T.11 WZ425
De Havilland Vampire T.11 XE979 – cockpit section rotted away
Hawker Hunter F.6 XF526
Hawker Seahawk FB.5 WF299 (wears WF105)
As previously stated DH Vampire XE979’s cockpit is now entirely missing and the aircraft has been moved down the hill away from the other five aircraft.
The remaining five airframes are not in a great state, but could probably be renovated if they were to be removed, stored or covered from the elements in the very near future.
The sole complete DH Vampire and the Gloster Meteor are probably in most danger of falling apart, with the Meteor’s cockpit open during my visit, allowing the weather to do its worst to the inside of the aircraft. According to Graham the Meteor is often visited by ex aircrew who once flew her, hence why the ‘lid’ is left open, as it is not easy to open and close after all these years of little use.
The Hunter in its ‘Raspberry Ripple’ scheme looks not too bad structurally and the same could be said of the Jet Provost, which has had some attempts of renovation over the years, but this has also now been sadly neglected.
The Seahawk was once on display at Flambards amusement park near Helston, hence its ‘Flambards pink’ colour, and within a stones throw of its former Fleet Air Arm base at RNAS Culdrose. The aircraft is rusting somewhat with a covering of moss starting to appear, but appears to be in not too bad a condition, considering it has spent the last 30 odd years outside with little protection.
I asked Mr Revill if he would be open to museums or aviation groups taking on the aircraft, to which he replied: ‘I had offered one or two on permanent loan to the local Defford Aviation Heritage group at Croome Park. Although they seemed interested nothing has progressed”.
Although it is sad to see these jet aircraft in such condition, the fact Mr Revill bought them and saved them from the scrap man over 20 years ago is a huge credit to not just him but the aviation heritage of this country.
I am pretty sure Mr Revill along with many aviation enthusiasts and aircrew old and new would love to see these vintage jet aircraft repaired and preserved properly. Perhaps there is a museum or facility that could liaise with the owner of this fabulous collection and get the ball rolling to ensure the aircraft are around for the next generation of aviation enthusiasts to enjoy and reminisce over.