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  • TwinOtter23
    NAM volunteer-Plugmeister
    • Jan 2006
    • 7762

    #41
    Originally posted by Meddle View Post
    Why did the Desford end up at a coal mining museum? It is in fairly rough condition now, and would make more sense at East Fortune surely? A rare and interesting aircraft.
    It wasn't just a "coal mining museum" - it's worth searching the forum using the term Desford, although it's not playing ball today for my searches!!

    Here's a copy of one of my posts from earlier in the year!

    "Being part of the team that had secured the Desford on loan to Newark Air Museum to accompany the Autocrat, I always try to keep an eye on missed opportunities.

    This loan opportunity was back in the 1990s and such was the certainty of its arrival I even included the airframe in an edition of the NAM guide book!

    Sadly the loan then became embroiled in the politics of Unitary Authorities and it never made it to Winthorpe. The last serious discussions I had about it about 7 years ago seemed to indicate the title issue between the authorities was still unresolved

    I saw the BBC piece and have been doing a bit of background research it would be great news if its future were to be secured somewhere in Leicestershire. What caught my eye in the BBC article was the comment - "The new offering on Snibston I'm hoping will be better and more focussed on the mining heritage."

    As for auction houses, if it were to become available I would like to think that it would be offered to other museums first as with the IWM airframes!

    Other than those observations I know nothing!!!"
    Find out what's happening at newarkairmuseum.org
    Please help move Chinook ZA717 to Newark Air Museum

    Comment

    • David Burke
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Jan 2000
      • 10028

      #42
      The Desford is in suprisingly good condition and the newspaper report is quite accurate .

      Comment

      • Robert Whitton
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Jan 2005
        • 1341

        #43
        The Desford taken at Strathallan flying in 1976.
        Attached Files
        Robert Whitton,
        Edinburgh, Scotland

        Comment

        • Robert Whitton
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Jan 2005
          • 1341

          #44
          Originally posted by Meddle View Post
          A very compelling post.
          Where is this stuff? I've tried to get to the NMS collection in Granton, but they are cagey about letting people in. I was informed that they didn't have much there anyway.
          The store at Granton has in the past been available at Open Doors Days see the following, but I dont think aviation material is there.
          http://www.nms.ac.uk/about-us/servic...ection-centre/

          I am sure that a tour of part of the stores at East Fortune might be arranged if you write and ask. I dont think that the aircraft in store are held in a way that is condusive to visits but they are secure and under cover.
          Here is an overhead view of the museum taken in 2006. "Concorde" hangar to the left top. Olso a 1976 photograph.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by Robert Whitton; 10th November 2014, 15:09.
          Robert Whitton,
          Edinburgh, Scotland

          Comment

          • scotavia
            scotavia
            • Nov 2005
            • 2818

            #45
            The Desford played a part in aerial survey of the UK sharing duties with the Kemps fleet of Ansons,some of which also ended up at Strathallen. Another survey aircraft at East Fortune is the Twin Pioneer. By a long round about route I now find myself part of that occupation based at Inverness but still keeping a keen interest in historic avaition.

            Comment

            • nuuumannn
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Oct 2011
              • 275

              #46
              Why did the Desford end up at a coal mining museum? It is in fairly rough condition now, and would make more sense at East Fortune surely? A rare and interesting aircraft.
              I don't know exactly. It was purchased through the Strathallan auction and only ever visited EF once, on the back of a lorry on its way south. I do remember being told that after the auction, the curator at the time went up to Strathallan to supervise its dismantling, which entailed the butchering of its main spars with saws to put it on the lorry - it had a single piece wing. Who did this I don't know, but the aircraft pretty much has stayed in that condition since it was done. A sad way to treat a rare airframe.

              Where is this stuff?
              The aeronautical stuff is on site at East Fortune, or it used to be. The workshops are being used as a dedicated engine and propeller store and NMS have done a grand job in sorting this out, considering the state of the place in the 80s/90s. I don't know about the rest of the airframes and missile hardware, I'm presuming Hangar 3 where the Blue Streak is, is crammed full of stuff. It used to be full of tractors and vehicles from the farming museum collection, plus the Provost, the Skylark, Sea Slug and a few other bits and peices. I suspect all that non-aviation stuff has been moved to Granton - I'm not sure. Most of the buildings on site used to be full of bits.

              The museum has a lot of ex-Ferranti test equipment and there are bits of electronic wizardry associated with Ferranti all over the place, or there were. The APSS have lots of ex-Ferranti employees who have gotten the likes of Blue Parrot test gear up and running. There's also a functioning INAS test rig on site too (INAS was fitted to early Harriers and Jaguars). There's quite a selection of radar equipment including H2S, which APSS have built a working display around, the Blue Parrot (from the Buccaneer), the AI.23B fitted to the Lightning, a TSR.2 Forward Looking Radar and various other things. I watched a neat piece of footage taken from the test Canberra of the Ferranti Flying Unit testing the TSR.2's terrain following radar once. The footage was marked with what the pilot would see in his HUD and was sped up to simulate the speeds the TSR.2 would fly at down low. Great stuff. The APSS have radar displays open to the public during airshows and events if anyone is interested in seeing or talking about these things.



              TSR.2 FLR. This is taken in Hangar 2; you can see the Storch in the background. There are a few other interesting bits in the photo. The segment of Wellington came from Strathallan, but is rumoured to be from the Loch Ness aircraft, which was offered to the Royal Museum when it was raised, but owing to lack of space - the museum only had one hangar at that time, the one next to the Vulcan and Comet, and personnel at the time, this was passed over (A Wellington at East Fortune? One of a number of aircraft that 'escaped' - including the former Strathallan Mosquito now with Kermit, although at Oshkosh).

              The propeller hiding in the background comes from a 44 Sqn Hampden shot down near May Island in December 1939 whilst hunting for the Admiral Graf Spee's sister ship the Deutschland - it was shot down by 602 Sqn Spitfires from Drem. The museum has a copy of the court of enquiry findings into this incident. I was told that the other 44 Sqn Hampdens diverted to Drem owing to fog and stayed the night. When they left, the 44 Sqn crews raided every toilet and placed the toilet rolls in their bomb bays and released them over Drem after departure!
              Last edited by nuuumannn; 11th November 2014, 03:37.
              My websites; Warbirds Walkaround: http://warbirdswalkaround.wixsite.com/warbirds Mr Watson's Flying Machines: http://rockingwings.tripod.com/

              Comment

              • David Burke
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jan 2000
                • 10028

                #47
                ' I do remember being told that after the auction, the curator at the time went up to Strathallan to supervise its dismantling, which entailed the butchering of its main spars with saws to put it on the lorry - it had a single piece wing. Who did this I don't know, but the aircraft pretty much has stayed in that condition since it was done. A sad way to treat a rare airframe'

                You can rest assured that didn't happen ! The wing was removed correctly ! No chainsaws were involved and no damage was done apart from two oil pressure gauges which had capilliarys cut.

                Comment

                • Robert Whitton
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Jan 2005
                  • 1341

                  #48
                  Originally posted by nuuumannn View Post
                  I don't know exactly. It was purchased through the Strathallan auction and only ever visited EF once, on the back of a lorry on its way south.
                  I wonder if anyone has any photos of this event. The Miles Messenger and Short Scion also resided at East Fortune after the auction.
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by Robert Whitton; 11th November 2014, 15:33. Reason: Photo addition
                  Robert Whitton,
                  Edinburgh, Scotland

                  Comment

                  • TonyT
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Oct 2006
                    • 9023

                    #49
                    The Comet sports a set of Dunlop retreads (is that normal for an airliner?)
                    yes


                    The relevance of Concorde to Scottish Aviation History?
                    It is relevant in that Scotland is part of the UK and as such paid for the damn things, so they should rightly have one on display to allow those North of the Border to be able to visit and see what their hard earned taxes paid for without having to travel down to England. I would also point out just about ever flight to the USA passes over Scotland enroute.
                    Last edited by TonyT; 11th November 2014, 12:28.

                    Comment

                    • nuuumannn
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Oct 2011
                      • 275

                      #50
                      You can rest assured that didn't happen ! The wing was removed correctly ! No chainsaws were involved and no damage was done apart from two oil pressure gauges which had capilliarys cut.
                      That is contrary to what I was told many years ago, but not chainsaws, hand saws. That's good news, then David. It deserves a better fate than the one its rumoured to have had.

                      I wonder if anyone has any photos of this event. The Miles Messenger and Short Scion also resided at East Fortune after the auction.
                      Robert, there are photos in the museum's collection of the Desford being dismantled. I distinctly remember one of its wing sitting on the ground. I can also vaguely recall one of it sitting on the back of a truck at EF, although I can't remember whether I saw it at EF or since I've left the place. A number of the Strathallan aircraft passed through EF at one stage or another, on their way elsewhere. Maybe the drivers stopped for a coffee on the way?
                      My websites; Warbirds Walkaround: http://warbirdswalkaround.wixsite.com/warbirds Mr Watson's Flying Machines: http://rockingwings.tripod.com/

                      Comment

                      • DaveF68
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Jun 2004
                        • 1790

                        #51
                        The M.18 was gifted to the Royal Museum after the Strathallan auction
                        It didn't go directly to East Fortune, but was restored to flying condition. I recall seeing it in the air at the inaugural (and only?) Cumbernauld Airshow in 1989.

                        Found a pic:

                        https://flic.kr/p/6atwu9

                        I'd forgotten what a good show that was!

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urwl_d8CFS0
                        Last edited by DaveF68; 12th November 2014, 10:58.

                        Comment

                        • Robert Whitton
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Jan 2005
                          • 1341

                          #52
                          Originally posted by DaveF68 View Post
                          It didn't go directly to East Fortune, but was restored to flying condition.
                          A number of aircraft were purchased at the Strathallan Auction by the Scottish Aviation Collection Trust who also later purchased a Beech 18 G-BKRN. I think they were planning a flying collection based at Perth.
                          I think the Trust intially wished to buy a Spitfire or Hurricane but due to the level of funds they had raised they instead, purchased The Provost, Miles M18 and Cygnet. After operating them for a short time the trust donated them to East Fortune. From memory I think they all flew in. The Trust also purchased a Hornet Moth G-ADMT that they sold to keep the others flying.
                          I cant be 100% sure but I think that Vic Norman purchased the Desford and then was transferred to East Fortune who I think felt it should go to its place of birth.
                          Last edited by Robert Whitton; 13th November 2014, 10:06.
                          Robert Whitton,
                          Edinburgh, Scotland

                          Comment

                          • nuuumannn
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Oct 2011
                            • 275

                            #53
                            It didn't go directly to East Fortune, but was restored to flying condition.
                            Yes, that's why I said it was gifted to the museum after the Strathallan auction, whereas the aircraft the museum got from Strathallan were bidded on. I met a couple of the guys who used to fly it; they said it was a lovely aeroplane to fly. The RSM got Anson G-APHV, Puss Moth VH-UQB, Dragon VH-SNB, Tiger Moth G-AOEL, Bolingbroke RCAF 9940, Desford G-AGOS and Cygnet G-AGBN at the auction. Other ex Strathallan airframes that came to EF after the auction included M.18 G-AHKY and Monarch G-AFJU.
                            My websites; Warbirds Walkaround: http://warbirdswalkaround.wixsite.com/warbirds Mr Watson's Flying Machines: http://rockingwings.tripod.com/

                            Comment

                            • scotavia
                              scotavia
                              • Nov 2005
                              • 2818

                              #54
                              The Wellington section is not from Loch Ness, from memory its part of L7775 Braemar high ground ,cant be certain of id until I locate the stored AAA mags.

                              Gary

                              Comment

                              • nuuumannn
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Oct 2011
                                • 275

                                #55
                                That'd be interesting. When I first came across the section I was told it came from the Loch Ness Wellington, but then I found a picture of the Strathallan hangar with the section in it. I naturally put two and two together. The story of the Wellington being offered to the RSM is true however.

                                Wanting to add to David Burke's comments in the RAF Museum thread, I thought they were more appropriate here, being about East Fortune 'n all.

                                At what cost did the acquision of Concorde put funding into the site at East Fortune? Maybe some clear figures on the actual cost of its move Vs the loss of exhibits disposed of because of it and the real figures of how many people visit East Fortune just to see Concorde would be appropriate. Couple all that with the notion that the aircraft was a financial and commercial disaster and its pretty hard to justify the damage done to the collection.
                                You are best going to the museum directly with your first question, David, but I have to ask, what damage do you think has been done to the collection and what impact has the disposal of these 'exhibits' had on the overall collection? I can say that in the years after Concorde arrived, EF has received unprecedented numbers of visitors, breaching the 100,000 visitors a year mark for the first time in its history in the year the Concorde arrived and over subsequent years. The previous highest number was in 2000, with 85,000, 35,000 of which attended the Millennium Festival of Flight airshow that year, when everything was tagged with 'Millennium'.

                                In order to really appreciate what has happened to EF since Concorde arriving, you have to have had an understanding of what the place was like before Concorde arrived. When the announcement was made about Concorde going to EF, I, too was quite cynical about it and my first response was why couldn't the money from the Scottish Executive be allocated toward the preservation and upkeep of the site and the existing collection, in particular the Beaufighter, which many people made a financial contribution toward its acquisition by NMS. One of these was a former Beaufighter pilot whom had trained at EF during the war and whom I had met and who had strong feelings about the fact that it had/has been negelected since the Concorde's arrival. I do have to say that I would like to see more effort devoted to that aircraft. However, EF is in a much stronger position to do something about the Beaufighter than it was before the Concorde arrived. How? Interest in the site by the head office.

                                Before the Concorde arrived, EF was pretty much left to its own devices, we ran the airshows and events ourselves with only financial assistance from head office. This started out because of one event that we held where we wanted posters for it, which were produced in-house, but they did not turn up at EF until the Monday after the event, which is not acceptable. The curator was ropable. EF itself was a bit of a wilderness - still is in a way. Although containing a world class aviation collection, its surroundings were definitely not. Buildings were literally falling down around the site and nothing was done to arrest this apart from them being condemned and barriered off to the public. Buildings that were standing were filled with bits and pieces with little or no thought toward long term preservation - the conservation effort NMS devoted to EF was minimal to say the least; I can remember work being done on the uniform store, but little else and certainly nothing toward the aircraft that arrived. MoF staff would tidy these up for display (a bit of a wipe down with T-cut) and that was pretty much it. The volunteers did the big jobs on the aircraft; still do. There was little that EF staff could do, we barely had the resources to deal with the day to day running of the museum, let alone giving thought to long term storage and conservation.

                                Concorde's arrival has changed a lot of that. The buildings in danger of collapse have been restored and refurbished and at least one of them has been opened up for display space. A dedicated engine and propeller store has been assembled and much more effort has been put into the long term conservation of the site by the addition of a professional conservator being allocated to work on EF's collection - something that was unheard of when I was there. Bldg 27, the parachute store is an example of a huge change in displaying the site's heritage. It used to be the volunteer's crew room, it has been interpreted in an extraordinarily sympathetic way and NMS must get due credit for this. I was gobsmacked when I saw it. NMS also contributes more toward the running of the airshow - it's in their best interests, even though it was before too, when the museum lost money on the airshows, NMS would cop it and have to fork out the deficit, so it makes more sense that it is involved.

                                The news that Hangars 2 and 3 are going to be refurbished is also great news for the long term preservation of both the site and collection. Neither are suitable for displaying the aircraft nor for public access in their current state. This will change that and should give the museum a great deal more suitable display space. Has all this had anything to do with Concorde? Yep. Most definitely. Success breeds success and the Concorde has generated interest from unexpected areas. The Concorde's arrival at EF was partially/largely? government funded; the site it was going to had to be presentable - couldn't have this presentation aircraft surrounded by buildings falling to bits. The 'Concorde Factor' as the impact the aircraft has had, has changed the site enormously, the collection has also grown, but display space is at a premium and personally, I'd like to see more of the smaller objects on display again, bit I guess their time will come - can't have everything out at once; not possible, but getting Concorde has secured the long term future of the museum. How can I be certain of that? Because before the Concorde arrived, MoF never experienced as much growth and change to the fabric of the place in a similar time span, besides, with a government funded aircraft on site, NMS now has more obligation to make the museum work. It can't ignore it like it had done in the past.

                                It's worth remembering that, although I've been quite critical of NMS in this post, museums don't have a big budget and it could only do what it could at the time, with its own expansion and refurbishment of its other satellites and the Museum of Scotland tacked onto the end of Chambers Street.
                                Last edited by nuuumannn; 13th November 2014, 16:22.
                                My websites; Warbirds Walkaround: http://warbirdswalkaround.wixsite.com/warbirds Mr Watson's Flying Machines: http://rockingwings.tripod.com/

                                Comment

                                • Mothminor
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Dec 2012
                                  • 992

                                  #56
                                  Originally posted by DaveF68 View Post
                                  It didn't go directly to East Fortune, but was restored to flying condition.
                                  Having last flown in 1976 and with just over 1300 airframe hours, the M.18 was sold for a reported 3,500 to the Scottish Aircraft Collection Trust and flew again in May 1983. It's nice to see that the plaque showing SACT's ownership is still in place. Strathallan used to have similar engraved metal plaques on many of its aircraft - wonder what happened to them? They would have made quite an exhibit if all kept together as a reminder of one of the earlier private collections.

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