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299. Yeovilton Fly Navy Supporter’s Day


On Friday I drove the trailer to RNAS Yeovilton, where we’d been invited to be at the Fly Navy Heritage Trust (FNHT) supporter’s day. We rigged up on Saturday morning, with 1264 parked in the hangar alongside the two Swordfishes operated by the Trust.

Everyone at the FNHT was delighted to see us there, and offered any amount of help.

Outside they had the single-seat Hawker Sea Fury, DH Chipmunk, Harvard and Sea Vixen parked in a row, and while the supporters were being offered lunch I cheekily asked if it would be possible to sit in the cockpit of the Sea Fury, since my cousin Jimmy Bremner flew them in the late 1940s.

David ensconced in the cockpit of the Sea Fury


The view from the driver’s seat

This they rapidly arranged, and it was a huge privilege to be sat in the cockpit of such an awesome beast. The size and weight and power are truly awe-inspiring, and there’s no way I would have the bottle to take charge of such a monster.

Theo wasn’t going to be left out, and once again they came up trumps. Amazing!

A VERY happy grin!

When the supporters arrived after being wined and dined, they were as interested as always in 1264’s story, and we didn’t get a moment to ourselves, except for a quick drink offered by Fly Navy’s Adm Jock Alexander to thank the Associate members.

Partway through the afternoon, the Harvard and Chipmunk put on an aerobatic display for the supporters.


One of the more distinguished visitors was legendary warbird pilot John Beattie, MBE, who more normally flies WWII-vintage machines like the Seafire, and who had just flown the Chipmunk display. he professed envy of us at being able to fly 1264.

A remarkable, and remarkably modest man, and an honour to meet him.

At the end of the day, the plan had been to derig 1264 into the trailer and to bring her back home, so that she could be taken to Old Warden for her inspection and check flight on Tuesday, which looked like the only time the wind would be light enough.

But although I’d tried to find a route to Yeovilton consisting entirely of trunk roads, I’d picked on the A372 from the M5, and – like many in that area – it barely deserved the ‘A’ designation. In particular, there’s a sharp left turn at a tee junction in Langport which I misjudged, and one wheel of the trailer caught the kerb.

It had appeared okay through the rear view mirror, but closer examination showed the suspension to be bent. Again. It had happened once before in mysterious circumstances, and the damage this time was much the same.

The tyre sidewall and rim had been damaged, though it was still holding pressure, but this is the spare wheel in place just in case.

So we had, perforce, to leave 1264 and the trailer where they were, and investigate how to overcome this latest obstacle to getting 1264 back in the air.

As before, the only solution is to replace the entire axle, since the individual Indespension units are welded into it. Grrrr!

What was supposed to be a more relaxed year than 2016 is rapidly proving to be even more stressful.


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One Comment
  1. Remind me not to lend you a trailer…

    You really are not having any luck with them. I suppose the kind of good news is that you can now be confident that its just that your axles are surprisingly vulnerable to bending and its not that something really bizarre and weird happened last time. I wonder if you can get them uprated. Better bend the axle than the contents though I suppose.

    With the Sea Fury you’ve moved from my grandfather’s era to my fathers. Looking at his logbook there was a period in 1950 where he was posted to No 1 Ferry flight at Culham and spent 3 months at the age of 22 mainly ferrying Griffon Seafires, Sea Furies and Fireflies around the country. I wonder what people would give for that now?

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