Republic F-84F Thunderstreak

F-84F

FU-6/52-7133

With the H.A.M from Nov 1973 to May 1983*

In April 1973, a certain General Donnet of the Belgian Air Force made a visit to Southend’s Historical Aircraft Museum to research the possibility of CM-09setting up a similar facility in his own country. During a meeting with the various members and dignitaries of the receiving delegation, it was decided that with Southend or more correctly RAF Rochford having once acted as a base for both 349 and 350 (Belgian) squadrons, it would be a most fitting tribute for the BAF to donate an aircraft to commemorate the close ties that existed between Belgium and Southend during the Second World War. The aircraft chosen was Republic F-84F Thunderstreak FU-6 which had initially served with the USAF until she was later sold on to the Belgians during the early part of 1955.

Having been withdrawn from service three years earlier and then subsequently employed as a decoy aircraftCM-01 at Beauvechain, FU-6 was no longer airworthy. So, she was dismantled, packaged into a number of jigs and crates and flown to Southend inside two Belgian Air Force Hercules transport aircraft during November 1973. She was subsequently reassembled and put on display at the HAM where on March 15th 1974, she was officially handed over by General Donnet who previously that day had flown into SEN in Mystere 20 – CM-01 to meet the delegation members and the current commanders of No’s 349 and 350 squadrons who would attend this most auspicious of occasions too. The aircraft was later placed at the entrance to ‘Fighter Row’, behind the CASA 2.111, where she would remain until the museum’s auction in 1983.

This Thunderstreak was then later transferred to the Medway Royal Aeronautical Society at Rochester Airport in October 1983 where over the next few years she would be restored her to her former glory, being refinished in USAF ‘Thunderbirds’ colours and bearing the number 6771. Later in March 1990, she was moved to the RAF Aircraft Museum at Cosford where she is still currently on display.

 

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