Gloster Meteor T.7

VZ638

VZ638

With the H.A.M from Jan 1972 to May 1983

Gloster Meteor VZ638 was delivered to the RAF in July 1949 and would go on to have a reasonably long and extensive service life with a multitude of air force squadrons and units. She started her career with No. 500 ‘County of Kent’ Squadron at RAF West Malling where she remained until circa 1952-53 after which, the aircraft was then passed on to No. 25 Squadron that was also stationed at the same base. Some time between July and August 1954 she was transferred to RAF Odiham where she would become the sole training aircraft for No. 54 Squadron that was at the time using NF.12 and NF.14 Meteors before moving on once again, this time to No. 85 Squadron which also operated these night fighters.

The last chapters of her RAF service career would see her departing to RAF Filton where she entered service with No. 501 ‘County of Gloucester’ Squadron until being disbanded in February 1957. However, it appears that she later made her way to RAF Wyton and into the hands of 237 OCU at some point during 1957 where she would train Canberra pilots up until the unit was re-merged with 231 OCU in January 1958, this posting bringing her military service to an end. She was summarily transferred to Cranfield and then on to the College of Air Warfare at Manby until finally being put into storage with 5 MU at Kemble.

The H.A.M. acquired VZ638 in January 1972, Bill Gent & Nigel Stockwell subsequently travelling up to RAF Kemble to dismantle her. Shortly after arrival, she was placed outside on display, being lined up as one of four aircraft on ‘Fighter Row’ where she would remain until 1983. After the museum’s collapse she was purchased by Mike Carlton who moved her to Southampton during June 1983. Roughly one year later she departed for the Brencham Historical Aircraft Museum at Hurn becoming part of the ‘Hunter One’ collection and then found herself with Aces High by the end of 1987 where she was painted in a black ‘Royal Navy’ livery and registered as G-JETM. Her final resting place came courtesy of Peter Vallance who purchased her for the Gatwick Aviation Museum in July 1991. She was initially placed on external display, but has since been moved into a hangar.

 

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