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 500 ‘County of Kent’ Squadron at RAF West Malling where she would remain until circa 1952-53, after which the aircraft was then passed on to 25 Squadron that was also stationed at the same base. Some time between July and August 1954 she would be transferred to RAF Odiham where she would become the sole training aircraft for 54 Squadron that was at the time using NF12 and NF14 Meteors before moving on once more, this time to 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 501 ‘County of Gloucester’ Squadron until eventually being disbanded in February 1957. However, it would appear 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 and this is where her military service would come to an end. She was subsequently 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 from the RAF at the beginning of 1972 and 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. From here she went to the Brencham Historical Aircraft Museum at Hurn roughly one year later and then onto Aces High by the end of 1987. Her final resting place came courtesy of Peter Vallance who purchased her for the Gatwick Aviation Museum in July 1991. She was subsequently painted in a black ‘Royal Navy’ livery and is as of 2016, preserved at the GAM albeit on external display.

 

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