De Havilland DH-115 Vampire T.11

XK625 Vampire 115 T11

XK625/12

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

Beginning life as a trainer with the RAF, XK625 spent her air force career with a considerable number of training units including 1, 4, 7 and 8 FTS (Flying Training Schools). She would initially find herself operating with 8 FTS where she remained until late 1954, after which she relocated to 4 FTS at Valley in Wales. In January 1958 she was transferred again, this time to Linton-on-Ouse to serve with 1 FTS until 1966 when she moved for the last time to 7 FTS at Church Fenton, ending her RAF career there in 1968. Being listed as surplus to requirements she was sent to 19 MU at St Athan after which, she was sold to Hawker Siddeley in December of the same year.

It was on May 20th 1973 that this Vampire finally ended up on loan to the H.A.M. initially being displayed outside, although by 1980 she had been moved inside the museum hangar, no doubt to prevent the plywood pod and booms from deteriorating further. After the museum’s demise, she went to Aces High who transported her to North Weald in November 1983 where she would remain until June 1989 when she was then passed on to the South Yorkshire Aircraft Preservation Society. However, XK625 would only stay here for a few months before ultimately reaching her final resting place at Brenzett Aeronautical Museum where she has undergone a thorough restoration and is currently on external display there protected from the worst of the weather by a permanent awning which covers much of the aircraft.

A second Vampire was also acquired although it never quite managed to traverse the short distance between the airport and the museum. Vampire T.11 XD527 was initially purchased in 1969 by Aviation Traders to be used as part of their ‘Mystery Jet Project’ that they were working on at the time and while ownership would officially be passed on to the H.A.M. in 1972, it never left the ATEL hangar and instead, eventually ended up on the fire dump at Manston sometime during 1979-80. However, a wooden mock-up which had previously had been constructed to demonstrate the feasibility of the project, did spend the early part of 1972 in the H.A.M. compound before being returned to Aviation Traders who had temporarily decided to relaunch the project. Sufficed to say, nothing came of this and it was later acquired by Sandy Topen at North Weald where it too was later burnt.

 

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