Author Topic: The Goudhurst Vampire (WW461)  (Read 1451 times)

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Offline pomme homme

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Re: The Goudhurst Vampire (WW461)
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2019, 13:28:52 pm »
Is it known how, why and when this Vampire moved from Ford to Croydon?

Offline Tim Sargeant

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Re: The Goudhurst Vampire (WW461)
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2019, 14:43:53 pm »
Well, when I bought it for £100 all in bits at Croydon Aerodrome sometime in 1960 or early '61 I was told that they had another one which had been converted for civilian us as an 'executive jet' and this one had been dismantled to provide spare parts for that aircraft. Hence it had been stripped of any useful serviceable parts. This ties up with when I first saw it in a dismantled state with the wings leaning up against the back of a hangar at Croydon. The airport there was in the process of being de-commissioned to make way for an industrial estate so everything had to be cleared. It was an almost complete airframe with the exception of the four foot long bolts which held the wings on to the fusilage. These we got turned up from mild steel by an engineering firm at Tonbridge. I also hooked up the rudder and elevators with wire so they could be moved from the pilot's seat in the cockpit.

My interest then was just for advertising our newly installed petrol forecourt as my father's friend Michael Wilcock had done some years earlier with his Spitfire at Swandean Garage near Worthing. I found it quite surprising as to how many people had never seen an aircraft on the ground! In consequence of this we had visitors from all over the place most of whom would buy a few gallons of National Benzole petrol and take a photo or two. It was only many years later that I realised we didn't have a decent photograph of it ourselves! Somewhere I have a few notes from when I started to do some research on it but don't think any dates.

Perhaps if you have the resources and time and interest you might be able to trace a civilian Vampire with connections to Croydon circa 1960? I don't think there would have been very many of those!

Offline pomme homme

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Re: The Goudhurst Vampire (WW461)
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2019, 15:08:05 pm »
A Vampire executive jet is not as far fetched as some might think - at least it wasn't to John E. Morgan (aka Johnny Skyrocket). Take a look at http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNews/Stories/tabid/116/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/444/Vampires-of-Las-Vegas.aspx. However there's a long way between Croydon and Las Vegas! But saying that, the article mentions the involvement of Aviation Traders, Marshalls of Cambridge and Rolls Royce and says that the prototype six seater Vampire executive jet was being built by Aviation Traders at Southend. So there might, Tim, have been a connection between your Vampire and Jet Craft International and its MJ-II 'Mystery Jet'!

Offline Tim Sargeant

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Re: The Goudhurst Vampire (WW461)
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2019, 17:11:32 pm »
I'm not sure how you could make a six seater from a Vampire. I suppose without the military equipment in the nose cone you could get a couple more seats in front of the pilot at a squeeze and extend the cockpit forward.
You couldn't do anything behind the seats because the engine was situated there. I think that was a Gnome wasn't it? Don't know if I mentioned it before or not but I did mention Michael Wilcock;
He restored an 8 Litre Bentley which he fitted with a sports body and the nose cone from our Vampire became the 'beetle back' tail assembly of that car. I don't know who has that Bentley now though.
Somewhere I do have a photo of it outside the garage at Goudhurst I think and I expect it is listed in the BDC.

Offline R J A Taylor

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Re: The Goudhurst Vampire (WW461)
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2019, 19:43:20 pm »
Hi  Tim - Just read your message (29/12/2019) about photos of Vampire 'WW461' during her time at RNAS Culdrose.   I'd really love to see those images.   To date I've not seen any earlier post on this site from you following my initial response in Feb. 2018, so any further info would be very gratefully received.   Look forward to the photos you now say you have located.

Offline Tim Sargeant

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Re: The Goudhurst Vampire (WW461)
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2024, 22:11:06 pm »

Herewith pic of DH Vampire on forecourt of our garage at Goudhurst c1962.