There’s something quite tantalising about derelict places – they’re a sort of window on the past, giving you a feeling of being almost able to reach out and touch the past. But if you’ve ever been inside an abandoned aircraft, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that these are equally poignant and intriguing.
The airfield we fly from was built during the Second World War, and as such, has quite a few interesting relics of the past dotted about it. This includes several abandoned aircraft, although these were put there long after it ceased to be used for war purposes. I think there used to be some sort of small aviation museum here, but it’s long since closed and nature has been left to reclaim the only aircraft that remain from it.
We went exploring one day when we needed a break from work. This aircraft is (what’s left of) a military jet – a Gloster Meteor. Sadly it’s now covered in grafitti.
And this is a Shackleton. If there’s something about it that reminds you of a Lancaster , that’s because it’s the same manufacturer – Avro – and it’s derived from the Lincoln, which was derived from the Lancaster. So it’s sort of the grandchild of the Lancaster.
The Shackleton was used as a patrol aircraft and in anti-submarine warfare from the 50s to the 70s. I like the old RAF writing.
It seems a sad fate for these planes to be just left to rot, after their years of faithful service.
We couldn’t work out how to get inside the aircraft, as the wing was too high to clamber up onto. I will try to get some more photos of the inside if we do manage to find a way inside – there must be a way of doing it, as I’ve seen interior photos from other photographers.
This is the aircraft that guards the gate of the airfield – a Percival Sea Prince. I don’t particularly like the shark design (it wasn’t always like that, of course – it’s a pretty recent bit of what I assume is vandalism), but it makes it more striking, I suppose.
I found the cockpit the most interesting aspect, of course; to think of all the pilots who’ve sat at the controls and pushed the throttle open, and the adventures this plane once went on.
I believe this aircraft was used for navigation and anti-submarine training. They even had a little pocket to stow their charts!
Our airfield is currently being lined up to have thousands of houses built on it, so goodness knows what will become of these poor aircraft when that happens. At least if they do get rid of them, their memory will live on in the numerous photographs that have charted their decay over the years.