Aviation Historian 18
G.Skillen - National Treasure?
Still maintaining the type’s purposeful stance despite its somewhat battered appearance, Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 TF968 stands in the heather at Lossiemouth on April 13, 1962. This veteran of the Korean conflict was struck off charge and scrapped in 1963.
Sea Fury FB.11 WJ296 was one of several at Lossiemouth which had already had its distinctive Rotol five-bladed propeller removed when the author visited. It had accrued a mere 54hr 50min flying time when it arrived at Lossiemouth in July 1957 for long-term storage. It was sold to local scrap dealer David Bond & Co in June 1963.
The line-up of 16 Sea Furies left outside to brave the elements at Lossiemouth, some from as far back as 1957. What price such a potential treasure-trove today?
As all the Sea Furies stored outside were to be scrapped, it is curious that VW586 has had its standard Fleet Air Arm scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey upper surfaces and Sky undersides removed, although the outer panels of the wings have retained their original underside colour, along with roundels and serials.
With wings folded and canopies open, the Sea Furies quickly began to deteriorate in the North Sea air. Four of the examples stored outside - VR936, VW583, WE728 and WJ224 - and all of those stored in the hangar had operated with the Fleet Requirements Unit at Hurn during 1955-60, serving as ‘‘high-speed targets” for Royal Navy ships.
Having accrued nearly 838 flying hours, all in the UK, since entering FAA service in 1950, VX683 was one of the more weary Sea Furies and had been at Lossiemouth since October 1957.
The final ignominious end for the majority of the Sea Furies photographed by the author at Lossiemouth in April 1962 - the Staravia Ltd scrapyard at Lasham in Hampshire. Seen here are the empennages of VX694 (total flying hours 347hr 40min) and TF968 (324hr 30min).