RAF Kirkham

Early Meteor - I was told when given this photograph by Arthur Prescott that it was around the end of the war at RAF Kirkham

After some deliberation it looks like RAF Kirkham was an Armoury Apprentice School between the latter part of the war and the late 1950's. This would explain the instructional look of the aircraft, exposure of machine guns, and mix of types together.

its interesting to read through the thoughts as we first looked at the photo


I know for a fact that Kirkham did have a Meteor as a gate guardian. The other aircraft is interesting; it could be a Typhoon, but then it COULD be a late version Spitfire, say a Mark XIV onwards, which had the tear drop canopy.

Russell Brown - 09/02

Location & general observations
There appear to be civilian workers present. The nearest unifomed person seems to be holding something like a camera. Speculation: During the war years the Civialian Repair organisation was very effective and widespread and carried out work too difficult to handle on bases etc., so could this be one of their locations? However, I believe it was wound up very quickly after the end of hostilities. If we're still at war here, it's unlikely that some erk would be allowed free reign with a camera. So we have a dillema over time - or, it narrows it down very much to just after end of war, say 2nd half of 1945?

The background subject, to me, has the "sit" of a Tempest but the later versions of Typhoons had cut down rear fuselages and bubble canopies. It really is nearly impossible to tell, other than it is one of those 2 possibilities. The exhaust stack is just visible at the edge of the photo. It looks to be set fairly high, so could indicate a Tempest. It's difficult to tell whether it's camouflaged or not (shiny patches etc make it very difficult to tell). If not, again it might point to a Tempest as I don't recall seeing a "silver" Typhoon photo.

Going back to the Meteor, I would agree early version (canopy and fin shape). It doesn't appear to be camouflaged. If that's the case, it again indicates very late war or early post-war. The early service entrants were camouflaged to prevent observation on airfields by reconnaisance aircraft. I don't think they were allowed out of the country during the war, and I seem to recall that there were no recorded Meteor vs Me262 combats (Me262 was faster and more manoeuvrable, so it's just as well really). They were primarily used to chase V1's. This aircraft has seen some use, and is obviously not ready to fly. The starboard engine cowling has some nasty dents, and the port cowling seems to have been removed altogether. The aircraft is jacked up under the centre fuse and raised chocks on the main wheels. However it looks as though it could be easily dropped down and moved around the hangar. So it might not be redundant and for ground use only at this stage. The lack of markings is a puzzle. It could be one of several reasons; bad light on the photo, work of the wartime censor, or the aircraft is in for heavy mainetenance and has been stripped prior to re-painting (or polishing up the natural metal). It could be just an instructional airframe.

Why have we got a Gloster and Hawker type aircraft together? Despite my waffling above, it could be a RAF hangar because I don't think a maintenance organisation would willingly mix types - they'd tend to specialise.

Rob Chapman - 09/02



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