Thank you JAM (Jet Age Museum), we had a great time!
TECT had been invited to participate in JAM's Armed Forces Day event at Staverton when the Typhoon restoration project would be featured. We needed Typhoon veterans, so enquiries were made among TECT members living reasonably close to Gloucester. The response was most encouraging, with offers of attendance from as far away as Mid-Wales and the Sussex coast. There was to be a formal remembrance parade, so veterans were asked to wear medals and to be prepared to interact with museum visitors.
The morning was fine, but rain threatened, so the museum arranged for everything to take place in their main exhibition hall. A table was provided for TECT to display books and prints, just in front of the Typhoon restoration exhibit.
Veterans started to arrive, with a particularly good showing from 197 Squadron consisting of Paddy Byrne, Derek Lovell and Derek Tapson. 263 was represented by John Shellard and the Rev. George Wood, while 193 and 164 Squadrons produced David Ince and Percy Beake. Some were in wheelchairs but all were in excellent spirits. Percy Beake was the first of our Members to have received his Legion d'honneur which was worn proudly with his British medals. Yes, before you ask, we are actively pursuing these much-delayed awards.
A framed and signed "Two Typhoons" print, donated to the museum by the family of Denys Gillam, whose Typhoon is depicted in the painting, was formally presented to the museum and then remained on display.
A short ceremony of remembrance was held, supported by the Royal British Legion standard-bearers and other uniformed organisations together with a trumpeter. The veterans formed a most impressive line as we all remembered those in all of the armed forces who had given their lives.
Museum visitors showed great intrest in the Typhoon restoration project and other memorabilia. Apprentices from Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, just down the road from the museum, displayed their intricate work on Typhoon undercarriage components, salvaged from scrap, due to form part of the restoration project. Book sales, of "193 Squadron" by Chris Woodcock and "Brotherhood of the Skies" by David Ince were going well. The books were signed by their authors.
There was a real buzz of interest among the visitors and many questions were asked and answered about the Typhoon. Young people were especially intrigued to learn of a fighter/bomber that was bigger, heavier, faster, more powerful and better armed than the famous Spitfire. Clearly, we need more events like that at Staverton to tell the story of the "Tiffie" and its heroic pilots!