Thunder & Lightnings

Supermarine Swift

Survivor WK275

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F.4 WK275 - Tim Wood, North Yorkshire

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Swift F.4 WK275 at Upper Hill, 16th February 2006; Francis Wallace

The world's only remaining complete Swift F.4 mouldered away outside a ex-government surplus store in the village of Upper Hill near Leominster in Hereford & Worcester for more than 30 years. The weather was not kind, and the aircraft ended up caked with muck and moss. Used to advertise the store (it had 'SHEPPARDS SURPLUS' painted on the port fuselage side), an equally battered Whirlwind used to reside in the garden centre behind the store here but has since moved on to a paint ball park. The Swift's owner was at one time after a Harrier to swap for the Swift, but as soon as one was offered changed his mind - unfortunately he sold a Spitfire off many years ago and was horrified to see it change hands for a much higher amount not long afterwards. The result was that he believed the Swift was worth much more than it is, and has therefore turned down several good offers for it. So poor old WK275 remained there, battered and fading. It was reported in March 2011 that the store had closed, however it just seems to have been transformed into a furniture store and remains in existence. The aircraft was put on eBay multiple times, starting off at an insane price of £½ million and steadily dropping - the most recent auction was for a mere £50,000 - only about 20 times what its worth, and bizarrely described as a "barn find" when it has never seen the inside of any barn! Perhaps if it had it wouldn't be in such a state now. Anyway, the aircraft finally got sold in March 2012 to Tim Woods who got Jet Art Aviation to transport her to North Yorkshire and begin an ambitious restoration. Happily the aircraft's internal condition has proved to be a damn sight better than her exterior, and the cockpit is almost complete. Jet Art did an incredible job on the restoration, and the owner then placed her on loan to Vulcan to The Sky at Doncaster, to form an additional attraction in their hangar. Unfortunately as their operation has been kicked out of the hangar their finances didn't allow for any care of WK275 and so the owner has reclaimed her. The photo above shows her back in 2006 when outside the store in Herefordshire. Any more recent photos of her are welcome!

Information on this page current as of 04/12/2020

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