Here we want to show you a few of the large jobs the team have been involved with through the years, so lets start with the very first large one (we had done a few smaller vehicle and plant recoveries for the museum before, but this was out first aircraft recovery). It shows us collecting a Vickers Varsity WF372 from Sibson airfield in November 1988 and then unloading back at Brooklands, we are using the newly built and not yet finished Brooklands Belle along with Andy's AEC Militant called Milly. The last image shows a gathering of the recovery team plus people with a 'connection' to the aircraft. The gentlemen looking away from the camera is the modest and very shy Gabe 'Jock' Bryce OBE, who was the test pilot who first flew a Varsity
Next is the recovery of a Hawker Hunter that took place in March 1989 and was a very short one being located almost next door to the museum at the Brooklands College. It was located in the grounds of Hugh F. Locke King's (the creator of Brooklands) historic mansion. The slight problem we had was the since it had arrived there some years before, trees had grown up around it and we had some fun getting it out. We used the now fully finished Brooklands Belle to lift it carefully through the trees.
A few days after the Hunter we unloaded and then put the engine in, Brooklands unique non military Harrier G-VTOL. Before in November 1989 collecting Vickers Viscount after it had been written of in a ground incident at Southend, it was called Viscount Stephen Piercey G-APIM. Milly had spent some months down at Southend while Mick Bates had repaired the fuselage and prepared the aircraft for Transportation. We first of all removed the wings and then loaded it on National Rescue's Brooklands Conveyor
Below you can see the team loading the fuselage and then it arriving at Brooklands where Sir George Edwards, Sir Peter Masefield, the Mayoress and Morag Barton waiting to great it. What only Sir Peter knew and you can see in the third image is that it had spent the night in a Lay-Bye at Leatherhead because Surrey police stopped us from finishing the run because it was getting dark! The last image shows part of the Viscount’s wings arriving a few days later.
The following year we did several miscellaneous jobs but our only major job was collecting a Beagle 206-1X G-ARRM together with Beagle Pup prototype G-ARVF from Shoreham as a favour for Sir Peter Masefield,. Then in the summer of 1991 we were asked to go to RAF Cosford to collect a Vickers Viking G-AGRU called Vagrant. This was an interesting aircraft in that it had been converted to a kitchen and had been used as part of a roadside cafe in the Netherlands after it had come out of service with Channel Airways. You can see us gauging the length of the strops before fitting the spreader bars to recover the fuselage. The second image shows us a few years later towing the aircraft to its current position in the Brooklands aircraft park.
On an aside a few months later we flew to Mulhouse France to visit the Schlumpf Collection at the French National Automobile Museum because they also had a Viking aircraft which the Museum was interested in collecting and as it would be our first collection from abroad Brain Gasson and Andy Lambert wanted to see what equipment would be need to remove it from the shed it was being stored in and transport all the parts back to the UK. In the end the museum was not able to agree terms with its owners and so the job was never undertaken.
Over the next few years the team assisted with organisation of flying a couple of large aircraft into Brooklands and then towed them around. They also collected by road a number of smaller aircraft including a de Havilland Tiger Moth from Le Mans France and couple of Bombs! There was also a number of cockpit sections including a very rare BAC TSR2 from Farnborough, plus a Vanguard and a Viscount. Below you can see the Vanguard Cockpit arriving and a few years later the team hanging it up in the Barnes Wallis-designed Stratosphere Chamber. Below that is the Cockpit section from the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) Viscount XT575, being collected and a again a few years later being placed in its current location.
One of the teams proudest moments must be in the part they played in Transporting Concorde. the initial plan was to move G-BOAA to Brooklands from Heathrow and the first image shows some of the team measuring up dimensions. For reasons we should not discus here the decision was made to give Brooklands G-BBDG instead (which as it turned out was the rarest of all the Concorde and many say the most interesting). Andy Lambert had retired from National Rescue by then and so he asked his mates in the industry for help.
The second image shows some of those mate's vehicles (from Queens Motors, CEEJAY systems and MTS) loaded with components outside the Hanger this Concorde had been stored in since the eighties. The last two images show the nose section arriving and being unloaded at Brooklands. Sadly the one part of Concorde’s transportation the team could not do was to transport the centre section (because it need police escorts etc.) this was professionally done by Finch & Co of Bookham.
Concorde has a famous droop nose to allow the pilot to see the runway better here you can see Milly refitting it and then some time later the Brooklands Belle being used by the Concorde team to act as a safety catch while they tested the droop nose for the first time in many years.
The famous Vimy replica first flew into Brooklands in the summer of 1994 and right from the beginning some of the team were involved in things as diverse as Crowd Control and percuring Hire Cars. Then in 2009 it was time for the Vimy to fly into Brooklands for the last time and it landed next to the Museum. BREAST was given the task of transporting it through the estate on to the road and into the Wellington Hangar. The team borrowed equipment from their friends at Warwick Trailers, Langley Vale and CMG and the aircraft was dissembled, transported and resembled in a day.
The images below show the aircraft being winched on to a specially adapted trailer and once secured the rear half of the fuselage was craned off (that sounds easy now, but the guys like Martin Strick and Steve Lewis who had to undo everything connecting the fuselage will tell you it was a long job). As dusk fell the convoy drove through the estate and onto the main road. Then with Police's assistance the aircraft was threaded through different car parks and roads before going through a fence into the museum, ready to be backed into the Wellington Hanger. The last image shows it coming through the door and Steve giving the stop command, the rear section was reattached and the whole aircraft winched off the Trailer.
The next section is all about a couple of years hard work preparing for and then been involved with the completion of a project called 'Re-Engineering Brooklands' This involved removing the famous Wellington Hangar from the Brooklands Finishing Straight and relocating it into its current location. The companies and staff employed to do the work did an incredible job, but when it came to moving some of the larger exhibits the Brooklands Recovery Engineering And Salvage Team still had a part to play as you can see by the images below showing a small selection of the things we did.
In more recent months we unloaded the unique Hawker Siddeley Hawk G-HAWK after it arrived. we then lifted the fuselage onto the wing section. A few weeks later we helped the Hawk Team install the engine which interestingly has to come in from underneath and was pulled up into the fuselage by Milly. Using Milly was deeply significant as the Hawk is one of only two UK Civilian registered Jet Fighters, the other being the Brooklands' Harrier which Milly had again unloaded and fitted the engine and wings to, some 30 years earlier! Both our now side by side in the Brooklands Flight shed.
We hope you have enjoyed looking at some of our more interesting jobs and please remember most have been videoed and can be seen (along with a lot more Brooklands past and present) at Andys Video (click Here) Also if you have images of the Brooklands Recovery Engineering And Salvage Team at work we would love to see them.