BACK FROM THE DEAD

At a private location near the New Zealand capital Auckland, a father and son are painstakingly resurrecting unique surviving examples of two British aircraft from the inter-war years — a Vickers Vincent and Blackburn Baffin

VINCENT AND BAFFIN RESTORATIONS

Vickers Vincent K6357/NZ311 on a rare venture outside at the Subritzky family’s premises at Dairy Flat, just north of Auckland.

How many times have we heard the refrain, “If only we’d saved one of those”? How could they have burnt a Dornier Do 217 in the mid-1950s, or let a substantially complete Handley Page Halifax at Radlett go to the scrapyard in 1961? Notwithstanding the logistics of preserving aircraft of that size, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but how we regret it now, 50 or 60 years down the line. And if we couldn’t save a glorious de Havilland Hornet or Sea Hornet, an operational Westland Wyvern or a Supermarine Spiteful, what chance for some of the not-so-glamorous heavyweights of the 1930s, a period from which there is a multiplicity of missing types?

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