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A Flying Visit – Fairy Swordfish

18th September 2015

The pilot treated the site to a short display incorporating 3 spectacular passes.  The event was captured on camera by the Estate Manager Peter Melling. Peter said “I heard the first pass and left the office to see if I could see what it was.  When it flew over building 84 I was lucky to get the snap”.

Today the This aircraft, a “Blackfish” built by Blackburn Aircraft at Sherburn-in-Elmet, first flew on Trafalgar Day (21 October) 1941. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet for a year and was returned to Fairey’s Stockport factory for refurbishment. Used for advanced flying training and trials, the aircraft was sent to Canada where it was again used in a training role and stored in reserve after the war’s end. Passing through the hands of at least two civilian operators after disposal, she was purchased by Sir William Roberts and brought to Scotland to join his Strathallan Collection. Bought by British Aerospace for presentation to the Swordfish Heritage Trust, the partly-restored airframe came to BAe Brough for complete restoration to flying condition; the work being completed by the highly skilled heritage restoration team located in building 17 in 1993.

W5856 is painted in the pre-war colours of 810 Squadron embarked in HMS Ark Royal. The horizontal stripes on the fin denote the Commanding Officer’s aircraft, and the blue and red fuselage stripes are the colours for Ark Royal with the letter code ‘A’ being for the ship, ‘2’ for the second squadron and ‘A’ for the first aircraft of that squadron. The long yellow fuselage strip identified 810 as Yellow Squadron in the summer air exercises held in 1939.