These pictures were taken at the Strathallan Collection at Auchterader in Scotland around 1981. It was one of the pioneer collections with a fantastic range of British aircraft. Unfortunately, it was in an isolated location which made visiting difficult. I was working in Scotland at the time and made a couple of visits around 1980-81. Although the collection no longer exists, it's legacy does. The Mosquito went to America for Kermit weeks and the Lysander went to Old Warden. The Battle was at Duxford for a time before going to Brussels and the Hurricane went to Canada where it was destroyed in a fire. Although not there when I visited, their Hudson went to Hendon. The Lancaster unfortunately was badly damaged when a hangar roof collapsed on it. I would imagine tha the Comet and Shackleton were broken up on site but maybe someone could confirm. Some of the light aircraft stayed in Scotland at East Fortune. If anyone is interested, I can post some more pictures taken at the time. Graham
Last edited by comet4 on Sat 05 May 2012, 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Great to see these. Comet and Shackleton were indeed scrapped on site (July and February respectively) though the Shackleton cockpit was rescued and according to the last edition of Wrecks & Relics is privately owned and at Duxford.
As for the Lancaster, the hangar roof collapse (which broke the Lanc's back) actually happened while it was in the charge of BAE at Woodford while they had it under contract from Charles Church for restoration to airworthy status. It went through the courts with Charles Church taking out a writ against BAE to have the aircraft returned to its pre-roof collapse status and then complete the work that they were contracted to do. They weren't trying to profit from this but merely to get the work going again but BAE refused. The aircraft was then moved initially to Exeter and then to Cranfield. Eventually in 1993 is was shipped to the USA and is with Kermit Week's Fantasy Of Flight collection, though I understand not restored.
The Miles Magister is thought to be still stored on the Strathallan Estate
The Miles M.18 is at East Fortune while the Monarch is stored at White Waltham
It is also worth remembering that it was from the Strathallan Collection that Nick Grace acquired a certain Spitfire which we all know now as The Grace Spitfire.
Strathallan Castle Estate has been in the Roberts family since 1910. In the early 60s the private airstrip was developed into an unlicenced airfield and there was an engineering company on site and those aircraft that fitted were housed within that hangar. The reason for the closure and auctioning off of the exhibits was really financial. With its position, north of Auchterader in Perthshire, visitor numbers declined and Sir William Roberts decided that the collection had to be drastically trimmed. The auction of the exhibits took place at Duxford on 29th July 1985 but even with the injection of cash that this brought, success still didn;t happen and the collection closed to the public finally in September 1988. Initially the Lysander, Swordfish and Magister were retained, but now only the latter remains. the Lysander is now flying with the Shuttleworth Trust at Old Warden and the Swordfish (W5856) is with the Royal Navy Historic Flight at Yeovilton.
wv383 wrote:Strathallan Castle Estate has been.................
Thank you for this. I was not aware of the details of the gradual disintegration of the collection, so you have nicely filled that void. For what it was, it was a hell of a collection with mostly fantastic aircraft. What a shame it all went wrong. I was lucky enough to see the Mossie good and proper, before it went to the states. I'm glad that at least some of the significant airframes, remained in the UK.
The Comet nose also survives, it was displayed at gatwick for a while, but is now in the Middle East at Sharjah in the Al Mahatah Museum. Interesting story regarding when it arrived - part of the u/c failed on the grass runway, but as it was on RAF charge, the MOD apparently had to repair it. The story was that the sale clause for the Shackleton passed ownership to the Collection when it was on finals to the airfield!
This is what happened to the collection with their current (as far as I know) status:
Anson C.19 VM360 East Fortune Anson C.19 G-AWRS NEAM Sunderland Avro XIX G-AGWE Last reported in USA Avro XIX G-AHIC broken for spares Avro XIX G-AHEX airworthy at Old Warden Avro XIX G-AYWA Musee Royal de Armee, Brussels Avro Lancaster - see previous post, now at Fantasy of Flight Avro Shackleton - see previous post, nose at Coventry BA Swallow airworthy in Devon Bristol Bolingbroke 9940 East Fortune Bristol Bolingbroke 10201 restoration to flight at Duxford as Blenheim I Bristol Sycamore WA576 Dumfries & Gallaway Museum DH Puss Moth VH-UQB East Fortune DH Tiger Moth G-ANTS Hong Kong owner DH Tiger Moth G-AOEL East Fortune DH Tiger Moth G-APGL Stored, Warks DH Tiger Moth DF155 Airworthy in Scotland DH Dragon East Fortune DH Leopard Moth G-AIYS airworthy, Herts DH Hornet Moth G-ADMT airworthy, Norwich DH Dragon Rapide G-ALXT Science Museum, Wroughton DH Moth Minor G-AFOZ w/o 1975 DH Moth Minor G-AFPN airworthy, Wales DH Mosquitob RS712 on display at Oshkosh DH Comet 2R XK655 scrapped DH Vampire T11 XD403 private owner Scotland DH Vampire T11 XD547 Dumfries & Galloway Museum Fairey Swordfish W5856 RNHF, Yeovilton Fairey Battle 1899 Brussels Museum Fairey Firefly WD833 restoration to fly in USA, believed to be returning to Europe Fokker S11 G-BEPV airworthy, Spanhoe GAL Cygnet G-AGBN East Fortune Grumman Avenger 045 airworthy in USA Hawker Hurricane XII P3308 destroyed in hangar fire in Canada Hawker Sea Hawk XE340 spares sources for RNHF Kay Gyroplane G-ACVA East Fortune Lockheed Hudson A16-199 RAFM Hendon Miles Monarch G-AFJU under restoration in France Miles Monarch G-AFLW stored White Waltham Miles Magister R1914 stored at Strathallan Estate Miles M18 G-AHKY East Fortune Miles Messenger G-AJOC Ulster Folk & Transport Museum NA Harvard FT391 airworthy, Surrey owner NA Texan G-AZJD airworthy in Spain NA Texan 14526 under restoration in Denmark Percival Prentice VS356 under restoration Montrose Percival Provost WV493 East Fortune Pilcher Hawk rep - last reported Glasgow Reid & Sigrist Desford VZ728 stored Snibston Rolls-Royce Thrust Measuring Rig 'Flying Bedstead' XJ314 Science Museum London RAF SE5A rep F5447 airworthy Scotland SAAB Safir G-ANOK stored Scotland Short Scion G-ACUX East Fortune Supermarine Spitfire TR.9 MJ772 airworthy in USA as N8R Supermarine Spitfire TR.9 ML407 airworthy as The Grace Spitfire, based Bentwaters Supermarine Spitfire TR.9 PV202 airworthy at Duxford in BoB markings Supermarine Spitfire TR.9 TE308 airworthy in USA as N308WK Westland Lysander P9441 airworthy at Old Warden as V9367 Westland Whirlwind XG594 Fleet Air Arm Museum
As can be seen from that list, the majority are still in the UK and a good many are still airworthy. Where it states 'under restoration' this could be to either static or flying condition
Re FT391, the ownership company has a Surrey address but she has been at Goodwood for a long time. A nice connection is that when taxying to take off from Popham, we got a call from Dick the airfield manger to say he used to look after our aircraft when he was GM at Strathallan and the history of the dent on the starboard wing! Before we owned her she was with OFMC and used as a camera ship in "Piece of Cake". You and see the fin and aerial in many dog fight scenes.
My first contact with Strathallan was seeing the Lancaster overfly Blair Drummond Safari Park on it's delivery (and last) flight. My first visit was 78 when I had my first flight (Tayside Aviation's Aztec G-AZHA) and subsequently we visited regularly - train from Dundee to Auchterarder then bike to Strathallan for the Moth Rally and the regular shows. Although it's location hampered it's development, one small bonus was that being far away from authoritarian eyes display rules tended to be "relaxed" so the likes of Sea Furies, Fireflies, Swordfish, Spitfires and the Lysander were displayed much lower and closer than elsewhere. The Mosquito running in to start it's display from behind the crowd at low level is etched on my brain for ever. The field also had a dip to the south that was used by displaying aircraft it the way that the valley at Biggin was, for making dramatic entrances and exits. I continued to visit regularly through to the mid eighties, spending a couple of very cold mornings there in Dec 84 waiting for George Aird to fly out the Mozzie to Booker for onward delivery to Florida. I subsequently flew in in a variety of aircraft (as pax), Cubs, Airtourer, Belfair and a Partinavia Victor and it was very sad to watch the decline of the place. When I finish my scanning project I'll post some stuff.
Great pictures of what was a great collection before it disbanded. Thanks for sharing the pictures. The Kay gyroplane G-ACVA which used to be at East Fortune is now displayed inside the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street in Edinburgh city centre.
I'm glad that you found the pictures interesting or brought back memories. Also thanks to wv383 and others for all the information on the collections fate. Due to popular demand, here are a few more pictures taken at the same time! They include the aptly named "Flying Bedstead" and a "Ju-52" which might have been visiting at the time. There are also oddities such as the Desford and Cygnet. Sorry that I don't have pictures of all the aircraft in the collection - maybe other people could help out here. Graham