Darren’s battle to restore WWII aircraft
An aeroplane from the Second World War is being restored as a labour of love in a back garden in Crowland.
Darren Speechley haggled for three years to buy the Messerschmitt 108 used in the war by the German Luftwaffe.
He now plans to spend the next three years lovingly repairing and restoring it to almost its former glory, although it won’t be able to fly again.
He said: “I’ve been into aviation since I was a teenager and over several years I have bought a number of aircraft and done them up.
“Many of those are now in private collections or museums after I did them up.
“It has taken three years of negotiations with a businessman in the north to arrange to buy the Messerschmitt.
“I would rather not say how much it cost – just that it was in the thousands.
“Hurricanes or Spitfires are the holy grail and will go for more than £1 million – but this is not worth that much.”
Darren hopes to have the plane ready for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain which will be in 2015.
He has yet to do his research on the plane but he believes it may have featured in a film in the 1970s.
He now has three years to lovingly repair the plane which will involve stripping it down and cleaning off the paint.
The bodywork will then be primed before the repairs are made to any corroded spots and then the final job will be to repaint it in its original Luftwaffe colours.
But Darren has called for help from any experts willing to help him do the rivets on the plane.
He said: “I have done a little bit of rivet work in the past but I would prefer someone who knows what they are doing, maybe an engineer from the military or even civil aircraft work.”
Once complete he hopes to take the plane to airshows and perhaps use it to raise money for charity.
While it won’t be able to fly it will have a working engine inside.
It is not Darren’s first project and has previously worked on an RAF Jet Provost training aircraft which is now in a museum in Newark, Nottinghamshire.
He also picked up a Hawker Hurricane which was shot down over Russia in the 1940s.
Anyone interested in helping Darren out should call 07931 688595.
FACTFILE... on Messerschmitt 108
THE Messerschmitt 108 was designed originally as a four-seater sports aircraft in the early 1930s.
It proved popular in record-breaking attempts, particularly as it was very fuel efficient.
Following the start of the Second World War the Luftwaffe brought it into service and it was mostly used for transport.
It was a Messerschmitt 108 which crashed in Belgium in 1940 revealing Nazi plans to invade Belgium and Holland.
Messerschmitt 108s were often used to play the part of the Messerschmitt 109 fighter aeroplanes in several films including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Longest Day.
Source: http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/comm ... -1-3817325 (The Peterborough Telegraph, 8th May 2012).