Yorkshire Air Museum Honours Pilots Who Gave Their Lives
6:01am 26th October 2013
Four test aircrew members who gave their lives to help create the famous Blackburn Buccaneer aircraft will be remembered at a special service this weekend.
The service, which will take place in the museum’s chapel, will see the Blackburn Buccaneer XV168, recently donated to the Yorkshire Air Museum by aerospace firm BAE Systems, re-dedicated to the former Blackburn Aircraft workers who died as part of development and testing of the aircraft.
The family of Robert Blackburn, the firm’s founder, relatives of the aircrew members who gave their lives and representatives of the Blackburn Aircrew Association have all been invited to attend the service at the museum in Elvington from 2pm on Saturday 26th October.
The air crew, John G Joyce, Trevor D Dunn, ‘Sailor’ G R I Parker and Gordon R Copeman, died in three separate incidents while developing the aircraft between 1959 and 1963.
The XV168 was originally dedicated 20 years ago after it flew to BAE Systems’ site at Brough, East Yorkshire – the site of the original Blackburn Aircraft factory – which would be the first and last time a Buccaneer would land at the airfield.
Ian Reed, Director of the Yorkshire Air Museum, said: “The Buccaneer design underwent development trials at Elvington airfield and Blackburn Aircraft’s site at nearby Holme-on-Spalding Moor, close by, so the type has an historic connection to XV168’s new locality.
“XV168 complements the two other Buccaneers within the Museum’s collection, these being Blackburn Buccaneer S.2B XX901 and the Hawker Siddley (Blackburn) Buccaneer S.2 XN974, which was the prototype for the Fleet Air Arm Naval version of the low level strike attack aircraft, which is kept in ‘live’ ground operational condition.
“As part of the ceremony on Saturday, XN974 will indeed be powered up, as it stands with the others in a unique Buccaneer display.”
The recent redevelopment of the Brough site operated by BAE Systems led to the company donating the airframe to the Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial this summer.
Until its arrival in August, the Buccaneer airframe had sat alongside a plaque commemorating the four aircrew members as a ‘gate guardian’ at the site.
Brough site director Dave Corfield said BAE Systems had produced a new plaque to note the XV168’s new location at the Yorkshire Air Museum.
He said: “This Buccaneer stood at the Brough site for nearly two decades where it represented the heritage of world-class engineering this site is renowned for.
“Due to the recent changes at Brough, we agreed to donate the airframe to the Yorkshire Air Museum to add to its superb collection.
“It is fitting that not only the Blackburn family, who remain huge supporters of BAE Systems, but also relatives of those aircrew members who gave their lives in creating a fantastic aircraft will be present for the re-dedication service.
“BAE Systems is proud to continue to recognise our role in the strong aviation heritage of this part of East Yorkshire, as we continue to develop the future of world-class aircraft.”
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