Prime Minister's aircraft to go under hammer

By Barrie Hudson - 25 November 2022

Business
  • The fuselage section of de Havilland Dove G-ARBE, originally owned by British Aerospace

    The fuselage section of de Havilland Dove G-ARBE, originally owned by British Aerospace

An aircraft used by a Prime Minister is to be auctioned after years of storage in Cricklade.

  • The interior of de Havilland Dove G-ARBE

    The interior of de Havilland Dove G-ARBE

It is among the lots in an auction to be held by Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester on Wednesday, 30 November from 10am. 
The 145 aviation-related items include the fuselage of a de Havilland which reputedly transported Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957 Anthony Eden Cabinet Minister John Profumo - whose career ended in the early 1960s when he lied to the House about a sex scandal.
The de Havilland Aircraft Company built aeroplanes between 1920 and 1963. Its successes include the Moth biplane, the World War II Mosquito, and the Comet passenger jet. 

Many of the lots are related to the Dove short-haul propellor-driven airliner, which was developed in 1945 and manufactured for 20 years, and the Devon, its military counterpart. 
de Havilland manufactured 404 Doves – most of which were sold to commercial airlines for the transportation of between eight and eleven passengers - and 127 military Devons. Today only a handful of Doves or Devons are still flying. 
If TV drama The Crown is to be believed, Prince Philip – played by Matt Smith in Series 2 – piloted a de Havilland Devon on at least one occasion. 
One of the star lots is the fuselage of de Havilland Devon VP955. Operated by the 207 Squadron of the RAF and believed to have been used to transport government ministers and officials from 1947 it was sold to its former pilots in 1984 and based at Staverton in Gloucestershire. 
Retired in 1998, it was last seen at nearby Kemble airfield in 2000 awaiting 'heavy maintenance'. It commands an auctioneer's estimate of £3,000 to £5,000.
Also going under the hammer is the fuselage section of de Havilland Dove G-ARBE, originally owned by British Aerospace, which as recently as 2009 was in storage at Little Rissington airfield in Gloucestershire. Again, a bid of £3,000 to £5,000 should secure the lot.
Meanwhile, de Havilland Dove G-ARJB was once owned by high-flying British businessman Joseph Cyril Bamford, the founder of heavy plant manufacturer JCB. The fuselage and a pair of wings are being offered with an estimate of £,3000 to £5,000.
Also being offered for sale is a 1988 Leyland 160 T45 lorry fitted with Royal Navy aviation gasoline bowser, which carries an estimate of £1,000 to £1,500. 
Many of the lots are quirky collectibles – an RNAS Culdrose Sea Hawk tail fin decorated with sea hawk motif carries an estimate of £300 to £500, while sets of seats including three red leatherette passenger seats – are expected to achieve around £30 to £50. 
Propellor blades (£200 to £300) are described as potential interesting wall or floor ornaments, while doors, wheels, engine covers and wing and fin elevators can be converted into tables or shelves. 
There are also more than 100 aeronautical wooden storage crates being sold over 30 lots (estimate £30 to £50 per lot), which could be used for anything from tool storage to furniture conversion.   
Auctioneer Philip Allwood said: "de Havilland aircraft are an important part of our aviation heritage. We are hoping that museums, preservation groups or enthusiasts might restore them to their former glory – either as a static display or even taking to the skies again."
The auction of aeroplane parts will be conducted online. A full auction catalogue is available at https://www.mooreallen.co.uk/pages/auction-house

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