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Gloster Meteor Mk 8 - WK 914

One of the aircraft refurbished by Maps that was intended to return to flying condition but has not yet made it, was a Gloster Meteor.  Retrieved from the fire dump at the former RAF airfield of Manston, it was taken to MAPSL for restoring to resemble a Mk 8 of No. 500 (County of Kent) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force. This squadron saw distinguished service during the war serving at RAF Detling with Avro Ansons.  It later converted to Blenheims and Hudsons and moved to the Italian Theatre in 1943.  Peacetime saw it reform at West Malling airfield with Mosquitos.  It then became the first auxiliary squadron to convert to jets with the arrival of the Meteor 3 and a new role from night-fighting to day operations.  Conversion to the Mk4 and then to the Mk 8 saw the squadron become one of the finest auxiliary squadrons.  It was thus fitting that a Meteor in the colours of the Kent squadron should be preserved.

Upon completion, it was coded WK914 and was the subject of a gathering of ex 500 Squadron personnel at Rochester Airport when the aircraft was rolled out to receive a blessing by the Bishop of Rochester.  WK914 was then inspected by the Old Machine Flying Company from Duxford who eventually acquired the aircraft with the intention of returning it to flying condition. Sadly to date this has not happened but it is hoped by all concerned that it may one day once again take to the skies flying in the colours of 500 (County of Kent) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force.  The Meteor is at present with at Hooton near Liverpool.

The aircraft last saw service with 85 Squadron, which was the Target Facilities Flight at RAF Binbrook, disbanded in 1972.  It is understood that it was passed to 5 CAACU and possibly to 19 Squadron. 

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