Farmer buys bomber and displays it on Norfolk roadside
- Credit: Archant
You might not expect to see a supersonic jet bomber by the roadside as you drive through a quaint Norfolk village.
But a farmer has bought an iconic Jaguar aircraft and parked it beside a rape field near one of its former Norfolk bases.
David Hurn, 62, is allowing people to view the aircraft on his land at Tattersett, near Fakenham, in return for a donation to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
“Having friends and relatives in the RAF since the days of Bomber Command in World War Two has given me an interest in military aircraft,” he said.
“I farm around the western perimeter of Sculthorpe air base and have seen several aircraft types over the years which further fuelled my interest in military aviation.”
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When the Jaguar came up for sale at a dealer specialising in military surplus, Mr Hurn decided to take the plunge.
“I decided it was the right time to buy and keep the aircraft in Norfolk,” he said.
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As well as its north Norfolk base, the Jaguar would also have flown from Sculthorpe while the runways at Coltishall were being resurfaced in the early 1980s - so Mr Hurn’s warplane may even have flown over its final resting place.
Mr Hurn said so far the aircraft XZ394 has stimulated a lot of interest, along with £700 in donations for the benevolent fund.
It is painted in the colours of 16 Squadron, nicknamed the Saints, which dates back to 1915 and was disbanded at Coltishall in 2008.
Prior to its arrival in Norfolk, the aircraft stood for a time as the ‘gate guard’ at RAF Shoreham in Sussex.
The supersonic Jaguar, conceived in the 1960s as a ground attack aircraft, had been ungraded to nuclear strike capability by the time it entered service with the RAF in 1973.
The first Jaguar squadron arrived at the now defunct RAF Coltishall in Norfolk the following year, while the aircraft would go on to see service in the 1991 Gulf War and the Balkans.
Jaguars were taken out of service around 15 years ago as the Eurofighter Typhoon entered service.
Coltishall was not chosen as a base for the new aircraft and it closed in 2006 after a proud history which included the Battle of Britain.
Mr Hurn would love to hear from any ex-air or ground crew who were connected with his aircraft via firstname.lastname@example.org.