WE warmly welcomed our guest speaker, John Berkeley of the Warwick Probus No 1 Club, at our meeting on 26 January, who regaled us with 100 years of Aircraft Preservation. Within minutes we realised we were in the presence of an enthusiast who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject.

John explained that aircraft preservation is now a multi-billion pound business, with museums, clubs and private collections all over the world. They preserve military, civilian as well as unique one-offs, like the Aero-car!

He described these machines from the earliest beginnings to today’s highly sophisticated aircraft. He drew our attention to all the ones we are familiar with like the Spitfire, Hurricane, Mosquito, Handley Page, Meteor, Halifax, Comet, Nimrod, Tornado, Typhoon as well as the mind-numbing Vulcan and Concorde. But some of today’s aircraft are just too big to be displayed indoors which of course poses huge problems for collectors.

All the planes in the collections have to be carefully preserved to withstand the effects of time and only a tiny minority are in mint condition. However, the vast majority have seen service and many have had to be rebuilt from scratch, particularly those that have been rescued from scrap yards, farmer’s field and jungles.

Following our many searching questions, Squadron Leader Jim Cox, appropriately as a former Comet and Vulcan pilot, proposed the vote of thanks. He said that the talk, which was fascinating and educational, brought back many happy memories for him.

Next week, on 2 February we shall hear about Istanbul followed on 9 February by a talk on Santorini. Do feel free to join us.