Sixty years after it became the last aircraft to fly out of Defford Airfield, near Pershore, a Meteor WD686 has returned to National Trust Croome where it now sits alongside the restored RAF Defford buildings.

Carefully restored, the the Meteor NF11 night fighter, which left Defford on March 28 1958, further brings to life the story of the secret radar work undertaken at this historically significant site.

During the Second World War and the Cold War years that followed, Defford Airfield, built in the grounds of Croome, was one of the most secret locations in the country.

It was there that airborne radar was tested and evaluated by the Telecommunications Research Establishment.

Recognising WD686’s unique significance to Croome, members of the Defford Airfield Heritage Group (DAHG) were determined to preserve this aircraft and sought funds to ensure its long-term conservation and return.

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The Meteor has now returned to Croome where it will be on display until June 2020.

“It is with the greatest of pleasure that we welcome Meteor WD 686 back to Croome after a period of some 60 years," said Nick Hubble, group chairman.

"This great achievement has only been made possible by the generosity and enthusiasm of our supporters, volunteers and National Trust partners."

Amy Forster-Smith, visitor experience manager, said: “We are proud to have been part of the team that has returned the Meteor back to Croome after such a long time.

"We are indebted to the efforts and enthusiasm of our friend and colleague Dr Bob Shaw, who recently died.

"He was a significant figure at Croome and as a volunteer, helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds towards the restoration of the derelict 1940s RAF buildings here.

"He not only secured funding for the restoration work of the plane but also ensured its successful return to Croome alongside his colleagues.

"It was an honour and a privilege to work alongside him and we are so glad he was able to see the culmination of his efforts, after years of planning, before he died. We are greatly looking forward to visitors enjoying this spectacular addition to Croome’s rich and varied heritage.”