ABOVE: XB259 is the last complete example of the 49 aircraft produced, although other cockpits do survive
The last complete surviving example of the Blackburn Beverley – XB259 – could be scrapped by the end of the year if funding to save it is not found.
The aircraft had previously been owned by Fort Paull heritage museum in East Yorkshire, which closed in 2020. During an auction of the museum’s contents in September 2020, the Beverley – which reportedly fetched £21,000 – was sold to Condor Aviation owner Martyn Wiseman who planned to disassemble the airframe and rebuild it at an airfield near Selby. A crowdfunding campaign at the time detailed the plans as “incredibly exciting,” with the refurbished aircraft intended to be “the first stage in providing a haven for veterans emotionally or physically affected by conflict”.
However, as the long-awaited move has not yet materialized, Condor Aviation now have until the end of the year to find the funds to move the 35-ton aircraft or risk it being scrapped. Mr Wiseman told ITV news of his desperation, adding that “twelve months from now it’ll either be refurbished or it’ll be scrapped and cut up”.
Mr Wiseman added that while the group never expected to get their money back, they’re eager to keep the last remaining example intact. “I’ve offered it to every museum in the country for free. Lots of people talk, but no one’s actually come up with the goods,” he added.
The aircraft’s tail, propellors, rudders, wings and engines have already been removed and will require reassembly even if a new home is found; something beyond the resources of many museums who have already been approached.
The BlackBurn Beverley was designed as a transport aircraft and after the prototype first flew in June 1950, it was first exhibited to the public during that year’s Farnborough Airshow. Although the type was flown by six RAF squadrons between 1956 and 1967, no overseas orders were forthcoming and the final operational Beverley was withdrawn from RAF service in August 1967.
IMAGE: BLACKBURN BEVERLEY RESTORATION PROJECT