Dar­ren’s bat­tle to re­store WWII air­craft

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By BEN TRUSLOVE ben.truslove@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk twit­ter@et­ben­truslove

AN AERO­PLANE from the Sec­ond World War is be­ing re­stored as a labour of love in a back gar­den in Crow­land.

Dar­ren Speech­ley hag­gled for three years to buy the Messer­schmitt 108 used in the war by the Ger­man Luft­waffe.

He now plans to spend the next three years lov­ingly re­pair­ing and restor­ing it to al­most its for­mer glory, although it won’t be able to fly again.

He said: “I’ve been into avi­a­tion since I was a teenager and over sev­eral years I have bought a num­ber of air­craft and done them up.

“Many of those are now in pri­vate col­lec­tions or mu­se­ums af­ter I did them up.

“It has taken three years of ne­go­ti­a­tions with a businessman in the north to ar­range to buy the Messer­schmitt.

“I would rather not say how much it cost – just that it was in the thou­sands.

“Hur­ri­canes or Spit­fires are the holy grail and will go for more than £1 mil­lion – but this is not worth that much.”

Dar­ren hopes to have the plane ready for the 75th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Bri­tain which will be in 2015.

He has yet to do his re­search on the plane but he be­lieves it may have fea­tured in a film in the 1970s.

He now has three years to lov­ingly re­pair the plane which will in­volve strip­ping it down and clean­ing off the paint.

The body­work will then be primed be­fore the re­pairs are made to any cor­roded spots and then the final job will be to re­paint it in its orig­i­nal Luft­waffe colours.

But Dar­ren has called for help from any ex­perts will­ing to help him do the riv­ets on the plane.

He said: “I have done a lit­tle bit of rivet work in the past but I would pre­fer some­one who knows what they are do­ing, maybe an en­gi­neer from the mil­i­tary or even civil air­craft work.”

Once com­plete he hopes to take the plane to air­shows and per­haps use it to raise money for char­ity.

While it won’t be able to fly it will have a work­ing en­gine in­side.

It is not Dar­ren’s first project and has pre­vi­ously worked on an RAF Jet Provost train­ing air­craft which is now in a mu­seum in Ne­wark, Not­ting­hamshire.

He also picked up a Hawker Hur­ri­cane which was shot down over Rus­sia in the 1940s.

Any­one in­ter­ested in help­ing Dar­ren out should call 07931 688595.

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