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Exeter folk and friends in their own words - 1890's to the 1990's │ << Previous story │ Next story >> │

Ken Brewer– Auckland, New Zealand

My wife and I have been living in New Zealand for 43 years but we were both born in Exeter. I would like to comment on the CAACU flight operating at Exeter airport.

I lived in Holly Road off Burnthouse Lane and from the age of 8, I would cycle out to the airport on Saturday mornings to watch the aircraft operating. At that time there was just a low wire fence separating the public from the maintenance area where the Mosquito aircraft were parked and I would pester the ground crew to allow me in, but I was always refused and eventually ignored as a nuisance.

Eventually I joined the Air Training Corps based on the Exeter Quay and at the age of 9 or 10 went for my first air experience flight in a Chipmunk.
The crew recognised me and played a few well deserved pranks on me to the amusement of all, but after the flight during which we did some loops and aerobatics.

So having proved I would not throw up, one suggested I wear my uniform when I next visited. I did a couple of weeks later when the weather was good and after a wait of an hour or so I was taken up for a 15 minute flight (in a CAACU Mosquito). It was a solid nose variant but I did not record the number. I sat beside the pilot and the noise was horrendous but I loved every second of it and cherish that memory to this day.

One coincidence occurred recently here in New Zealand, in that a local company has restored to flying a second Mosquito aircraft - a 1945 built T111 variant with a soild nose, model number TV959 which it seems had served at Exeter at the time I flew. It has since flown again and is now with the Flying Heritage Collection in Seattle, Washington. It had also appeared in the movie 633 Squadron and ended up in the Imperial War Museum in London.

I have no way of knowing but it is possible it could have been the one I flew in.

Mosquito CAACUCAACU personnel and a Mosquito at Exeter Airport.

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