12th December 1944

The TV historian and author James Holland invited the project to be part of a Q&A on stage at the Chalke Valley History Festival in 2018, ahead of the large scale Typhoon on the hilltop in 2019. This Q&A featured Bernard Gardiner, WWII Typhoon veteran and our Trustee Sam as the project representative and potential future pilot of RB396. They were both asked questions by James about the Typhoon itself, its role, the project and it’s future in front of a crowd of 150+ on the opening day of the event. It was very popular, and at the end of the talk a member of the audience came forward to say he had his father’s logbook, and he thought his father flew RB396.

The gentleman brought the logbook up to the stage, and on inspecting it, it was found that RB396 was there on the 12th December 1944. This was while G Gimblett was attached to 83 GSU. The logbook entry simply states “air gun test”. From this we can surmise that the flight was carried out from RAF Westhampnett, as that is the last known location of the aircraft, and the entry above and below RB396’s state “to Tangmere”. If RB396 ended up at Tangmere on this flight, it could be reasonably expected to state that. The flight was 40 minutes in duration, so it would have been a very thorough test, perhaps some firing at the local ranges such as Selsey?

This was a previously unknown flight, another piece of the jigsaw puzzle that the team are always working on completing and another 40 minutes added to RB396’s life.


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