VP955 tail showing the full 207 badge
source all - Ron Winton

VP955 taking BBMF groundcrew home after Staverton display 1980

ex-207 VP955 at Staverton 1986

from FlyPast Dec 1985

"Oldest in the formation was VP955/G-DVON piloted by Lionel Thatcher and Mark Laing [sic - former 207, Sqn Ldr Mike 'Rosie' Lanng] who are part of a group of six calling themselves the 955 Preservation Group operating out of Staverton, Glos. There is a monthly standing charge to each member and then direct operating costs as they are incurred.

Lionel says that the Devon used 30gph with "realistic" operating cost at around 150 per hour. If a full complement of passengers can be found, then sorties to France and the Channel Isles (recent venues) are a comfortable and economic proposition. Lionel was much in praise of Staverton-based Colt Aviation, who have specialised in heavy maintenance on the type for some time.

Lionel has great feelings for the Devon. His first flight, with the Air Training Corps, was in VP972 "umpteen-blank years ago". VP955/G-DVON was handed over to the RAF in August 1948."

Lionel Thatcher writes [late 2000] : My interest is not through being a former member of 207, but in having bought one of the Squadron's Devons (VP955) on your disbandment in 1984.

I formed the 955 Preservation Group with five others, our intention being to continue to operate the aircraft. We displayed the aircraft at many airshows over the past fifteen years. Over the years the other members including a former 207, Sqn Ldr Mike 'Rosie' Lanng, have dropped out but I still own the aircraft.

My objective is to bring it back up to Certificate of Airworthiness standard. It has been standing at Little Staughton, a former Pathfinder station. VP955 is the only Devon maintained in Royal Air Force markings and we proudly carry the 207 Squadron badge on the fin.

I will respond to your Editor's request for photographs and an account of some of the characteristics and adventures of VP955. I just thought that you might be pleased to know that your Squadron may still have airborne representation!

VP955 is currently [late 2000] in pieces at Kemble awaiting heavy maintenance and NDT work. I hope to have VP955 airborne again in about eighteen months.

Lionel Thatcher can be contacted by email at lionel.thatcher@unisonfree.net


page last updated 26 Oct 05