Gate Guardian

Gate Guardian

Hawker Hunter WV396 was built for the RAF as an F4, it took its first flight in August 1955, and was delivered to the RAF a month later.

It originally went into service with 20(F) Sqn based at Oldenburg. It proved to be its only frontline squadron and was its only spell on the front-line as it's next posting was to 229 OCU based at RAF Chivenor where it was used for training duties. In 1963 the aircraft was re-purchased by Hawkers and it moved to Dunsfold with just over 950 hours on the clock.

It was converted to a T8 for the Fleet Air Arm and it went into service with RN 759 Sqn based at RNAS Brawdy. It remained in service for at least five years as '809/BY' at the Welsh airfield before a move to RNAS Yeovilton followed. Here it went into service with the Air Direction Training School and also the Yeovilton Station Flight as '748'.

In 1972 the FRU and ADTU merged and hence FRADU was formed, WV396 was placed in store at 5MU Kemble as a reserve aircraft.   It was subsequently refurbished and brought on strength during 1979 taking on the identity of '871', and it remained in service until 1985 when it was withdrawn and placed in store.   It was back in service in 1986, this time as '879' with 'VL' tail code, and it remained on strength with these markings until being retired in 1995 when it was ferried to RAF Shawbury for storage.

It was kept at Shawbury until 1997 when it was moved into the RAF Shawbury paint-shop and re-sprayed in a colour scheme representing a T7 in 4FTS colours. It was then moved by road to take on its new role as gate guard for RAF Valley, the home of 4FTS where it remains today.

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