Percival Pembroke WV-740 (G-BNPH)
WV-740 that was rolled off the Hunting production line at Luton on March 2nd 1955. Built to Air Ministry contract 6/AIR/6847/CB5(a) of June 5th 1951, she was given construction number K66/027, also quoted as P66/41 which would tie in with the issue of the RAF batch of serial numbers (WV-699 to WV-740). She flew for the first time on March 12th 1955 and was delivered to Number 9 Maintenance Unit at RAF Cosford on March 14th 1955, and allocated to the Middle East Air Force on April 15th. Arriveing at RAF Khormaksar, Aden on April 20th she joined the Aden Protectorate Support Flight. On December 20th 1956, WV740 was damaged in a Category 3R accident, repaired, and joined Number 84 Squadron at Khormaksar on January 22nd 1957. It was not long before trouble occurred again, and she was badly damaged in a further Category 3R accident on May 30th 1957. She moved into the repair shops of the Aden Repair Squadron on June 1st, and rejoined the Station Flight at RAF Khormaksar on December 3rd, before being transferred to Number 78 Squadron in Aden on June 13th 1958, before flying off to RAF Eastleigh in Nairobi, where she joined the Station Flight on December 15th 1958. Just under a year later, on November 27th 1959, she made the long ferry flight home to UK where she entered a period of storage at Number 5 Maintenance Unit based at RAF Kemble, where she remained until September 28th 1961. She then joined the Metropolitan Communication Squadron at RAF Northolt. Through the next five years she spent her life with various communications flight in UK, being with Bomber Command Communications Squadron at Booker on May 1st 1962, Number 5 Maintenance Unit at Kemble on June 6th, the Maintenance Command Communications and Ferry Squadron August 9th 1962. With the latter organisation, she met with a further Category 3R accident on February 20th 1963 and was repaired on site by personnel of Number 60 Maintenance Unit for a week before being returned to the Maintenance Command Communications Squadron. The highlight of this period of her life occurred on June 26th 1963 when she flew Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to Gatwick. She was transferred to the Western Command Communications Squadron at
RAF Andover on April 1st 1964 and was loaned to the Ministry of Aviation on February 15th 1965 before being returned to N°5 Maintenance Unit at RAF Kemble on March 24th 1965, then to Andover on May 28th 1965.
February 13th 1967 she flew eastwards again, and back to her old haunts in Aden
when she joined Number 21 Squadron at RAF Khormaksar on February 13th 1967.
Her record is not clear, but she must have left Aden later that year with the
withdrawal of the British presence, and probably moved with N°21 Squadron
to RAF Muharraq at Bahrain. Whatever the case, she was one of the fourteen aircraft
chosen to be resparred, and she was returned to the British Aircraft Corporation
at Luton on March 8th 1971. Making her first flight after this major work on
June 16th 1971, she flew to Wisley in Surrey and was then returned through N°5
Maintenance Unit at Kemble to N°21 Squadron at RAF Andover on June 24th
1971 serving with this unit for five years.
Returning to Number 5 Maintenance Unit for heavy maintenance on March 25th 1976, WV740 was then sent to join the Station Flight (Dragon Airlines) at RAF St Athan on July 30th. On March 29th 1978, she made the short flight to Germany where she joined Number 60 Squadron at RAF Wildenrath, the airfield where she would spend the rest of her service life, and acquire the German instructions written on her fuselage!
At Wildenrath, she joined five other Pembroke's with this unit, and flew extensively throughout Europe. Carrying many VIP’s as well as completing more mundane tasks, this aircraft was, for a time, the personal aircraft of Air Chief Marshal Sir Dennis Spottiswood. Her record shows that from 10th until 30th March 1981 she was attached to Number 5 Maintenance Unit at RAF Brize Norton for a repaint and interior refurbishment, before returning to RAF Wildenrath where she remained until March 23rd 1987 when she was flown to RAF Shawbury for storage and disposal.
On June 24th 1987, together with her sister ship XK-884, WV740 was purchased by Air Commodore John Allison and moved to RAF Benson for storage. Air Commodore Allison together with Mr Mike Searle placed WV740 on the civil register as G-BNPH. Both aircraft were retained for several years until WV-740 was sold to Mr Richard J.F.Parker in mid-June 1991. Mr Parker, a property developer and aviation enthusiast returned WV-740 to her former splendour, refurbished her interior, and flew her for many years at air displays and for pleasure. The closure of both Leavesden and Hatfield in Hertfordshire in 1994 forced Mr Parker to consider the future of his fleet of vintage aircraft, and with great regret, he offered WV-740 for sale. March 15th 1994 saw WV740 sold to Captain Martin Willing, a Cathay Pacific pilot now retired who lives in Jersey, and she was flown to that lovely location. WV740 continued to fly, and was based mainly at Duxford, where she was operated by Radial Revelation, a company set up to foster the preservation and operation of radial engined aircraft. In 2003 ownership of the aircraft passed to Andrew and Geraldine Dixon at Bournemouth who operated the Pembroke as a personnel transport and air show duties.
During 2011 WV740 was put up for sale and and acquired by Mr Mark Stott in 2012 along with Sea Prince T1 WP321. Now based at MoD St Athan, WV740 is maintained by Horizon Aircraft Services and is available for display, flight training and corporate events.
Crew: Two pilots
Capacity: 8 passengers
Length: 46 ft (14.02 m)
Wingspan: 64 ft 6 in (19.66 m)
Height: 16 ft (4.9 m)
Empty weight: 9,961 lb (4,400 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 13,489 lb (6,124 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Alvis Leonides 127 9-cylinder supercharged radial piston engines, 540 hp (410 kw) each
186 mph (300 km/h)
Range: 1,012 nm (1,850 km)
Service ceiling: 7,680 m (22,000 ft)