Freight forwarder, Davies Turner has undertaken a project shipment operation to deliver vintage British aircraft parts discovered in a domestic garage in Dorset to South Africa as part of an ambitious project to rebuild two classic post-War British fighter planes.
The movement of de Havilland DH 100 Vampire spare parts constituted one of the largest international movements of ex-military aircraft spares ever transferred to foreign private ownership and required seven ocean containers to achieve safe delivery.
Philip Stephenson, group chairman at Davies Turner, is enthusiastic that his company has been able to help in the restoration of two historic British fighter aircraft.
He says: “Our Rotherham office was contacted nearly a year ago by our South African partner, WorldNet on behalf of a shipper that was searching for a means of delivering a collection of vintage aircraft parts to South Africa where two examples of the Vampire will be rebuilt.
“Another of these aircraft flew for the South African Air Force and has just been repatriated intact back to South Africa. There is enormous historical Interest in these aircraft which were found in pieces in someone’s garage in the UK.”
While the paperwork associated with the shipment was straightforward, a problem developed following the kitting-out of the containers with wooden shelving and drawers or compartments that were not heat-treated, as required by South African regulations. This issue was resolved by sourcing a fumigation expert that could meet the South African requirements.
Davies Turner secured space on MACS containership, Atacama that could accommodate the six 40ft containers and one 20ft open top out-of-gauge container that included the wings. On arrival in Durban, the containers were forwarded by WorldNet whose H.Q is in Johannesburg.
Stephenson says: “We have excellent seafreight and air cargo services to all of Southern Africa with our partners WorldNet.
“The Vampire was a British jet fighter developed and commissioned by the Royal Air Force during and shortly after the Second World War so we feel honoured to help in bringing back into service two examples of the original 3, 000 constructed. The million or so spare parts we shipped look like an outsize Airfix model plane kit from childhood and the nine months we took in the planning, obtaining the export license, and finally in the execution of the move is nothing to the five years the customer, a real aviation enthusiast, is planning to spend assembling it all.”