The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engined fighter of the Second World War, the second jet-powered aircraft commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the War (the first being the Gloster Meteor), although it was not used in combat.
The Vampire served with front line RAF squadrons until 1955 and continued in use as a trainer until 1966. It also served with many air forces worldwide, and set several aviation firsts and records. Almost 3,300 Vampires were built, a quarter of them under licence in other countries.
The Vampire design was also developed into the de Havilland Venom fighter-bomber as well as naval Sea Vampire variants.
Vampire WZ549 was one of a batch of 143 aircraft delivered to the RAF between February 1952 and August 1953. It first entered service with Marshalls of Cambridge and was later operated by the Ferry Training Unit, No.8 FTS and No.1 FTS. On 4 November 1964 it joined the Central Navigation & Control School at Shawbury remaining in service there until 1970. It then moved to RAF Coningsby becoming a Maintenance Airframe, and subsequently spent a period of time in the care of the Lincolnshire Aviation Preservation Society before returning again to Coningsby.
In 1988 under the initiative of the Wing Commander Operations, an Ulsterman called Ron Shimmons, it was decided to donate it to the Society.
Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers this aircraft has now been re-painted in RAF light aircraft grey to match the fuselage. Following the repainting project it has now also been fully re-assembled and can been seen on display in the UAS hangar.