WW2 aircraft engine goes on display at Tangmere museum

Tangmere Military Aviation Museum will have a genuine Merlin XX engine on display to visitors for the rest of the year thanks to the generosity of the Sandy Gunn Aerospace Careers Program and the Spitfire AA810 Project.

The Merlin XX was used in aircraft such as the Defiant Mk II, Halifax Mk II and V, Hurricane Mk II and IV, Lancaster Mk I and III, and Spitfire Mk III during the Second World War.

Although the history of the engine loaned to the museum is unknown, it is believed to come from a crash in mountains or high ground – as it bears obvious signs of a crash and is slightly twisted indicating that it had come free from an aircraft that had ‘pancaked’ rather than having been buried deep in the ground, as so often happened.

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This engine, serial number 63409, was built in Crewe on August 15, 1942, and was dispatched at the beginning of September 1942 to a front-line unit.

Pictured are Tony Hoskins, director of the Spitfire AA810 Project, and museum curator Charles Hutcheon with the Merlin XX engine. Photo by Mike Bennett

It is currently used by the Sandy Gunn Aerospace Careers Programme (ACP) as part of its travelling presentations to schools and is part of the living memorial aspect of the Spitfire AA810 Project

Sandy Gunn was a young man from Auchterarder in Scotland who gave up his training to become a diesel engineer to join the RAF.

Shot down while flying an unarmed photo-reconnaissance Spitfire over Norway in 1942, Sandy spent two years in a POW camp before escaping in what became known as the Great Escape.

Captured after two days on the run, 24-year-old Sandy was executed by a Gestapo officer on the direct orders of Adolf Hitler.

The Merlin XX engine at Tangmere Military Aviation Museum. Photo: Rolls-Royce

The engine will be on display at Tangmere for the rest of the year, except when it is need by the ACP, which is partnered with the Spitfire AA810 Project aiming to bring the historic aircraft back to life.

For more information about the presentations and the organisations behind them visit www.acp-aa810.co.uk and www.spitfireaa810.co.uk.


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