BRYAN GIBBINS COLLECTION
No. 8368. Westland W.34 Wyvern TF.Mk.1 (VR137) Royal Navy
Photographed at the Historic Aircraft Preservation Society, Cranfield, UK, 1962-1966, source unknown

Westland W.34 Wyvern TF.Mk.1

10/31/2010. The Wyvern was designed in 1945 as a torpedo fighter to Specification N.11/44. It was intended to fit a turboprop but as none was available at the time the first variant, the TF.Mk.1 was flown with a 2,690 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle piston engine. The prototype, serialed TS371 made its maiden flight on December 12, 1946 at Boscombe Down. Four more prototypes and ten pre-production TF.Mk.1's were built, but not all flown. The first turboprop version, the TF.Mk.2, had a Rolls-Royce Clyde in the prototype with s/n VP109 and an Armstrong Siddeley Python in the production aircraft.

The only Wyvern to enter service was the TF.Mk.4, also Python powered, which was first flown in May 1951. A total of 97 was built, the first aircraft joining No 813 Squadron at Ford in May 1953. The Wyvern S.Mk.4, as they were now designated, saw front-line service with three further squadrons and took part in the Suez landings in November 1956. By the Spring of 1958 the Wyvern had been withdrawn from service and the short operational life of a not too successful aircraft was concluded.

VR137 was built in 1947 at Yeovil as the seventh and last preproduction Wyvern TF1. TF.Mk.1 and the sole one fitted with a 2,690 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle 22 24-cylinder sleeve valve flat H-engine, but was never flown. On November 30, 1950 it was taken by road to the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield and used as an instructional airframe until 1963. Acquired by the Historic Aircraft Preservation Society in May 1962, it was moved to Yeovilton for the Fleet Air Arm Museum in February 1966, and it has been in the museum's collection since, painted to represent a Wyvern S.Mk.4.

Created November 30, 2008