PART of the last aircraft to fly out of the old RAF Defford airfield will be returning to the county later this month.

The restored forward fuselage, nose and cockpit of the Gloster Meteor night fighter is due to arrive at Croome Court on Tuesday, August 28.

It will be on show at the RAF Defford Museum until the end of October.

Dr Bob Shaw of the Defford Airfield Heritage Group said: “The prospect of the return to RAF Defford by the last plane to fly out of the airfield is very exciting.

“This year we will be showing the forward fuselage, cockpit and nose of Meteor WD686, which has been fully restored.

“Next year we hope to have restored and on show the whole aircraft. That really will be an event to remember.”

During the Second World War and the Cold War, RAF Defford was one of the most secret places in the country.

Airborne radar devices, developed by scientists at Malvern and tested at Defford, helped to win the Second World War.

And in the Cold War, Britain and its NATO allies needed radar to stay ahead of Soviet submarines and the threat of nuclear attack from the air.

But in 1957 RAF Defford had to close as it was not big enough to take the new V-bombers coming into service.

The very last aircraft to leave RAF Defford before closure was a Meteor NF11 night fighter which flew out in April 1958.

The volunteers of the Defford Airfield Heritage Group resolved to rescue it, but lacked the space at Croome to restore it.

Thanks to sponsorship from Vernon Hill, chairman of Metro Bank, it was restored at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.

The Boscombe Down Aviation Collection now owns the aircraft, but as part of the funding deal, will loan it to the Defford museum.