The de Havilland Vampire was the second of Britain's production jet fighters after the Gloster Meteor. The twin-boom design, originally dubbed the Spider Crab, first flew in 1943 and came into RAF service a couple of years later, just too late for World War Two action. Vampires went on to notch up many 'firsts' - first jet to land on and take off from an aircraft carrier, first jets to cross the Atlantic, first jets to equip an RAF aerobatic team and many more. The T11 trainer version was also pioneering, being the first jet on which RAF pilots could gain their 'wings'. The Vampire Preservation Group's T11, serial WZ507, is based at North Weald in Essex and is the only true example of the mark (as opposed to licence-built models) believed still to be flying. It dates from 1952 and served with numerous RAF units over the next 17 years.
Photo credit: Ben Dunnell