Flying high after news of jet fighter’s air show visit

A Sea Vixen under construction at de Havilland's factory in Portsmouth
A Sea Vixen under construction at de Havilland's factory in Portsmouth
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News that a de Havilland Sea Vixen of the Fleet Air Arm is set to appear at the first Portsmouth Air Show on August 18 made Graham Hill dig out these old photos.

His grandfather, Wally Hill, worked at the de Havilland factory in Airport Service Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth, where the Vixen’s fuselages were assembled.

Wally Hill (leaning on the cab) transporting a part of a Sea Vixen from Portsmouth to Hatfield

Wally Hill (leaning on the cab) transporting a part of a Sea Vixen from Portsmouth to Hatfield

Graham said Wally had to transport the part-completed aircraft from the city for final assembly at Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

Here we see him leaning against the cab in the picture with the two police outriders.

And there’s another shot of them on the road with what Graham assumes must be a Portsmouth area pub in the background because of the Brickwoods Brilliant Ales sign. To me, it looks like the White Hart at Purbrook, which would have been on the route to Hatfield.

Wally also transported parts of Trident passenger jets around the country and Graham has included a shot of a Trident nose section on what looks like a carnival float, passing through Portsmouth.

The de Havilland DH 110 Sea Vixen was a twin boom British two-seater jet fighter of the Fleet Air Arm, designed by de Havilland and used mainly in the Cold War era of the 1950s and 60s.

Developed from an earlier first generation jet fighter, the Vixen was a carrier-based fleet defence fighter that served into the 1970s.

Initially produced by de Havilland, it was later known as the Hawker Siddeley Sea Vixen when de Havilland became a part of the Hawker Siddeley group.