UPDATE: The Napier-Railton will be off-site from 8th December at The Peninsula London Hotel and will return to be on-site from 9th January 2024.

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Volunteer Stories - Roy Booth

16 April 2020

Sit down and grab a cup of tea, we have another of our amazing Volunteer Stories for you. This week's story is from Roy Booth.

'It all started back when I was about 8 or 9. I was mad on planes and collected the whole of the ‘Wings’ magazine collection. As soon as I was old enough I joined the Air Cadets and became a plane spotter, going to Manchester airport whenever I could. By the time I was 11 I already knew I wanted to join the RAF, hopefully as aircrew, but not as a pilot, I wanted to be an AEO.

Unfortunately, my eyesight put paid to that but I did join the RAF as an Air Communications Technician (TG2 L Tech AC for those in the know). In my 10 years in the RAF I worked on Nimrods, Phantoms and Harriers (here comes the Brooklands connection), my time on Harriers was down at RAF St Athan in South Wales doing major servicing on GR3s, T2 and Sea Harrier FRS1s.

Whilst I didn’t really enjoy St Athan I loved the Harrier as an aircraft, the fact that it came apart like a backwards Airfix kit. In fact, the first thing that happened when an aircraft came in for a Major was the wing, tailplane and fin would come off and the engine would come off. It would then sit up on a trestle for the best part of a year being lovingly maintained.

Jump forward to 1999 and my RAF career is far behind me and we’re living in Fleet, I have a PPL and fly a Cherokee 180 G-DEVS, there was a fly-in at Brooklands before Mercedes Benz World was built, so I flew my Cherokee to Brooklands. I’ve attached a copy of my Log Book with the Brooklands stamp on it.

It was probably about that time that I became aware of Brooklands but it wasn’t until 2003 that I became a Friend of Brooklands. I was a regular visitor to the museum until I decided to pay back something to the museum and become a volunteer.

I started volunteering in March 2016 as a steward on the Varsity which I loved because of all the old avionics on board. The smell of old aircraft is very nostalgic. Since then I’ve been trained on the Harrier and Hunter. There are a lot of things about the Harrier that I remembered from my RAF time and what I don’t remember I can either find in a book, on the web or just ask Mike Fantham. What makes the job so interesting is people who come to see the aircraft and say “Oh, I used to fly those” or “I used to work on those”, there are some really good stories.
It’s in these times of isolation that I really miss the companionship that the volunteer and public provide at Brooklands. I will certainly be back when all this is over to get the museum back on its feet.'