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Frank Redfern – Tour Guide and Fun ‘n’ Flight Explainer
What I do
I first started here when Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands visited the site… that will put a date on me! The Fairey Jet Rotodyne was my project at the time and it is displayed in another museum in the West Country now. I spent a lot of time on that one. Nowadays I help out on Fun ‘n’ Flight. We open up the Jet Provost for the youngsters to look inside on the weekend. I also take tours around the site. I have done those for a long time now.
What I love
I like to try and answer the questions from the children about flight. How things work and so on. They love having the Jet Provost opened up and they get really interested in it.
You also get to talk to some interesting people, and you never know who you are taking round. You always learn things you did not know when you talk to people.
I remember a few years ago a Japanese group came round and there was one ordinary looking old chap who was accompanied by his family. His family explained that he had flown the Mitsubishi Dinah in combat. We have the only surviving one in the world at Cosford and he really wanted to get close to it and have some pictures taken. It was an amazing time. The family sent copies of the pictures back to me from Japan. He was the most ordinary chap you could meet.
An American visitor was very keen to sit in the TSR2 cockpit a few years ago. He said he was a civilian pilot but he had flown a lot of jets and was very keen to see inside the TSR2.
He was very easy getting in and out of the aircraft, like someone who had done plenty of it before. He was very complimentary about the plane. I asked him what he normally flew. It turned out he was Tom Morganfeld who was Chief Test Pilot for Lockheed Martin!
What I get
I served in the RAF from 1950 to 1953. I joined at the age of 18. I trained to service ground radar equipment and was posted to RAF Neattishead. It’s the site of the RAF Radar Museum now. I narrowly missed getting sent to Korea.
The Type 7 radar aerial at Neattishead was one of my tasks. I had to service it, so it rotated at 6 revolutions per minute. The things I worked on are still there now in the Museum. After leaving the RAF I worked as a carpenter and joiner, but I never lost my interest in aircraft and flying. Volunteering at the Museum keeps that interest alive for me.