A Special FInd on the Continent Arrives at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. Andrew Panton reports...


In January we were offered for sale an original 'never used' new old stock Merlin 25 engine.  The engine hasn't been touched since it rolled off the production line in wartime!  It is quite possibly the best and most original Merlin we have ever seen, some would say 'the Holy Grail' of Merlins with the original lead tabs and wire locking all intact.  She is in her original factory paint and is an excellent example of one of the 150,000 produced and how they were delivered to the aircraft for use.

The story behind it is as follows-


DH Mosquito NS993; which served with 617 and 515 Sqn; made an emergency landing in Switzerland during WW2 but was kept airworthy and pressed into service. NS993 was used for jet engine testing with an engine housed in an aerofoil section in the bomb bay (photos below).  A spare Merlin 25 engine was procured from Rolls Royce to act as a spare an enable a level of redundancy with the operating of the aircraft. In the course of the flight tests serious structural problems were found in the wing (glue had dissolved) and the Mosquito was grounded.  The plane was scrapped and the engines were handed over by the DMP (Directorate of the military airfields) for exhibition purposes. The never run spare engine 151819 went to HTL Windisch / Brugg from which the owner purchased it in 1980 and kept it in his private collection.  

A photo of NS993 carrying the jet engine can be found below along with photos of the Merlin 25 151819 the Centre has acquired.  This may well be the only time we find such a well preserved untouched Merlin engine, a far cry from the Merlin 35 we purchased that had been salvaged from a scrap yard a few years ago!  The purchase of this latest engine takes the Centres engine count up to 10 and secures the future of NX611 for many years to come.  The RR Merlin 25 should be back at the Centre in late February 2018 where she will be further inhibited and be stored in our temperature and humidity controlled facility.

The long term fate of this engine is yet to be decided but this gem is somewhat of a time capsule and of such historical importance that it is a shame to alter it from its original condition.