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Granddad’s plane comes to Culdrose

27 July 2016
One of the most famous aircraft of the First World War is to make a very special appearance at this year’s Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose’s Air Day.

The ‘Bristol Scout’ bi-plane, serial number 1264, has been lovingly restored to full working order by Brothers David and Rick Bremner who found the remains of the plane, in his their Granddad’s shed after his death.

Their Granddad, Flight Sub Lieutenant Frances ‘Bunnie’ Bremner had flown the plane between 1914 and 1918 while serving with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) during the Gallipoli campaign.

On his return from battle, the war hero had always told his family he would like to see the aircraft take to the skies once again. 

We started building in 2008 and on 9 July 2015 it took to the air for the first time, almost exactly 100 years after the original.

David Bremner

So spending over £100,000, they scoured the Globe to honour ‘Bunnies’ wishes to get ‘1264’ airborne again.

Along with friend and amateur pilot Theo Willford, they even went to New Zealand to find an engine that would complete the aircraft.

“We grew up less than 10 miles from my grandfather so we heard all his war stories,” said David Bremner.

“After he died we found three souvenirs in his workshop; a stick, rudder bar and magneto, and we guessed that these were from his plane.

“Then in 2002, our friend Theo Willford suggested we rebuild 1264 and the research started.

“We started building in 2008 and on 9 July 2015 it took to the air for the first time, almost exactly 100 years after the original.”

‘Bunnie’ flew with No. 2 Wing RNAS from Dec 1915 to Aug 1916, at Imbros, off the Gallipoli peninsula, and at Thasos, a Greek island off the coast of Bulgaria, who had recently joined the Axis powers.

In all he flew ten different types of aircraft in his time and his favourite was the Bristol Scout.

The ‘Scout’ so name because of its reconnaissance role in the fledgling RNAS was a crucial in the development of aircraft during WW1.

The Bristol Scout was also the first aircraft to take off from a moving deck and served with the RNAS in the Eastern Mediterranean and with the Royal Flying Corps on the Western Front.

Rick Bremner added, “It's been a huge privilege to be part of this fantastic project.

“We all just wish my Granddad were here to answer many of the questions we have about ‘1264’, because he could have told us straight away.

“However, we got there in the end. It’s been a long old labour of love and a fitting tribute to my Granddad and other British pilots who battled so valiantly for us during the Great War.”

‘Granddad’s Bristol Scout’ will be part of the Static Aircraft Park at RNAS Culdrose Air Day on Thursday 28 July 2016. Gates open at 0900.

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