Vampire design origins date back to 1941, and the maiden flight of the first prototype was flown by Geoffrey de Havilland on September 20th 1943
The original BL924 was one of three purchased and presented to the RAF by a group of Danish businessmen living in England. All three aircraft carried the Dannebrog (the Danish flag) painted on the fuselage immediately below the cockpit and BL924 was named "Valdemar Atterdag" after a medieval Danish king. The three Spitfires were delivered to No 234 Squadron at RAF Tangmere on 5th April 1942. Later that month on 24th April, BL924 was being flown by a Danish pilot, Axel Svendsen, on a mission over Northern France when he and several accompanying Spitfires were attacked by some 20 FW190s. During the ensuing dogfight, Svendsen was shot down and killed. The replica on display was donated to the Museum by Axel Svendsen's family.
Hurricane L1679 was delivered to No 1 Squadron at RAF Tangmere in early 1939 and deployed with the unit to France on 9th September just 6 days after the outbreak of war. When Germany began its blitzkrieg through the Low Countries in 1940, the squadron became involved in daily combat whilst constantly withdrawing to the west as the enemy forces advanced. L1679 was in the thick of it - being flown by several pilots who later became household names, including Flying Officer Paul Richey whose book 'Fighter Pilot' became a classic of the genre. Sadly, L1679 did not survive. Badly damaged during a crash-landing at Mezieres on 10th May she was destroyed on the ground 4 days later. The museum's replica was built in the 1980s at Middle Wallop and, because it includes a Rover V8 engine that turns the propeller, has been used as a taxiable - though not flyable - film extra.