Miles M.38 Messenger 2A, ZK-CMM
Miles Messenger M.38 IIA ZK-CMM was built for the UK civil market as G-AJVL (c/n 6372) at Newtownards, Northern Ireland and flown unpainted to Woodley for final painting, upholstering and sale. She was listed on 02-07-1947 with Tyne Taxis of Woolsington. Bryan Price started work with Tyne Taxis in 1947 and his first job was to go to the Miles factory at Woodley, Reading and pick up a new Messenger - none other than G-AJVL (now ZK-CMM).
Bryan flew G-AJVL from Reading to Newcastle on 14-07-1947 and flew it for Tyne Taxis for the next 12 to 18 months. Bryan later emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1950's, along with Peter Proctor (Tyne Taxis Manager), Brian Chadwick (Tyne Taxis Engineer) and today (April 2004) lives in
Christchurch N.Z.. Cancelled in November 1949, the aircraft was exported to Australia to become VH-BJM on 28-12-1950 for use by Sam Hecker of Maryborough, until the registration was cancelled 20-10- 63 due to D.C.A policy re glue failures. Purchased by Ken Orrman of Shepparton (1978) and later by Bill Thompson (December 1988).
Bill Thompson rebuilt the aircraft, pretty much replacing the entire woodwork over a period of four and a half years and involving some 5,500 hours' work.
It returned to the Australian register on 06-08-1993 as VH-BJH and was sold to G Ireland of Capalaba, Queensland, on 10-10-1996, followed by Mike and Elizabeth Apps of Canberra. On 07-10-1997 it was re-registered as VH-ZMM. During the latter part of WWII Messengers were used by some well known high ranking officers as VIP transports, including Field Marshall Montgomery and Marshall of the RAF, Lord Tedder.
VH-BJH had been painted to represent an example of this type, including camouflage and invasion stripes and the British military serial of RG333 was added to represent the first of three such aircraft used by Montgomery. (The RAF number should have been RH368 as this was the only Messenger with Invasion Stripes from logbook of F/L Trevor Martin, Monty's Pilot.)
The aircraft was purchased in Australia in November 2003 by Dave Cowie, dismantled under the supervision of Stan Smith and transported to NZ in December in a 40-ft container (which is no mean feat considering the one piece wing spans 36 ft).
Reassembled at North Shore Airfield, where it is now based, the Messenger was registered as ZK-CMM on 22nd of January 2004 with its Certificate of Airworthiness being issued on 11th February 2004. First New Zealand flight was on the 13th February by Stan Smith. The aircraft performed extremely well and confirmed its STOL reputation. The only modifications are the fitting of Cleveland disc brakes and some "new" instruments. (it is hoped to restore the front panel back to near
original condition at some stage)
Four earlier Messengers have graced the New Zealand register, two Mk.IIAs, ZK-AUM and ZK-AWE; a Mk.IV, ZK-ATT; and a Mk.IVA, ZK-BED. All four were withdrawn in about 1967 following a clamp down on wooden aircraft having been built with certain wood glues (this also included the Anson, Proctor