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The DH2 biplane was Geoffrey de Haviland’s second design for the Aircraft Manufacturing Company. This highly successful pusher had good manoeuvrability with an excellent rate of climb. Mounting the engine to the rear of the fuselage permitted the use of a fixed, forward-firing machine gun before the advent of the synchronous machine gun. Superior to the Fokker E.111, the DH2 helped end the ‘Fokker Scourge’. Well past its prime and almost two years after its introduction, some squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps were still equipped with DH2s.

Welshman Lionel Rees was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 1 July 1916, when he encountered 10 enemy aircraft whilst on patrol in his DH2. Attacking alone, he drove down two enemy aircraft. While attacking another, his machine gun ran dry. Before mounting a fresh drum of ammunition, he pulled his revolver, only to lose it somewhere in the cockpit. Badly wounded in the leg, he retreated back across the lines.

By coincidence, this replica aircraft has been brought into Wales by her present owner. The replica, originally built about 20 years ago by Viv Bellamy at Lands End for use in film, has now been put together again by Geoff Martlew of Prestige Air, Haverfordwest.

Her owner, Maurice Kirk veterinary surgeon in South Wales, near RAF St Athan, is flying her today, better known as Flying Vet, his website revealing numerous controversial subjects, ranging from aviation to our current apparent shortcomings in the judicial system making it a ‘damn good read’.

He was first trained by the RAF at Bristol UAS on chipmunks, representing university in the Cooper Trophy Aerobatics championships.

He went on to own more than 50 ancient aircraft over the years, finding them in obscure places in Europe and bringing them home, and not without the occasional incident!. Currently flying his 13th army Auster circa 1945 and personalised ‘D’ Day Cub G-KIRK.

The DH2 was only finished last week and the permit issued on route to Farnborough.

This aircraft is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world and is available for airshows.

Maurice considers that whilst this aircraft brings a whole new concept to duck shooting suggestions in the aviation world that live ammunition should be carried for another purpose is something that he could not possibly comment on.