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G-EMSY's Story

Tiger Flights wouldn't be Tiger Flights without our beautiful and distintive G-EMSY, the first Tiger Moth to join our fleet.

A black and white picture of a Tiger Moth in a hangar

1964, Coventry (Baginton). Credit Bill Fisher

A Tiger Moth plane flying over the Northumberland landscape
A view of the Tiger Moth cockpit
A blue and brown biplane flying  over green fields and trees as seen from above left.
The De Havilland logo
A black and white photo of a Tiger Moth plane on the ground

1955, Thurxton. Credit George Trussell Collection

A man leaning on a Tiger Moth plane
A brown flight hat and goggles resting on the cockpit of a plane

The early days

Gemsy was built in 1940. She was first taken on charge into RAF service that year as T7356 at 38 Maintenance Unit (MU) Llandow, beginning a distinguished wartime career training aircrew.

She served with 17 Elementary Flight Training School (EFTS) at North Luffenham and later Peterbrough from 1941-1942. She then served with 28 EFTS at Wolverhampton until moving to MU High Ercall in 1943 following repairs. In 1943 she moved back to 28 EFTS as "53" where she would stay until 1946.

Post World War II

In 1946, Gemsy moved to 9 MU at Cosford until 1949 then to the Reserve Flying School (RFS) Exeter. She was then placed into storage at RAF Cosford from 1949 to 1954 ending her service. In 1954 Gemsy was decommissioned. She was then sold in 1955 as spares to Robert Stuart Rickard on behalf of Aero Exploration of Frankfurt, Germany and overhauled at the Wiltshire School of Flying at Thruxton by German technicians. She was one of six Tiger Moths purchased by Father Paul Schulte, known as Western Germany's 'Flying Priest' to restart civilian flying in Germany as part of his aim to "make Germany's youth air minded again" according to Pathe news footage.

Gemsy flew from Thruxton to Geilenkirchen as D-EDUM. Emil Kemmer then operated her at the Luftfahrerschule NRW (Aviation School North-Rhine Westphalia) and the Jugendhorst der Fliegende Pater (Youth Nest of the Flying Fathers). She then moved to the Luftsportclub Rhein-Ruhr in Essen. In 1964 Michael "Paddy" Cullen and The RAF Flying Club at Geilenkirchen acquired Gemsy where she was registered as G-ASPZ and used as a glider tug until 1969. She was then sold and dismantled for restoration in 1979 and forgotten.

Major Resoration

In 1991 Gemsy was rescued in a dismantled state from a barn in Belgium and brought back to the United Kingdom. After a total restoration she gained her Certificate of Airworthiness in 2000 and was registered as G-EMSY. Emsy was the nickname of the owner's daughter at the time. Her colours came from the owner's former school. After that a syndicate was formed at Old Sarum where a group of four owners flew Gemsy. She was the first Tiger Moth to join the Tiger Flights fleet in 2023.

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