Cosford, July 9th, 1997
This section is laid out in three pages. The other pages look at the experimental and jet aircraft exhibited in hangar one - and the captured aircraft exhibited in hangar two. This page covers the other aircraft exhibited in those hangars and some of those on display outside.
The Other Bits!
This page covers the aircraft not in the experimental-jet or captured aircraft category, and a few other bits and pieces which were on display.
A number of vehicles were on display in Hangar Two. Shown above are some military vehicles - an AEC Matador 4x4 Tractor (these were built in the 1938-46 period and this example was returned from Malta) and to its right, a Bedford Refueller. I'm not sure what the significance of the Messerschmitt Tiger (better known as a 'bubble car) is - but they're still pretty cool!
A number of other aircraft were to be seen. The Avro Lincoln B.2 (RF398) entered service in 1945. I was interested in this aircraft, as 75 (NZ) SQN was changing from Lancasters to these aircraft at the end of World War II. The Hurricane was one of six I got to see during my travels. This IIc model (LF738) was the gate guardian at St.Georges Chapel of Remembrance at Biggin Hill till 1984 when it was restored by the Medway Preservation Society, who appear to have done a wonderful job. The Catalina (actually the very first PBY-6A Canso) was built for the USN and then served with the Royal Danish Air Force (as L866) from 1957 till 1974. Along the way it had a run in with an iceberg, but was repaired. I don't know why the Mignet Pou de Ciel HM-14 (G-AEEH) is on display, but I seem to be accumulating photographs of this type. The Hawker Hart Trainer (K4972) was built in 1935 and served with No2 Flying school at RAF Digby. I have an interest in this type because Hinds and Harts were used in New Zealand - where one is under restoration.
In the area outside the hangars, a number of the larger aircraft are on display. Here is a sample of those aircraft!
A number of ex-BOAC, BEA, and BA aircraft are on display (still supported by BA). The DH-106 Comet (G-APAS) is a former BOAC aircraft. The Bristol Brittania 312 (G-AOVF) is also in BOAC livery having been repainted after its arrival in 1984. This is an example of the long range 300 series derived from the medium range airliner first proposed in 1947 (and first flown in 1952). The Aerospace Museum has a large collection of rockets and missiles. Unfortunately with only limited time, I didn't get to see many of them. I did get a look at this Bloodhound SAM (circa 1958) with its associated radar unit. The Gloster Javelin FAW.1 (XA564) is one of the few fighters displayed outside. As Britain's first twin-jet delta wing fighter, this aircraft which first flew in prototype form in November 1951, served from 1956 till 1966. They always seem to me to be mostly tail surface! The Canberra is a PR.9 (XH171). The prototype PR.9 first flew in 1955, and this example is one of the 22 produced by Shorts which feature longer wings and nacelles than the bomber version. The A.W.660 Argosy (XP411) is one of 56 of the military version of the A.W.650 freight aircraft used by the RAF from the early 1960's. This example finished its flying career as an airfield calibration aircraft for Signals Command before being used for ground instruction from 1975. It joined the museum in 1987. The Handley Page Victor K.2 (XH672) which became operational in 1958 was first designed as a bomber but only spent 5 years in this role - and then 28 years in service as a tanker. The final aircraft shown above is amazing - the Short SC.5 Belfast C.1 weighs in at more than 112 tons fully loaded! First flown in 1964, the RAF were to acquire 30, but only 10 were built. The four engined transports are all named after mythic Giants, and this example (XR371) is named 'Enceladus'. Retired from the RAF in 1976, some went into service with Heavylift, who still utilise this huge beast for freight work. Enceladus arrived at Cosford after retirement in 1978.
I should mention I also got to see the Jet Provosts and Bulldogs through the fence in the active area of RAF Cosford. However, having been late departing from Cheltenham, and needing to get to our destination at a reasonable hour, I only got to spend a mere hour and three quarters at Cosford. That was really only enough time to get a taste of the place - and there were two whole hangars I didn't even peek in! At least I got to see some of the place - Louise didn't get to do any shopping at all in Shrewsbury . . .
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