Royal Air Force Museum Cosford has received three Second World War aircrafts.
The Shropshire attraction is the new home of The Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1, the Gloster Gladiator 1 and the Westland Lysander III. The aircraft were all transported by road from the museum’s London site and are currently being prepared for display at Cosford.
It is a homecoming for the Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1, the last surviving example of its kind, built by Boulton Paul at its Pendeford, Wolverhampton factory in 1938.
This two-seat turret fighter, operated with mixed fortunes during the Battle of Britain period but found its niche as a night fighter during 1940-42. They were used extensively later in the war for air-sea rescue and target tug roles in the UK and Middle and Far East.
Another new aircraft to wing its way to Cosford is the Gloster Gladiator 1, the first enclosed cockpit and last biplane fighter introduced into RAF service. Although Gladiators saw operational service at home it was most successfully employed overseas particularly in the defence of Malta.
Also joining the aircraft collection at the RAF Museum Cosford is the Westland Lysander III, the only surviving Special Duties variant of this aircraft. It was designed to operate closely with the Army and had a remarkable performance which enabled it to get into and out of extremely small fields.
The Defiant and Gladiator will both go on public display in the museum’s ‘War in the Air’ hangar in January 2017, whilst the Lysander will be heading to the museum’s Conservation Centre for an in depth inspection and condition assessment, before work is carried out over the next few years to replace its fragile linen outer skin.