RAFM Cosford Re-visited

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Benevolens Magister
Aug 24, 2008
Cheshire, UK
Due to the Covid lockdown, and then life getting in the way, I hadn't been to the RAF Museum, Cosford, since 2018 or '19, and needed some detail shots of particular subjects, and I also wanted to see the recently completed Wellington restoration, which I'd followed with various visits over the years (more of this to come in this and following posts).
Having been in touch with our forum member Rodd, who is on the volunteer staff of technicians at the Museum, it was suggested that a good time to visit would be late spring or early summer, when all the hangars would be open, and most, if not all, of the planned major changes implemented.
There are some on-going, fairly radical changes happening at both RAFM's Hendon, and Cosford, with some airframes being disposed of, more or less free of charge, to other museums or lucky owners, with the Hendon B-25 now at East Kirkby, and the Cosford P-51 going to Australia, for example. This is in-line with the current thinking where, as the two sites are RAF Museums, then the exhibits should be RAF aircraft (Yes, it could be argued that B-25's and P-51's served with the RAF, and could of perhaps been re-painted in appropriate colours, but the decision has been made.).
In addition to the disposal of non RAF airframes, the collection of extremely rare test and evaluation aircraft is also changing, with these aircraft going into storage, for now, at least. Regrettably, some of these, along with the ex Danish Catalina a Jet Provost and others, are currently stored outside, open to the elements, and again, more of this later in this thread.
Some types, such as the Dinah, have moved to Hendon, and others, such as the Blenheim (Bollingbroke), have moved to Cosford, where displays have been thoroughly rearranged, following such themes as "World War 1 to World War 2" and "Bomber Command", with some interactive features to encourage younger visitors and, from the viewpoint of the enthusiast or historian, much more unobstructed space and access for closer, better viewing.

For those who asked if it was possible to photograph the progress on the H.P. Hampden and the Dornier Do-17, I'm afraid that lack of time, on this visit, prevented me getting to the Hampden in the conservation centre (we were the last to leave the museum, and had to divert around the visitor centre, as it had already closed !).
Rodd informed me that no further work had been done on the Do-17 since its "stabilisation" on arrival at Cosford, as it's too far corroded to have any worthwhile work done.

Anyway, I went to the Museum yesterday with my mate Mick (Karl couldn't make it due to numerous other commitments), and met up with Rodd, who was ready to take us around for close access to what I needed, which included shots of the Wellington, detail shots of the Andover for another model for Gp.Cpt. Dougie Barr, and some detail shots of other subjects for other forum members if possible.
Due to Rodd's very generous help and preparation, I was able to get everything I needed, and more, with the unexpected huge bonus of access to the Andover interior, the underside of the FW190, Meteor engine intakes and much more.
My sincere thanks to Rodd for his help and assistance, and for giving up nearly four hours of his time !

So, to start off, the first selection of pics show the beautifully restored Vickers Wellington, which arrived at Cosford from Hendon twelve years ago, when it went Into the conservation centre for a complete "refurb" and re-cladding. Regular members here may remember that I covered at least two of the restoration stages in previous threads.
It is displayed with the cowlings off one engine, the bomb doors open, and with the rear turret removed (displayed separately nearby), in order that visitors can see the interior and the geodetic framework along the length of the fuselage. It's planned to have the interior illuminated for better viewing. Note that the gun turret has had the four Browning guns removed temporarily.

I'll be back tomorrow with more of the Wellington, and other subjects of interest.

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Thanks Andy, and yes, there are still a few details to be completed on the Wellington. It was only moved to the hangar a few wees ago, which, as you know, would have been a major operation, including moving lots of other stuff already in situ.
Thanks all.

Continuing with the "Bomber Command" theme, with a series of images hopefully of interest to modellers, and another internal view of the Wellington from the tail turret position, along with the tail turret again, this time shown alongside the late war FN produced Lancaster turret, mounting twin .50 cal Brownings, for comparison.
Also shown are the computer for the Mk.XIV bomb sight, and the"Gee" receiver display monitor and its associated R/F unit, as fitted to the Lancaster, Halifax and Mosquito etc.
The Blenheim (Bollingbroke) has recently arrived at Cosford from Hendon and, as can be noticed form the technicians in some of the pics, is still receiving final fixes.

Back soon with more from Cosford .................

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Thanks, Wojtek and Karl.

More "bomber" stuff, with an incredibly rare exhibit which has been in storage for over 50 years and, as far as I'm aware, hasn't been on general, public display until now.
The first four images show a Short Stirling centre section, with the unique tail wheel assembly alongside. Note that the fuselage is mounted inverted on the trestle support base.

The majority of visitors to museums like the RAFM are unaware of the huge amount of work involved in preparing the exhibits for display, and the sworn enemy of Bomber Command, the Ju-88 at Cosford, is an example of the effort required to bring such rare airframes to the public.
Originally displayed in the BoB Hall at Hendon since 1972, this Ju-88 R-1 night fighter was moved to Cosford a few years ago. With the recent reorganisation in the hangar at Cosford, the aircraft has been moved across the floor, and set on new axle stands to relieve pressure on the gear legs and tyres, an exercise which takes a lot longer, and requires much more effort, than the general visitor could imagine.
Its "new", more spacious location allows a much better view of this rare example, allowing easier access for detail photographs, a few of which are shown here.

Still lots more to come .......................

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And than you for looking in.

Moving outside for a while, with the main purpose of this visit to obtain some specific detail photos for myself, and also for Evan (A4K), who wanted some pics of a Meteor F.8 engine intake, as well as some other stuff to be covered later.
Virtually all Meteors on static display in the UK lack engines or, if they are fitted, they're normally obscured by F.O.D. guards.
However, the RAFM's unique Meteor F.8 prone pilot test aircraft does have the engines in place, and Rodd very kindly removed the F.O.D. guard from the port engine, so that I could obtain a series of photos, a couple of which are shown here, along with some views of this very odd aircraft, with my friend Mick giving some idea of the ... er... compactness of this arrangement.
As with the Meteor, some of the rare test and research types are in temporary external storage, with the Saunders Roe SR.53 rocket-powered aircraft alongside the Meteor.
Also shown here are a Jet Provost in line with the Hunting H124 and the Jaguar ACT demo aircraft, recently moved from the "Test Flight" hangar.
The former, and once pristine, Royal Danish Air Force Catalina was moved outside around five years ago, and is now showing obvious signs of weathering, although I believe that this is another airframe up for disposal to interested parties.
The good news is that a new hangar is to be built for some of the aircraft currently outside, and also to house a proportion of the items that have been in long-term storage at RAF Stafford, which is scheduled to be transferred to the Army.

Still more to come ...................

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As previously mentioned, the primary reason for this visit to RAFM Cosford was to obtain a shed load of detail photos, with the main interest being the H.S. Andover.
As some here will know, I've recently built a number of models for Gp.Cpt Dougie Barr, secretary of the 46 Sqn. Association, with the most recent being a 46 Sqn Andover C1, serial number XS603, on which aircraft Dougie was Navigator in the 1970's, and the only Andover I ever jumped from.
When the Andover transport fleet was retired in 1975, some airframes were sold on ( RNZAF receiving some I believe), with others converted to the V.I.P. transport role as the E3A for the RAF, with full (rear facing) passenger seating replacing the para benches, whilst others, including XS603 being converted to calibration aircraft used for checking and calibrating airfield ILS, radar, etc,
Dougie was re-united with XS603 in this role when he commanded 115 Sqn, and asked me if I could build another model in this colour scheme and configuration, as a memento.
As the Cosford aircraft is externally similar to the calibration aircraft, I wanted to obtain further detail photos, and as Evan is about to build a detailed model of the RNZAF aircraft, I thought, it a good idea to get a large amount of photos of the subject, a very small selection of which are shown here.
Due to Rodd's generous assistance, I not only got what we needed, but also gained access to the interior for loads of detail shots - many thanks again Rodd.
The first shot in this series shows Rodd beneath the nose, confirming that the nose gear ram is, indeed, external, and does not retract into a separate well, but lies flush with the fuselage, externally. Other views show the Nav station, a general cockpit view, passenger cabin and main entrance door.

Two of the recent newcomers to Cosford include the Chinook, a Falklands conflict veteran, and the beautiful Spitfire PR.19, which had been in storage for many years before moving to Cosford this year.

Thanks for the comments and "likes" etc, and I'll be back with more pics tomorrow.

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