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Hayes Way
Patchway, BS34

Aerospace Bristol is a new industrial heritage museum and learning centre being developed at Filton, to the north of Bristol. It will tell the story of the region's world-class aerospace industry - past, present and future. The Aerospace Bristol project is being run by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust.

RAF100

On 1 April 2018, the Royal Air Force will be celebrating its 100th birthday. To mark this occasion, we want to reflect on our history and our achievements.

 

The Royal Air Force, the world’s first independent air force, came into being on 1st April 1918

On 1 April 2018, the Royal Air Force celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Aerospace Bristol is marking this important occasion by reflecting on the history of the RAF and its connection with Filton as well as sharing incredible archive footage and very special events.

We hope you will be able to come along and celebrate with us throughout this important year.

 
RAF100
RAF100

The Royal Air Force and Filton

1915-1918

Filton's association dates back to the First World War, with the creation of the Aircraft Acceptance Park in 1915 which was manned by The Royal Flying Corps.

The three bay hangar which houses the main Aerospace Galleries was built in 1917 by the War Office as part of the Filton Aircraft Acceptance Park. It has enjoyed 100 years of continuous service in RAF and private hands.  Manufacturers of airframes for use in the First World War delivered their aircraft to an Aircraft Acceptance Park for the installation of engines and armament. Squadrons were also prepared here before they were sent to the front lines in France. Although the Acceptance Park closed in late-1919, the large flying ground was taken over for test and development flying by the new Bristol Aeroplane Company.

1918

Formation of the Royal Air Force

1920 - 1940

In 1924, the Auxiliary Air Force was formed as part of the UK Volunteer Reserve forces. In 1927, the RAF returned to transform the site into the new RAF Filton, with many of the old Aircraft Acceptance Park buildings being incorporated into the extended site. The site was expanded during the 1920s and 1930s when Bristol Aeroplane Company operated a Flying Training School and in 1929 Bristol received its own AAF Squadron, No.501 (City of Bristol) Squadron, and in 1930 it was renamed the “County of Gloucester” Squadron. The squadron then operated from RAF Filton until 28th November 1939.

501 Squadron played a significant role in the Second World War and Filton was an important sector airfield during the Battle of Britain.

1950 - 1960

The 501 Squadron moved away from Bristol in 1940 serving with great distinction in France and then the Battle of Britain. It returned briefly in December 1940 before being dispatched to other areas of WW2. It was finally disbanded on 20th April 1945 but reformed at Filton on 10th May 1946, being finally disbanded on 10th March 1957.

During the 1950s-1960s Filton was designated as a V-bomber dispersal field.

1990 - date

RAF activity on the site decreased and the last Squadron, Bristol University Air Squadron, moved away 1992.  Aerospace Bristol continues to commemorate the legacy between Filton and the RAF by using one of the original 1917 'Belfast' hangars as the new home of the museum. In 2015 the Grade 2 listed hangar became part of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust, who renovated the building and opened Aerospace Bristol in October 2017.

 
 Bristol Type 23 Badger, 1919, outside Building 16S, on Aerodrome in 1919. Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Type 23 Badger, 1919, outside Building 16S, on Aerodrome in 1919. Credit: BAE Systems

 Bristol Blenheim: the company provided a variety of types of aircraft and engines to the RAF over the years. Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Blenheim: the company provided a variety of types of aircraft and engines to the RAF over the years. Credit: BAE Systems


Celebrating the raf100 - On this day...

Credit: BAE Systems

1 April 1918

The Royal Air Force was formed by merging the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. The first aircraft airborne on the day was a Bristol F2B Fighter.

In September and October 1917, orders for 1,600 Bristol F2B Fighters had been placed; by the end of the WW1, the RAF had a total of 1,583 F2Bs in squadron service; it was in service with six reconnaissance squadrons stationed in France and five Home Defence squadrons, while further squadrons operating the type were positioned in the Middle East and Italy. A total of 5,329 aircraft were eventually constructed, mostly by Bristol but also by Standard Motors, Armstrong Whitworth and even the Cunard Steamship Company. According to J.M. Bruce, by the time of the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which brought an end to the conflict, the "Bristol Fighter ended the war supreme in its class".

Credit: BAE Systems

Advert for Bristol Pegasus

3 April 1933

Squadron Leader Lord Clydesdale and Flight Lieutenant McIntyre flew a Westland PV-3 Wapiti Mk V prototype and a Westland PV-6 Wallace using 630HP Bristol Pegasus engines on the first flight over Mount Everest in the Houston-Everest Expedition.

Advert for Bristol Pegasus. Credit: BAE Systems


Bristol Beaufighter

4 April 1943

A Bristol Beaufighter, torpedo-armed coastal version, accomplished the first successful military action for this Type by sinking 2 German supply ships off the Norwegian coast in WW2.

Credit: BAE Systems

Vickers Warwick and Bristol Centaurus engine

5 April 1940

The second prototype Vickers Warwick, a multi-purpose twin-engined aircraft powered by a Bristol Centaurus engine, made its first flight. By January 1943, a total of 57 Warwick Mk I aircraft had been completed for the RAF. Production Warwick GR Mk IIs used Bristol Centaurus VI engines and other variants used Centaurus II, VII, and XII engines. The Warwick was flown by 167; 301; 304; 353; 525; 179; 621 Squadrons.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum


Bristol Beaufort

6 April 1941

A Bristol Beaufort of No. 22 Sqn St Eval bombed the German battleship Gneisenau in Brest harbour scoring a direct hit and nearly sinking the ship. The torpedo was released from a height of 30 ft after which Fg Off Kenneth Campbell was shot down and killed. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Blenheim Mk IV

7 April 1940

Bristol Blenheims Mk I or Mk IV were the first to spot the German Fleet leaving Kiel harbour under cover of bad weather to invade Denmark and Norway.

Credit: BAE Systems


Britain First

12 April 1935

The Bristol Type 142, a twin-engined low-wing monoplane designed by Frank Barnwell for Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail newspaper, had been given the name Britain First, and conducted its maiden flight from Filton. Flight tests soon proved that the aircraft was in fact 50 mph faster than any fighter in service with the RAF at the time, having demonstrated a top speed of 307 mph. Rothermere presented the aircraft to the nation for a formal evaluation as a potential bomber. The design was subsequently adopted as the basis of the RAF's Bristol Blenheim medium bomber.

Credit: BAE Systems

Harrier GR1 and Pegasus VTOL engine

18 April 1969

No. 1 Sqn received its first RAF Harriers using the Rolls-Royce (formerly Bristol-Siddeley) Pegasus vertical take off and landing engine.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum


Bristol Sycamore

25 April 1949

Second prototype Type 171 Bristol Sycamore helicopter was granted its certificate of airworthiness. This Type later entered service in the RAF.

Credit: BAE Systems

VC10

27 April 1994

First K Mk 4 tanker conversion of the VC-10 carried out at Filton was delivered to the Royal Air Force.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bristol Beaufighter VIF

30 April 1943

A Bristol Beaufighter VIF of No. 600 Sqn crewed by Flt Sgt Downing and Sgt Lyons shot down five Ju52 troop carriers near Setif in N. Africa. The action lasted just 10 minutes.

Credit: BAE Systems

Harrier GR1 and Pegasus VTOL engine

5 May 1969

Between 4-11 May, A Harrier of No. 1 Sqn using the Rolls-Royce (formerly Bristol-Siddeley) Pegasus engine won the Daily Mail London - New York transatlantic air race. The flight involved 4 air-to-air refuellings and took 6 hr 11 min 57 sec.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum


Bristol Beaufort

7 May 1940 & 1946

A Bristol Beaufort of Coastal Command dropped the first 2,000lb (905kg) bomb during an attack on a German cruiser anchored off Norderney. Also on 7 May 1940, the first production Stirling conducted its first flight. The first few Stirling Mk.Is were furnished with Bristol Hercules II or III engines, but the majority were built with more powerful Hercules VI, X, XI or XVI engines. The Stirling was flown by 27 different RAF Squadrons.

On 7 May 1946, the first of two Handley Page Hastings prototypes (TE580) flew at RAF Wittering . The Hastings C.1 was rushed into service because of the Berlin Airlift, with No. 47 Squadron replacing its Halifax A Mk 9s with Hastings from September to October 1948. The Hastings C.1 was powered by four wing-mounted Bristol Hercules 100, 101 or 105 sleeve valve radial engines, whilst the C.2 used Hercules 106 or 216. The Hastings was flown by 17 RAF Squadrons.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Bulldog II

8 May 1929

The first of 25 Bristol Bulldog II ordered by the Air Ministry was delivered to the RAF. Deliveries to Nos. 3 and 17 Sqns continued until 10 October 1929. The RAF were delighted with their Bulldogs as much for their durability and ease of maintenance as for their lively handling qualities. The War in Europe ended with
the German surrender on 8 May 1945. 14,000 Bristol aircraft and 101,000 Bristol engines were delivered during the Second World War.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bristol Blenheim Mk IV

9 May 1940

As Germany invaded The Netherlands in WW2, 6 Bristol Blenheims Mk I or Mk IV of No. 600 Sqn attacked Waalhaven airport, only one Blenheim returning to
its base at RAF Manston.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Blenheim Mk IV

10 May 1940 & 1946

Thirty-three RAF Bristol Blenheims Mk IF or Mk IV attacked German forces in Holland, losing 3 aircraft in the process. Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister. Mr Winston Churchill replaced him as head of a coalition government. The first RAF sortie was flown against Italy, by 26 Bristol Blenheim Mk Is and Mk IVs. On this day, following the German invasion of France and the low countries, Westland Lysander IIs powered by one 905 hp (675 kW) Bristol Perseus XII sleeve valve radial piston engine, were put into action as spotters and light bombers. The Westland Lysander I, II and III were flown by a total of 33 RAF Squadrons.

On 10 May 1946, 501 Squadron reformed at Filton.

Credit: BAE Systems


Beaufighter production at Weston

16 May 1960

The last Bristol Beaufighter in RAF service was scrapped at Seletar, Singapore.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Type 105 Bulldog Jupiter engine

17 May 1927

Bristol Bulldog prototype made its first flight. It performed so well in its early handling trials that it made its first public appearance in the RAF display at Hendon in July 1927.

Credit: BAE Systems


Merlin HC3 Helicopter and RTM322 engine

1 June 2007

Flight Lieutenant Michelle Goodman, of 28 (AC) Squadron, RAF Benson, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for a rescue that she conducted into Basra city flying an AgustaWestland Merlin HC3 helicopter. The Merlin is powered by the Rolls-Royce (at Patchway)/Turbomeca RTM322 turboshaft engine. The Merlin was operated by 28 (AC) Squadron and 78 Squadron at RAF Benson but Command of the UK Merlin HC3/3A fleet was formally transferred from the RAF to the Royal Navy on 30 September 2014.

Copyright: Leonardo

First Bristol Britannia 253 for the Royal Air Force Transport Command. The Handing Over Ceremony at Lyneham on 9 June 1959

4 June 1959

The first Bristol Britannia 253/C Mk 1 was delivered to RAF Transport Command for Nos. 99 and 511 Squadrons.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bristol Beaufighter

12 June 1942

Coastal Bristol Beaufighter of No. 236 Sqn flown by pilot Flt Lt Ken Gatward accompanied by observer FS George Fern flew a daylight operation over occupied Paris in WW2 and dropped a Tricolour flag onto the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that was collected by the French Resistance. Afterwards the same crew shot up the German Admiralty headquarters in Paris and dropped a second flag on its doorstep.

Credit: BAE Systems

Vickers Wellington Mk I and Pegasus X or XVIII engine

15 June 1936

The first twin-engined Vickers Wellington bomber prototype (Air Ministry Specification B9/32), K4049, made its first flight using 980hp Bristol Pegasus X engines. The production Wellington Mk I, some Mk IA and Mk IC used Bristol Pegasus XVIII engines. These Mks of Wellington subsequently served with 34 different RAF Squadrons.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum

 
Bristol Bombay

18 June 1940

A French Intelligence officer attached to No. 1 Sqn found a Bristol Bombay abandoned on Chateaudun airfield with a broken tail-wheel. In spite of this damage, and regardless of the fact that he was not a qualified pilot, he took off successfully with 15 compatriots on board and flew to England to join the Free
French forces.

Credit: BAE Systems

Supermarine Walrus flying boat and Pegasus II M2 engine. Handley Page Hampden and Pegasus P.E.5S(A) engine

21 June 1933

On 21 June 1933, the Supermarine Walrus prototype, a single-engine amphibious biplane reconnaissance aircraft, was first flown using a single 620 hp (460 kW) Bristol Pegasus II M2 radial engine that powered a four-bladed wooden propeller in pusher configuration. Five days later it made an appearance at the SBAC show at Hendon, where the pilot, Summers, startled the spectators by looping the aircraft. Walrus deliveries to the RAF started in 1936 and it was flown by a total of 14 RAF Squadrons. On 21 June 1936, the Handley Page H.P.52 Hampden prototype, powered by a pair of Bristol Pegasus P.E.5S(A) engines, conducted its maiden flight from Radlett Aerodrome, Hertfordshire. The Hampden was a twin-engine medium bomber of the (RAF) which served with 20 operational squadrons, plus training units and meteorological flights.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum


British Aircraft Corporation Jet Provost T.3 and Armstrong Siddeley Viper A.S.V.8 (Mk.102) engine

22 June 1958

First flight at Filton of the K Mk 2 tanker conversion of the VC-10 for the RAF. On 22 June 1958, the first British Aircraft Corporation Jet Provost T.3 conducted its first flight, using the Armstrong Siddeley Viper A.S.V.8 (Mk 102). In total, 201 T.3s were delivered to the RAF between 1958 and 1962. The Jet Provost subsequently saw many years service as the RAF's principal ab initio flying trainer prior to the development of the Hawk. The JP was flown by No. 2 Flying Training School (FTS) at RAF Hullavington and later at RAF Syerston, Central Flying School at RAF Little Rissington, the RAF College Cranwell, No. 1 FTS at RA F Linton-on-Ouse, 3FTS at RAF Leeming, 6FTS at RAF Acklington, and 7FTS at RAF Church Fenton.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Bombay

23 June 1935

Bristol Bombay troop carrier made its first flight. It subsequently entered RAF service with Nos. 216, 117, 267 and 271 Sqns in transport and light bomber roles. It was the first Bristol aircraft to use aluminium alloy construction.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bristol Blenheim prototype

25 June 1936

Bristol Blenheim Mk I prototype (Type 142M) made its first flight. After successfully completing flight trials at Martlesham Heath, production for the RAF was cleared for December 1936. Orders were subsequently received for 584 airframes fitted with Type BI Mk 1 gun turrets. The Blenheim I and IV were the only aircraft to serve in every Command of the RAF and in every theatre of WW2.

Credit: BAE Systems

Hawker Tempest FII and Bristol Centaurus engine

28 June 1943

Also on 28 June 1943, the first Hawker Tempest FII, LA602, flew powered by a Centaurus IV (2,520 hp/1,879 kW) driving a four-blade propeller. The second, LA607, first flew on 18 September 1943: LA607 was assigned to engine development. The Tempest was a fighter aircraft primarily used by the RAF in WW2. Production aircraft were powered by a Bristol Centaurus engine of various Mks between V and XVIII driving a 12 ft 9 inch (3.89 m) diameter Rotol propeller. The Tempest was flown by 5; 16; 20; 26; 30; 33; 54; 152; 183; 247 Squadrons.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum


Bristol Type 138A High Altitude Monoplane

30 June 1937

Bristol Type 138A high altitude research monoplane set a new world altitude record of 53,937 ft during a 2¼-hour flight flown by Flight Lieutenant M.J. Adam.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Beaufort

1 July 1939

A contract was placed for 90 Bristol Beauforts for the RAF in Malaya.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bristol Type 192

5 July 1959

Type 192 Bristol Belvedere twin rotor helicopter made its first flight at Weston-Super-Mare. The first production Belvedere HC1 was delivered subsequently to the RAF for No. 6 Sqn at Odiham in August 1961. By then company reorganisation meant that it became a Westland Aircraft product.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Beaufighter

17 July 1939

Bristol Beaufighter prototype made its first flight. Nearly 6,000 were built.

Credit: BAE Systems


 
Vickers Varsity and Bristol Hercules 264 engine

17 July 1949

1949: On 17 July 1949, the Vickers Type 668 Varsity VX828 was first flown from Wisley. The Varsity was operated as a twin-engined crew trainer by the RAF for 25 years from 1951. The Varsity powerplant comprised 2 × Bristol Hercules 264 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,950 hp (1,455 kW) each. The Varsity was flown by 10 different RAF Squadrons and 15 Flying Training Schools.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bloodhound at R.A.F. Station, Marham, Norfolk

19 July 1951

First successful short-range Bloodhound surface-to-air missile test flight. The Bloodhound later entered service with Fighter Command at North Coates in Lincolnshire in July 1958.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bristol Bulldog II

21 July 1931

Delivery commenced of 100 Bristol Bulldogs IIA. Deliveries continued until 13 April 1932 when a further 20 aircraft followed by an additional 14 were ordered. During this period, the Bulldog IIA equipped 10 of the 13 Fighter Sqns constituting the air defence of Great Britain.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Blenheim

22 July 1940

During the night of 22/23 July a Bristol Blenheim 1F converted for night fighting became the first aircraft to intercept and destroy an intruder aircraft using airborne interception AI MkIII radar, guided to AI range by Ground Controlled Interception.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bloodhound

31 July 1991

No. 85 Sqn at RAF West Raynham operating Bristol Bloodhound Mk II surface-to-air missiles was disbanded.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Fighter

8 August 1918

The RAF introduced offensive fighter sweeps on the Western Front. These sweeps normally consisted of Sopwith Camels flying at 10000 feet; SE5 as at14000 feet and Bristol Fighters at 18000 feet. The Allies launched a major offensive on the Western Front. Heavy fighting resulted in losses of around a quarter of all aircraft. In the week 5 - 11 August, the RAF alone claimed 177 enemy kills against 150 losses.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bristol Blenheim Mk IVs entering service around 1939-40: at Filton

12 August 1941

Fifty four Bristol Blenheims Mk I and Mk IV from 6 squadrons attacked power stations near Cologne in WW2. On 12 August 1943, Acting Flight Sergeant Arthur Louis Aaron, while serving as the captain of a No. 218 Squadron Short S.29 Stirling heavy bomber in a raid on Turin, was heavily wounded while piloting the aircraft and refused to rest, directing the flight engineer, who was acting as co-pilot, to fly to Bone Airfield, Algeria; he died of exhaustion following the aircraft's safe landing. Aaron was awarded his posthumous VC on 5th November, 1943. The Stirling was powered by four Bristol Hercules II, III, VI, X, XI, VI or XVI engines and was flown by 27 different RAF Squadrons.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol Braemar

13 August 1918

The first prototype Bristol Braemar Mk I with four 230 HP Siddeley Puma engines made its first successful flight to Martlesham Heath for RAF trials. It did not proceed beyond prototype evaluation.

Credit: BAE Systems


First Bristol Britannia 253 for the Royal Air Force Transport Command.  The Handing Over Ceremony at Lyneham on 9 June 1959

16 August 1952

Bristol Britannia first flight. The Britannia 252 and 253 subsequently entered service with RAF Transport Command.

Credit: BAE Systems

Jindivik

28 August 1952

The Jindivik Mk.1, a target drone produced by the Australian Government Aircraft Factories (GAF), first flew. The Jindivik Mk.1 was powered by an Armstrong Siddeley Adder (ASA.1) turbojet, which had been developed as a disposable engine for the project. Only 14 Mk.1s were ever made. The Jindivik Mk.2 and subsequent Mks were powered by an Armstrong Siddeley Viper engine of various Mks including A.S.V.8 (Mk 102), A.S.V.11 (Mk 200) and Mk 201. Most UK flights were conducted by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at their Llanbedr (formerly RAF) establishment and fired over the nearby Aberporth Airport test range in west Wales. In the UK, the drone was used in the development of the Bristol Bloodhound, English Electric Thunderbird, and Seaslug surface-to-air missiles, and the de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missile.

Credit: BAE Systems


Walter Gibb with Bill Pegg and Canberra aircraft

29 August 1955

Wing Commander Walter Gibb flew an English Electric Canberra aircraft powered by 2 Bristol Olympus 102 engines to an altitude record of 65,889 ft.

Credit: BAE Systems

P.1127 and Pegasus VTOL prototype engine. Folland Gnat and Bristol Orpheus Mk.701 engine

31 August 1960

Pegasus vectored thrust turbo-fan engine was first run in Hawker P.1127 (prototype Kestrel and Harrier) airframe. On 31 August 1959, the prototype Foland Gnat Trainer conducted its maiden flight from Chilbolton airfield, Hampshire, powered by a Bristol Orpheus Mk.701 turbojet engine. Although never used as a fighter by the RAF, the Gnat T.1 jet trainer variant was adopted and operated for some time. In the United Kingdom, the Gnat became well known due to its prominent use as the display aircraft of the RAF's Red Arrows aerobatic team.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum


Bristol Blenheim Mk IVs entering service around 1939-40: at Filton

4 September 1939

On this day less than 24 hours after the commencement of hostility in WW2, Bristol Blenheim IV (N6204) piloted by Flt Lt Kenneth Christopher Doran dropped the first Allied bombs of WW2 onto the German Fleet at Wilhelmshaven. Four Blenheims were lost in the attack. On the same raid a total of 14 Vickers Wellingtons of No. 9 and No. 149 Squadrons, fitted with Bristol Pegasus XVIII engines, were flown. The Blenheim Mk I, IF, IV, IVF and V were operated by a total of 94 different RAF Squadrons. The Wellington was operated by 34 different RAF Squadrons.

Credit: BAE Systems

Bristol M.1C Monoplane

16 September 1918

The Bristol M.1 monoplane was a British fighter of WW1. Thirty-three M.1Cs served in the Middle East and the Balkans in 1917–18, while the rest were used by UK-based training units. One pilot of the M.1Cs that served on the Macedonian Front was Captain Frederick Dudley Travers DFC of No. 150 Squadron RAF, the only ace on this type. He scored the last five of his victories between 2 and 16 September 1918, possibly all in the M.1C serial number C4976. The Fokker D.VII, widely regarded as the best German fighter of its day, shot down on 16 September 1918

Credit: BAE Systems


Supermarine Otter and Mercury XXX engine

23 September 1938

The first flight of the Supermarine Sea Otter took place. It was an amphibian aircraft and was the last biplane flying boat to be designed by Supermarine; it was also the last biplane to enter service with the RN and the RAF. It was not until January 1942 that the Air Ministry placed a production order. The Sea Otter was used by both the RAF and the RN for air-sea rescue and patrol roles. It was powered by 1 × Bristol Mercury XXX radial piston engine, 965 hp (720 kW). Of the 592 aircraft ordered, only 292 were built due to the end of the Second World War. It was flown by a total of 10 RAF Squadrons and Flights.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum

Bristol Type 138A High Altitude Monoplane

28 September 1936

Squadron Leader F.R.D. Swain flew the Bristol Type 138A high altitude monoplane research aircraft to a world record altitude of 49,967 ft.

Credit: BAE Systems


Bloodhound at RAF North Coates

1 October 1963

No. 25 Sqn was reformed at RAF North Coates as the first operational Bristol Bloodhound Mk II surface-to-air missile Unit.

Credit: BAE Systems

Vickers Wellington and Pegasus XVIII engine. Westland Lysander and Mercury or Perseus engine. Gloster Gladiator

9 October 1940

The Western Desert Air Force was formed under the command of Air Vice-Marshal Arthur Coningham to conduct air operations in North Africa. Strength of the force amounted to three squadrons of Vickers Wellington bombers each powered by two 1,000 hp (750 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII radial piston engines, five squadrons of Bristol Blenheims, three of Hurricanes and one Gloster Gladiator (powered by one Mercury IX or VIIIAS engine) squadron. In addition, three squadrons of Westland Lysanders (powered by a Bristol Mercury XII, Perseus XII or Mercury XX or 30 engine) were assigned to Army co-operation duties.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum


Handley Page H.P.54 Harrow and Pegasus X engine. Vickers Wellington and Pegasus XVIII engine

10 October 1936

The Handley Page H.P.54 Harrow Mk I was a heavy bomber of the 1930s built for the RAF and powered by Bristol Pegasus X engines of 830 hp (620 kW), 19 built. The Harrow was later modified to Mk II and both Mks were operated by a total of 9 RAF Squadrons and Flights. The first of 15 Vickers Wellington Type 295 Mk I production versions, (L4215), fitted with Vickers gun turrets, transposed W/T and navigation stations, was delivered to 99 Squadron RAF, on 10th October 1938 . The production Wellington Mk I, some Mk IA and Mk IC used Bristol Pegasus XVIII engines. These Mks of Wellington subsequently served with 34 different RAF Squadrons.

Credit: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum

Bristol Britannia G-APPE

13 October 1959

First flight of the military variant of the Britannia, the model 253, registered G-APPE.

Credit: BAE Systems