Published: 02-04-2018 photo #23050 0 comments 0 votes
Photographed at the RAF Museum, Cosford, Shifnal, Shropshire on 4 March 2018. Built by Boulton Paul at the Pendeford, Wolverhampton factory and powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin III engine. This aircraft was taken on charge by the RAF on 7 August 1940 at 6 MU Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
On 17 September it went to 307 Lwowski (Polish) Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire and coded EW-D. This was one of the first 4 Defiants to be received by this Squadron, the first Polish night fighter unit. On 7 November 1940 all 16 of the Squadron’s Defiants flew to Jurby on the Isle of Man to protect Irish Sea shipping in daylight.
N1671 went to 6 MU Brize Norton on 14 January 1941 to be fitted with VHF communications and IFF equipment, and was repainted from a day fighter scheme into all black night fighter scheme. On 13 March 1941 it returned to 307 Sqn, based at Squires Gate, Blackpool, Lancashire. A fortnight later the Squadron moved to RAF Colerne, Wiltshire, to perform coastal sweeps. Several inconclusive night patrols and interceptions followed, and the Squadron moved around, for example to Exeter and Pembrey, South Wales.
The aircraft suffered an accident on 9 June 1941 and was sent to Reid & Sigrist on the 14th for repair. In October 1941 after repair it went to newly formed 153 Squadron at Ballyhalbert, County Down, Northern Ireland, to assist in the defence of Belfast. This was the last Defiant night fighter Squadron to be formed. Altogether N1671 had flown a total of 13 hours 15 minutes on operations.
After a spell on Anti-Aircraft Co-operation it went back to Reid & Sigrist on 22 February 1943 for a major inspection. From there it went to the Aircraft Storage Unit at 10 MU Hullavington before being ferried by the Air Transport Auxiliary on 4 September 1944 to 52 MU at Cardiff.
By 1 February 1946 this Defiant was stored in a crate at 76 MU, Wroughton, Wiltshire as one of a number of historic aircraft earmarked for museum purposes by the Air Historical Branch. Its first display task was at RAF St Athan, on 9 September 1960, in day fighter colours. Among other subsequent displays it was present at the 1968 Abingdon Royal Review (where I first saw it), later went to the RAF Museum at Hendon on 1 April 1971.
In early 2009 it was dismantled and on April 22 moved to Rochester for renovation and restoration by the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society. It was repainted into a night fighter colour scheme, and the turret was found to have originally fitted to a Blackburn Roc. Still in peces it went back to Hendon on 4 December 2012 but was reassembled by March 2013. In December 2014 it went on display at Cosford, as shown here.