Duxford - Hangar 4 Continued - Page 2

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HANGAR 4 also contains items which are not connected with WWII.
Some of these have been included here together with some more WWII exhibits.


The 13 pounder 9 cwt anti-aircraft gun became the standard mobile British anti-aircraft gun of the World War I era, especially in theatres outside Britain.

13 pounder referred to the weight of the shell, 9 cwt (i.e. 9 hundred weight) referred to the weight of the barrel and breech to differentiate it from other varieties of '13 pounder'.

Earlier anti-aircraft guns based on 13 pounder and 18 pounder guns proved unsatisfactory, primarily due to their low muzzle velocities. On 18 February 1915 Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in France, asked for an anti-aircraft gun with a muzzle velocity of 2,000 feet per second. On 19 August 1915 the Army Council proposed adapting existing 18-pounder guns (3.3-inch bore) to use 13-pounder (3-inch) shells, thus meeting the requirement for higher velocity.

As World War I progressed, it was replaced in the home air defence of England (against German heavy bombers) by the more powerful QF 3 inch 20 cwt gun, but continued in all other theatres.

It was usually deployed mounted on medium lorries such as the Thornycroft Type J with a speed of 18 miles per hour.

By the end of World War I a 13 pounder AA Section was accompanied by 2 Wilson-Dalby Trackers with a rudimentary electronic computer to provide tachymetric prediction, a UB2 rangefinder, a Height/Fuze Indicator (HFI) and an Identification telescope.

German fighters countered by attacking at low level i.e. at a few hundred feet. AA guns would continue to fire but the shells would then explode over the heads of those they were defending. But it brought attacking aircraft within range of defensive machine guns.

Few aircraft were actually directly shot down, each requiring an average 4,000 - 4,500 shells, but guns were often employed in aerial barrages to deny an airspace to aircraft rather than to simply shoot down individually targeted planes.

This Gun and Lorry were originally part of the Museum's collections in the early 1920s, but they were handed back to Thornycroft at that time, in return for a scale model.

In 1982, the Museum was offered a very dilapidated and partially dismantled Thornycroft Anti-aircraft Lorry (and Gun), which was then purchased. During its restoration, the chassis serial number came to light, and it transpired that this was the same vehicle that the Museum has disposed of in the 1920s !


This bus was built in 1911 by AEC at Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow in East London. The vehicle worked on mainly the Routes 8 (Willesden-Old Ford) and 25 (Victoria-Seven Kings) before the First World War.

Purchased by the War Office in 1914 it served in France and Belgium throughout the war.

It was used as a troop carrier taking relief forces up from rear areas to the front line and returning with battle weary men and sometimes the wounded.

The London 'B type' bus was one of 300 requisitioned by the British army in October 1914 due to a shortage of motor vehicles at the outbreak of the First World War.

The buses were allocated to the British Army Service Corps, their civilian livery removed and painted khaki. Windows were boarded up and various other modifications were made in order for the buses to carry up to 25 fully-equipped troops.

By the end of the war, over 900 B type buses had been put into service in France and Belgium. Not only were they used to transport troops but also many were converted into ambulances, wireless equipment vehicles and mobile pigeon lofts.

This vehicle was repurchased by the London General Omnibus Company in 1919. On 14 Feb 1920 it was inspected at Buckingham Palace by HM King George V, thus becoming the first bus His Majesty had ever boarded.

It worked the streets of London on London bus routes 8 and 9 until 1924 when it was handed over to the Auxiliary Omnibus Companies Association who refurbished the bus as a permanent memorial to the role played by London buses in the First World War.

It was named 'Ole Bill' after Bruce Bairnsfather's wartime cartoon character and has regularly appeared thereafter in Armistice Day parades and at other special events until being presented to the Imperial War Museum in April 1970.

BRISTOL F.2B FIGHTER (E.2581 '13')

The Bristol F.2 Fighter was a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft of the First World War flown by the Royal Flying Corps. It is often simply called the Bristol Fighter or popularly the "Brisfit" or "Biff". Despite being a two-seater, the F.2B proved to be an agile aircraft that was able to hold its own against opposing single-seat fighters.

Having overcome a disastrous start to its career, the F.2B's solid design ensured that it remained in military service into the 1930s, and surplus aircraft were popular in civil aviation.

This example served with the 39 Home Defence Squadron at North Weald from 1918.   F.2 operated from Duxford in the early 1920s as pilot trainers.

Built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the prototype F.2A made its first flight in September 1916.

After some modifications the F.2B went into production.   It carried a pilot and observer, both of whom were armed with a machine gun. Its maximum speed was 113mph (182kmh).   Eventually 5,329 examples were delivered, some serving until 1932.


An emergency measure light armoured car built in 1940 and attached to the RAF.


Bedford QLC Fuel Bowsers were used in the 1940s to early 50s to refuel RAF aircraft.

Around 52,000 Bedford chassis were built between 1941 and 1945 and used for various purposes including fuel bowsers.

This RAF bowser held 850 gallons (3,864 liters) of fuel.

One commentator states :
"All RAF vehicles post 1941 were painted to army specification. "The refuellers would be a dark brown in colour with black disruptive "mickey mouse" type camouflage.

Tankers delivered after 1944 were UK olive drab. The RAF did not go back to using RAF blue until 1948.

"The refuelling booms on top of the tanker were a post war modification and not seen in WW2"


The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range, supersonic jet interceptor fighter or fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft.

It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy.   Proving highly adaptable, it was also adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force, and by the mid-1960s had become a major part of their respective air wings.

The Phantom has a top speed of over Mach 2.2. It can carry over 18,000 pounds (8,400 kg) of weapons including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs.

The F-4, like other interceptors of its time, was designed without an internal cannon. Later models incorporated a M61 Vulcan rotary cannon. Beginning in 1959 it set 15 world records for in-flight performance, including an absolute speed record, and an absolute altitude record.

McDonnell Douglas F-4M Phantom FGR.2 (XV474 'T') was in service from 1969 till delivery to Duxford in 1992. It is painted in the colours of 74 Squadron and is owned by the Old Flying Machine Company.

The 1950s and 60s were very active times in the history of aviation. The Cold War presented such a potent perceived threat to western security that governments wanted ever more capable and effective aircraft - and in large numbers.

"One of the greatest aircraft to emerge from this fruitful era was, without a doubt, the McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom II.
"Purposeful, powerful and potent, the F4 Phantom was a demanding mistress who was as unforgiving as she was rewarding. "She was respected by those who flew her and those who fought against her."
Sqn Ldr Paul Courtnage aka 'Courtney', Project Ocean Vision.

With over 5,000 F-4 Phantoms built and an impressive combat record, she became a legend in her own time."

The UK was the first overseas customer to buy the F4 Phantom from the United States. Based upon the F-4J, two UK versions of the Phantom II were produced but featured Rolls Royce Spey 202/203 turbofan engines and significantly different British avionics.

The Royal Navy was to receive the F-4K, and the RAF were to get the F-4M. Fifty F-4K Phantom FG.MK 1s were built and 116 F-4M Phantom FGR.Mk2s (plus two prototypes of each).


De Havilland Vampire T11 WZ590 (pictured below) was delivered to the RAF in November 1953, where it was issued to No.228 Operational Conversion Unit, RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire.

Between April and December 1954, the aircraft was at Marshalls of Cambridge for the fitting of a new clear-view canopy and ejection seats. When this work was completed, the aircraft was returned to its unit at RAF Leeming.

In November 1959 the aircraft was transferred to No.5 Flying Training School, RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire and, in March 1962, it went to No.8 Flying Training School at RAF Swinderby.

The plane continued flying for about a year or so, after which it was withdrawn from service and into storage.

Between February 1963 and January 1969, 77 Vampire T11s were sold back to Hawker Siddeley Aviation for possible refurbishment and sale to other nations. WZ590 was amongst them. However, no market was found for the aircraft and it was presented by Hawker Siddeley Aviation to the IWM in 1973.

It arrived at IWM Duxford without an engine or a number of other smaller items but the museum managed to source almost all of them.

During the past four years or so the aircraft has been completely dismantled and restored including painting in the colours it wore when in service at RAF Oakington.


The Supermarine Spitfire shown above was built by Westland at Yeovil and delivered to 12 MU on July 24th 1941, went to 57 OTU on July 31st and transferred to 53 OTU on February 20th 1943.

It was transfered to 8 MU for storage on August 17th 1944 until struck off charge on November 30th 1945.

AR213 was never used in a combat role and only served with Operational Training Units but did suffer at the hands of fledgling pilots. Sold to Gp Capt. Allen Wheeler on March 10th 1947 and registered G-AIST but stored until 1967 when it was brought to flying condition for 'The Battle of Britain' film.

Later flown by Allen Wheeler at Wycombe Air Park for several years before being sold to The Hon Patrick Lindsay in 1978. Following Lindsay's death on January 9th 1986, AR213 was sold in April 1989 to Victor Gauntlett, and Peter Livanos at PPS at Booker.

AR213's flying permit expired in 2002 and it was decided to completely rebuild AR213 to give it another 20 years of airworthy life. It underwent an intensive and costly restoration by Personal Plane Services (PPS) to bring the aircraft as close to its original build as possible. First post-restoration flight was on 12th November 2007 from Booker, High Wycombe, still in primer and awaiting a new paint scheme.

It was repainted in authentic 57 OTU colours. This was the plane's colour scheme when Flt Lt James Harry 'Ginger' Lacey, who had shot down more enemy aircraft than anyone else during the Battle of Britain, was posted to 57 OTU for a rest as an instructor. He flew AR213 as his personal aircraft and which was coded JZ-E which is its present code.

The airworthy plane was sold in 2011 to 'Spitfire The One Ltd', and is currently residing at the IWM Duxford from whence it is frequently flown.

"I do hope that you have enjoyed your visit to Hanger 4 with its Battle of Britain Section ....."

Please go to the top of the page (tab below right),
Click on "3 : Indoor Displays",
Then click on the required display.

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