RAF Cosford started as an aircraft maintenance and storage unit. They trained units at Cosford in the Number 2 school of Technical Training. As training was the main objective they assembled Spitfires during the second world war and Horsa troop gliders. The latter were used during the invasion of France and the Battle for Arnhem. A major Hospital was built on the site in 1940, it had a major role in prisoners of war repatriation at the end of the war. It remained opened until 1976-1977 instead of the planned 10 years.
The name Cosford comes from a building named “Cosford grain house” on the edge of the airfield. Usually the name of a town or landmark nearby was given to a base but the nearby army base Donnington already used the name Donnington, it would be confusing to use the same name twice.
The grass tip was replaced by a paved runway after Vickers Wellingtons and Avro Ansons turned it into a mud pool during bad a winter in the early war years.
A unit of free Czechoslovakian airmen were stationed here after the fall of France, they joined the RAF which was in dire needs of Pilots for the defence of Britain. No12 Ferry Pool, a branch of the Air Transport Auxiliary, was stationed on the Cosford airfield. It ferried assembled Spitfires from the base and returned with damaged bombers and fighters. They were often flown by women.
After the war it stayed in use by the RAF for many years, the site is still in use by the training school and it in use by the air ambulances.
Important for us is that is it has the Royal Air Force museum.
This museum has a large collection of WWII planes, fighters and bombers, with a massive set of German rockets and glider bombs from the Second World War. An extensive set of Airplane engines. There are some Japanese warplanes which are quite unique for European museums. Next to the WWII there is a Cold War selection and more, The museum has the Cosford Air show which is quite famous, around 50.000 aircraft lovers attend to it.
Japanese War Planes
Unique for a European museum are the three Japanese war planes in the RAF museum Cosford. There are not that many Museum to have them on display, so this was an excellent moment for us.
Mitsubishi Ki-46 Dinah
Germany, unsuccessfully, tried to get the manufacturing rights for this successfully high reconnaissance plane which had its first flight in 1939. It had a few upgrades in engines to keep the speed as high as possible and in 1942 it could reach a top speed of 630 km/h or 391mph at 6000m / 19,700ft. The Dinah in the RAF museum is the only surviving Mitsubishi Ki-46.
The Kawasaki Ki-100 was one of the best Fighter planes from the Imperial Japanese Air force. On display at our visit is the Kawasaki Ki100-1b. It combines the Ki-61 frame with a Mitsubishi Ha-112 radial engine in stead of the original Kawasaki engine. The result was one of the best Japanese interceptors of the war with speed and maneuverability. I was produced in 1945 as high altitude fighter and took on the challenge against the B29 Superfortress bombers, even without supercharger it was an awesome opponent. The last surviving plane is in the RAF museum Cosford.
Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka
Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka which means cherry Blossom was a manned V1 flying bomb. It was flown toward it target under a Japanese bomber type Mitsubishi G4M2, known to the Allied as “Betty”. After release the pilot was on a kamikaze flight towards it target. The Allied named the Okha “Baka” which means fool.
Junkers Ju 88 and Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse
The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse or Hornet is one of only two surviving aircrafts in the world, the other one is in the Smithsonian in America and is not on display (in 2020).
The Junkers Ju 88-G1 is from 1942 and is one of two complete surviving Junkers 88 in the world, from the more than 15000 built.
Rockets and Engines
The RAF Cosford museum has an extensive collection of German Rockets from the Second World War and airplane engines from the same period.
A list of German missiles in the RAF Museum Cosford
In order of appearance (see movie below)
– Ruhrstahl Kramer X4 – a wire guided air-to-air missile
– Feuerlilie F55 – a remote-controlled 2-stage supersonic missile
– Rheinbote – a short range ballistic rocket
– Rheintochter R3 – a surface-to-air missile
– Wasserfall – a guided supersonic surface-to-air missile
– Feuerlilie F25 – a anti-aircraft missiles, a remote-controlled rocket
– V2 rocket – the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile
– Enzian – a surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile
– Fieseler Fi 103 V1 – an early cruise missile with a pulsejet propulsion
– Taifun (Typhoon) – an anti-aircraft unguided rocket system
– Henschel Hs 298 – rocket-powered air-to-air missile
– BV 246 Hagelkorn (Hailstone) – a guided glide bomb
– HS 117 Schmetterling (butterfly) – a radio-guided German surface-to-air missile
– Henschel Hs 293 -anti-ship radio controlled glide bomb with rocket
– Fritz X Ruhrstahl SD 1440 – a guided anti-ship glide bomb (first to sink a ship)
There is lots more to see in the museum, take time to wander around, half a day should be enough. For opening times and a overview on the “on display” planes visit the website. It shows the other location in London as well, do not confuse them otherwise you will be at the wrong location.