Second World War fighter aircraft Boulton Paul Defiant on display at Hendon's Royal Air Force Museum

The last remaining Boulton Paul Defiant in all its glory at the Royal Air Force Museum

The last remaining Boulton Paul Defiant in all its glory at the Royal Air Force Museum

First published in News
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The last remaining fighter aircraft of its type is on display at the Royal Air Force Museum after years of restoration.

Following extensive restoration work by Medway Aircraft Preservation Society, the two-seater Boulton Paul Defiant can now be seen at the museum in Grahame Park Way, Hendon.

Designed to destroy bomber formations, the first of the fighters flew in 1937.

Ian Thirsk, head of collections at the museum, said: “It introduced a new concept in fighter aircraft design with two seats as opposed to one and the gun in a turret behind the pilot instead of in the wings.

“During the Battle of Britain it had to be used during daylight operations. It was successful at first - Germans would be shot down by the gunner in the cockpit.”

But as the Luftwaffe grew wise to the RAF's tactics, they began to approach the planes head on, shooting them down in large numbers. The planes were subsequently used at night and proved very successful.

The remaining Boulton Paul Defiant was retired in 1944 and was used by the RAF for displays until the early 1970s when it came to Hendon. Over the past three years it has been carefully restored for the first time.

Mr Thirsk added: “Now it’s been secured for future generations and should hopefully last another 50 to 60 years before it needs anything doing to it again. It’s a very important aircraft historically so we’re delighted to have it back in such fine condition.”

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