War in the Air


Soon after the invention of the aeroplane as a controlled and powered machine its application by the Military became evident. From 1911, when it was first used in conflict, through the Great War and to the present day, the Royal Air Force and its predecessors have operated flying machines in defence of our country and freedom.

The Museum’s collection of fighters and bombers includes those of Allies and our enemies, and is unique in the world. The War in the Air collection is home to what is believed to be the world’s oldest Supermarine Spitfire Mk I, K9942.

See our War in the Air collection.

The Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary LogoNew from September 2020

Home to the world’s oldest Spitfire, Cosford’s War in the Air Hangar houses a collection of both British and German aircraft from the Battle of Britain era. The Spitfire forms the centrepiece of a new display, where the RAF’s frontline fighters, the Spitfire, Hurricane, Gladiator and Defiant are face to face with their German rivals the Me 109 and Ju 88, to tell a coherent story.

Previously unseen objects from the Museum’s collection including a Rhino suit worn by Defiant pilots, Dowding’s jacket, artefacts from the plotting rooms and medal bars, will share the stories of the people who helped win the Battle, in the air and on the ground. A highlight of the new display is James Nicolson’s flying jacket and medal bar containing his VC medal, the only VC awarded during the Battle. Nicolson also flew the Spitfire on display at Cosford.

Our new Battle of Britain display at Cosford

Downloadable Large Print Guides

Wearing of Facemasks

Please note:

In accordance with current government regulations you must now wear a face covering in our galleries, restaurant* and shop, unless exempt from doing so.

You do not need to wear one when outside in our green spaces, unless it makes you more comfortable to do so. We would also ask that when in our buildings that our visitors be aware of others around them and where possible maintain a social distance of 1 metre.

*Except when seated.