Plan your day, see when the RAF Museum Cosford is open. Contact us on 01902 376 200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How to find us and travel to the RAF Museum Cosford by car, train, bus or bike.
Enjoy lunch in the Refuel Restaurant with views overlooking the airfield. The Citroen Van in the National Cold War Exhibition is ideal for morning coffee and a cake.
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
A car parking charge Is payable
See what events are scheduled at Cosford
Find out the latest news and updates for our Cosford site
Plan a day, see the opening hours & closure dates for RAF Museum London. Contact us on 020 8205 2266 or email@example.com
How to find us and travel to the RAF Museum London by car, train, bus or bike.
When you need to refuel during your visit why not visit the Wessex Café in Historic Hangars? At this eatery you will find a variety of delicious home-made offerings to suit all tastes and pockets
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone one from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
See what events are planned at our London site
Read the latest news from our London Museum
Lancaster Membership has been designed for people that wish to support the Museum from afar
Lightning Membership has been designed for people that wish to visit the Museum regularly
RADAR Magazine is a thrice yearly publication of the RAF Museum, bringing you access behind-the-scene
Two of our Trustees set out on an epic walk-a-thon in aid of the RAF Museum Centenary Programme.
Join the RAF Museum as a volunteer and create a unique experience for yourself and our visitors. Bring your enthusiasm, knowledge and skills or try something new.
Without you assistance we would not be able to care for our collections, read our varied audiences or share our objects with a world wide audience.
If you have any questions about supporting the RAF Museum, here you can find out how to contact our Fundraising Department.
The Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation ensures that the shared aviation heritage of the USA and the UK is kept alive in the memories of our two great nations.
at Cosford by signing up to the free regular e-newsletter
Published on: 24 June 2016
A young student from London is nearing the end of a week’s work experience placement at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, working on her Great Grandfather’s aircraft. Beth Halbard, aged 16 has spent the last few days working alongside the museum’s Technicians and Apprentices, helping to restore the wing box section with seat from the Handley Page Hampden P1344. This particular section of the aircraft has close family links and was the seat where her Great Grandfather, George Shepherd, sat on the Hampden’s final flight on 4 September 1942.
George Shepherd was a Corporal Engine Fitter on 144 Squadron Royal Air Force and serviced the Hampden currently being restored at the museum. As a Technician, he rarely had the opportunity to fly in the aircraft he serviced, but the lack of Ground Crew in Russia meant there was a need for each aircraft to carry a technician as fifth crew member. George ended up flying on his aircraft, P1344, which turned out to be the aircraft’s final flight.
Hampden’s were required to provide aerial protection for Arctic Convoy’s and to meet this demand, 16 aircraft from 144 Sqn and 16 from 455 Sqn RAF flew out to Vaenga, northern Russia. After departing from Sumburgh, Shetland Islands on the evening of 4 September 1942, the museum’s Hampden example, with George aboard, suffered with icing problems and diverted slightly north to find lower ground, avoiding the mountains. This action took the aircraft directly above a Luftwaffe base at Petsamo in northern Norway and was subsequently hit by ground fire from anti-aircraft battery, followed by attacks from two Messerschmitt 109 fighters who helped bring it down.
This air battle resulted in Flight Sergeant Miller and Sergeant’s Robertson and Garrity’s loss of life, and whilst Pilot Officer Perry and George both survived the crash landing; Perry was badly injured. George covered him in cloth to help keep him warm before going on the run for over 30 hours, eventually being captured. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft V111b and was involved in the long marches, where he walked over 500 miles in 52 days in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius. Eventually liberated by the US Army, George returned to the UK and was demobed at RAF Cosford, just a stone’s throw away from the museum where his aircraft now lives.
Six decades later, Beth visited the RAF Museum Cosford with her parents and Great Grandfather to view the Hampden. She was studying the Second World War at school and George surprised the whole family when he wrote notes to help with her project, detailing what happened during his flight in the Hampden back in 1942, something he had kept from the family for over 60 years.
Almost a decade after first viewing the Hampden and with an interest in aviation and engine mechanics, Beth was on the lookout for a hands-on, engineering work placement and the RAF Museum Cosford was her number one choice. Beth has now spent five days in the museum’s Conservation Centre, temporarily part of the team, helping to restore the aircraft to its former glory.
Beth Halbard said:
“There is a huge respect within the family for my Great Grandfather about everything he went through. Seeing the aircraft being restored to its former glory and playing even just a small part of that is a huge honour. My Great Granddad didn’t really speak about his experiences in the RAF, but I remember how emotional he got when he was reunited with his Hampden and it was after this that we could appreciate what he went through.”
Beth has been put to work in a variety of roles during her placement, including helping with aircraft moves, the removal of aircraft wheels from the Catalina as well as bench work learning how to work with various metals.
RAF Museum Conservation Centre Manager, Darren Priday said:
“I first met Beth aged 9, when she visited the project with George and other family members. Last year Beth approached me about attending work experience with us as she is interested in completing an aeronautical degree. How could we refuse such a request with her connections to our Hampden. Hopefully after spending time with us she will have a better understanding of the aviation industry; she will always be welcome back.”
The Hampden is one of the museum’s longest running conservation projects, which has progressed considerably over the last year. As one of only three examples of the type remaining, the significance of this project is huge and is being led by one of the museum’s skilled Aircraft Technicians. This work includes manufacturing a forward fuselage (above the lower longeron) hand built and where possible, incorporating existing fixtures and fittings from the original cockpit. Another major component manufactured on site has been the aircraft’s tailplane which now has an operational flying control system (elevator and rudder) and the surfaces have been covered in Irish Linen and sprayed into Bomber Command green/brown camouflage pattern. The rear fuselage external structure is close to being finished with just a few small tasks to be completed on the bomb bay sidewalls. Internally, the wooden floor is being fitted; once installed this will allow for further rebuilds to be progressed.
From 9-14 November visitors will be able to get up close to all of the current conservation projects undertaken by the team at Cosford, which include the Wellington bomber, Dornier Do 17 and the Range Safety Launch. For more details on the open week CLICK HERE.
« All News
Learn about aviation pioneers at our London site
The Royal Air Force Museum London offers a fun, enthralling...
For all the latest news and events
Bringing the amazing stories of the RAF Museum's historic...
A world class collection for our visitors to enjoy
Plan your next visit to Cosford
For group bookings (10 or more persons) or to book...
In addition to our world renowned collection of aircraft,...
We look forward to welcoming your group visit to Cosford.
Learn the story of Cold War personalities at Cosford
Great aviation gift ideas for all the family
Jam packed full of aviation gifts galore
Hold your next event at a unique venue!
And into the archives with our latest blog posts
Fascinating workshops to inspire the next generation
Discover the RAF’s unique story
Whether you are looking for a business meeting for...