Shrewsbury News

75th Anniversary of the first Wellington flight

75th Anniversary of the first Wellington flight First Flight 15th June 1936

Wednesday 15th June 2011 marks the 75th Anniversary of the first flight of the Vickers Wellington.  Part of the Royal Air Forces bomber strength during World War II, the prototype Wellington (K 4049) first took to the skies on the 15th June 1936.

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford is home to the world’s only complete example, Vickers Wellington B.X MF628.  The Wellington is currently undergoing restoration work in the Museums award winning Michael Beetham Conservation Centre, where it will spend the next four years being carefully restored, before going back on display at the RAF Museum London.

The Wellington went into active RAF service in 1938 and played a significant role in the RAF during World War II.  This twin-engined, long-serving, medium-range bomber was utilised heavily within Bomber Command at the outset of World War II, and was affectionately known as the ‘Wimpy’ by its crews.  Flying on many of the Wars defining bombing operations, the ‘Wimpys’ last mission with Bomber Command was in October 1943.  During WWII the Wellington served in other theatres including the Middle East and Far East and as a maritime patrol and anti-submarine craft in Coastal Command; some also served with Transport Command illustrating what an incredibly versatile aircraft the Wellington was.  As an aircrew trainer it served with the RAF until1953.

With a wingspan of 86ft, over 60ft in length and a height of 17ft, the Wellington had a bomb carrying capacity of 4,500lb.  In total 11,461 Wellington’s were built, the bomber typically carried a crew of five or six which would vary depending on the operation. 

The Wellington is famous for its unique geodetic construction, built up from a number of strong channel-beams that were formed into a large geodesic-based network.  Originally designed by Barnes Wallis, the geodetic construction gave the aircraft tremendous strength because any one of the stringers could support some of the weight from even the opposite side of the aircraft.

The Museums Wellington B.X MF628 will be on display to visitors during the Conservation Centre Open Week taking place from Monday 14th to Saturday 19th November 2011.  Open each day from 10.15am -1.00pm, a range of aircraft and other artefacts in various states of restoration will be on display, including the Centre’s largest project, the Wellington Bomber.

The Museum will open daily from 10am – 6pm (last admission 5pm).  Admission is FREE of charge.  For further information, please contact the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 01902 376200 or visit

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