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RAF Cosford iconic Spitfire lands at Bahrain International Airshow

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 26, 2014

Members of the RAF Cosford Museum's conservation team with students from the Gulf Aviation Academy

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THE RAF Cosford Museum together with BAE Systems displayed an iconic, World War II era Spitfire at Bahrain International Airshow 2014 last week.

The aircraft is a piece of aerospace history and is a reminder of the strong links between Bahrain and Britain which were underlined in the Second World War.

Students from the Gulf Aviation Academy in Bahrain have been working with BAE Systems and the RAF Museum this month to assemble the Spitfire ready for the start of the air show.

The students were given the opportunity to get a first-hand look at how one of the Second World War's iconic aircraft is put together and to discover more about how the Spitfire featured in Bahrain's history.

The Supermarine Spitfire remains the iconic British fighter of the Second World War, and Britain was not alone in its fight. Bahrain, through the Fighter Fund, financed the purchase of 10 Spitfires to aid the war effort.

These were funded by all sections of the community in the Arabian Gulf.

In total, the Fighter Fund raised £50,000 and six Spitfires bore the name Bahrain.

Keith Ifould, from the RAF Museum, said: "The Spitfire is a true aerospace icon, and it played a key role in the Second World War, so we're pleased to be working with the BAE Systems and the Gulf Aviation Academy to display a Spitfire at Bahrain International Airshow 2014.

"The aircraft helped cement a strong spirit of co-operation between Britain and Bahrain which remains to this day, so it was a great opportunity for air show visitors to come and find out about Spitfire and this historical connection between the countries."

The aircraft was well known for its elliptical wings and the sound of its supercharged Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, which could be seen up close at the show.

An RAF Museum representative was on hand to provide insights and anecdotes about the Spitfire and its link to the Middle East, as well as the role Gulf Aviation Academy students had played in preparing the aircraft for display at the Bahrain International Airshow.

Spitfire entered service in 1938, with 20,321 Spitfires built over 24 variants and its last operational RAF sortie came in 1954.

The actual model on display was originally ordered in June 1943 and built in 1945.

For more information visit http://www.baesystems.com/content/BAES_164460/bahrain-interna tional-airshow-014, www.rafmu seum.org or follow @BAESys tems_Gulf on Twitter.

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