An exodus of exhibits from the Imperial War Museum’s (IWM) London Branch is making way for the construction of the First World War Centenary exhibits which are a part of the museum’s substantial renovation of the facility, which has caused the site to be closed to the public until its scheduled completion in the summer of 2014.
The Museum’s Sopwith 2.F1 Camel N6812, Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c s/n 2669 and a V-1 have been moved to the IWM site at Duxford, along with Supermarine Spitfire Mk IA R6915 and North American P-51D Mustang 44-73979.
The museum’s Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8/R6 wnr 733682 was sent to the RAF Museum in Cosford as although the historic fighter has been with the IWM since the early 1960s, it is actually owned by the RAF Museum. Captured at Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany, it was flown to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough on September 18, 1945. The 190 was on display at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell from September 1946, moving on to Biggin Hill in 1960, and finally moving to what was expected to be its final home, at IWM-London a couple of years later. A temporary move to Duxford was made in early 1986 for refurbishment and a repaint by The Aircraft Restoration Company, before a move back to Lambeth in 1988, where it was suspended from the ceiling for the past 20 some-odd years.
In IWM’s recent wave of “surplus” aircraft sales accompanying the renovation of it’s facilities, a Morane Saulnier M.S. 502 Criquet left Duxford bound for private ownership. Previously restored at Duxford as a Fieseler Fi-156 Storch and fitted with the correct Argus in-line engine for static display, it will now be restored to flying condition by new owner Dirk Bende at their workshops in Königswinter, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany.