RAF Museum concludes Lysander restoration

The Royal Air Force Museum at RAF Cosford, Shropshire, has restored a Westland Lysander III (S.D.), the only surviving special duties variant.

Lysander R9125, a World War Two veteran, was restored at the RAF Museum's Michael Beetham Conservation Centre. The aircraft arrived at RAF Cosford in November 2016 and it has since been through an in-depth inspection and condition assessment, which led to a few minor structural repairs.

The aircraft underwent major conservation work, which included a new hand-sewn traditional Irish linen fabric outer skin, provided by the Museum's Surface Finish Technician. It was also strengthened using original doping techniques.

R9125 was also completely repainted, bearing a 161 (Special Duties) Squadron livery. It was previously displayed at the RAF Museum's London site in 225 Squadron markings. The new scheme reflects its role towards the end of World War Two performing non-operational special transport tasks.

Lysander III
R9125 on display post-restoration, the wings will be reattached in due course. Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum

Darren Priday, the RAF Museum's Conservation Centre Manager, said: “It’s been a real privilege to work on such a beautiful aircraft... We have a few tasks still outstanding as we are looking at fitting a long-range fuel tank and a ladder as this would have been standard fit in her Special Ops role.  The fresh paint scheme has given her a new lease of life and she is going to look great when she goes back on public display.  The aircraft will return to our London site in 2020 but anyone who would like to view the aircraft will have the chance at our Open Week in November."

More than 1,700 Westland Lysanders were built, used primarily as a liaison and army co-operation aircraft. It was operated by numerous countries during World War Two, including Australia, British India, Burma, Canada, Egypt, Finland, France, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and the US.

From 11-16 November, visitors to the RAF Museum at RAF Cosford, will be able to get a unique look in the conservation centre and will have the opportunity to see the progress on some of the museum's other restoration projects, including the Handley Page Hampden, Vickers Wellington, Messerschmitt Me 410 and Dornier Do 17, among others. 

Another view of R9125 following its restoration. Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum