Wellington Mk I – R for Robert, 149 Sqn RAF, Preserved Brooklands Museum.
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Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA34809: Vickers Wellington Mk I N2980 R for Robert of 149 Squadron RAF Mildenhall 1939. Now preserved at Brooklands museum. Limited edition of 1,350 pieces.
Length 10.25 inches Wingspan 14.25 inches
Vickers Wellington Mk.1A ‘R’ for Robert N2980 is the only known surviving Brooklands-built Wellington. First flown on 16/11/1939 by Vickers’ Chief Test Pilot ‘Mutt’ Summers, N2980 was first issued to 149 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall and allocated the squadron code letter ‘R’ for ‘Robert’. It took part in the infamous Heligoland Bight raid of 18/12/1939, during which over half of the force of twenty-two Wellingtons were shot down by German fighters. The same aeroplane later served with 37 Squadron at RAF Feltwell, taking part in fourteen operations including day and night raids.
On 31/12/1940, while on a training flight over Scotland with 20 Operational Training Unit at RAF Lossiemouth, N2980 developed engine trouble and ditched in Loch Ness. All eight men on board escaped, but the rear gunner unfortunately died when his parachute failed to deploy.
In 1976 the Wellington was located in the Loch by a team of American Loch Ness Monster hunters and was successfully salvaged on 21/9/85 by the Loch Ness Wellington Association assisted by the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Despite nearly forty-five years underwater, the aeroplane was remarkably well preserved. The tail lights still worked when connected to a modern battery and many of the crew’s personal effects remained in the fuselage.
Delivered to Brooklands Museum by British Aerospace on 27/9/85, N2980 is now one of only two surviving Wellingtons but is the only one which saw action as a bomber in operational service.
Designed to meet a Ministry specification for a two-engine bomber, the Wellington was first flown on June 15th, 1936. Used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, the Wellington defended itself with machine guns: two in the front turret, four in the rear turret and an additional two in beam positions. Later in the war, the Wellington served as maritime patrol, anti-submarine. Equipped with radar and used as an Early Warning and Control aircraft.