Page last updated at 18:50 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 19:50 UK

Rare WWII fighter to be restored

Boulton Paul Defiant WWII fighter
The Boulton Paul Defiant WWII fighter is being restored in Medway

The last remaining example of a Boulton Paul Defiant WWII fighter has arrived in Medway to be restored by experts.

The aircraft, which has not flown since the war, was built in 1938 and was one of 1,200 to be constructed.

It flew for just 15 hours after its first patrol but was mothballed because of a lack of frontal firepower which was exploited by German pilots.

Medway Aircraft Preservation Society (Maps) said it would be restoring the WWII fighter for the RAF Museum London.

Lewis Deal, from Maps, said: "When you're dealing with the only surviving example of this particular aircraft in the world, obviously it's a bit nerve wracking whilst you're loading and unloading.

"But we're looking forward to the next two years when we're restoring the aircraft."

We do what we do for love and the members give their time and labour free of charge
Malcolm Moulton

Tim Wallis, RAF Museum conservation manager, said corrosion had already set in on the cockpit canopy, even though the fighter was hardly used.

He said: "They were never built to be placed in to museums - they were built as a fighting machine within the war effort.

"Quite often the life of the aircraft was nothing like 15 hours."

The restoration will be carried out in Rochester by volunteers, Maps chairman Malcolm Moulton said.

He said: "We do what we do for love and the members give their time and labour free of charge.

"That of course is the most valuable thing that we can offer because we bring in an aircraft that may be worth very little, and turn it back worth in the order of a million pounds."

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