The Hardwick Wimpy
One of our larger exhibits, now carefully cleaned and preserved within our museum, is a Bristol Hercules engine recovered from the wreck of the Vickers Wellington bomber which crashed tragically at Hardwick, just 2 miles from the Aerodrome.
The Hercules is a 14 cylinder 1600 horsepower double row radial. Two of these engines powered the Wellington, and it was a catastrophic fire in the engine that resulted in this particular aircraft's loss.
Whilst flying with 26 Operational Training Unit based at RAF Wing near Leighton Buzzard in Buckinghamshire during March 1944, this Wellington was en route to the Otmore bombing ranges when the fire broke out. Signs of the fire are still visible on the rear section of the engine.
Unfortunately the entire crew were killed in the crash, which took place within sight of the aerodrome where so many Wellingtons had been completed and test-flown.