Spitfires in Bahrain

Five vintage aircraft are currently on display in Bahrain

Bahrain and Britain have been allies a long time. As we celebrate their 200 years of friendship, with a
year-long programme of events in both countries, the Bahrain National Museum is also paying homage to the aviation heritage between the two island nations with Spitfire at the Exhibition. It showcases some of the world’s most iconic aircraft, including these five...

Supermarine Spitfire
The centrepiece of the exhibition is arguably the most famous fighter aircraft in history. Now on loan from the RAF Museum, the aircraft originally defended the skies during the Second World War. The Gulf Fighter Fund, which included Bahrain, financed the purchase of 11 Spitfires to aid the war effort. Six of them were named Bahrain.

The Anson
This is a British twin-engined aircraft that was designed and built in the North West of England, by Avro. Back in 1950, it was this aircraft that was used to establish the Gulf Aviation Company, which today is known as Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national airline.

The Blackburn Buccaneer
Originating in the early 1950s, this aircraft was designed and built in the UK’s Brough, a factory that also built a fleet of Hawk training aircraft 40 years later. In Bahrain, you would have found the Blackburn Buccaneer stationed at RAF Muharraq.

Forty years ago, on January 21, 1976, Concorde flew at 22 miles a minute, for the first-ever time, from London Heathrow to Bahrain, taking only three hours and 17 minutes. It marked the world’s first supersonic commercial flight.

The Vickers VC-10
This long-range British airliner was used for commercial flights into Bahrain by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (now British Airways) from 1964 and then by Gulf Air in the 1970s. In 1991, more were deployed here for the First Gulf War.

Spitfire at the Museum runs until October 23. Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche, www.culture.gov.bh (17 298 718).

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