The Imperial War Museum Duxford in the UK has an incredible aviation collection including areas where you can see conservation in action, bringing historic aircraft back to life. From a personal point of view I was pleased to see in the restoration area during my visit in June 2012 a Bristol Beaufighter that was formerly in the Royal Australian Air Force. The Beaufighter was a World War Two era heavy attack fighter that was fast (up to 515 kmph / 320 mph), heavily armed (4 x 20mm cannons, 4-6 machine guns, plus bombs and rockets) and very quiet at low-level, hence the nickname allegedly given to it by the Japanese “Whispering Death” (the sound thing is true, but the nickname was probably just great propaganda!).
Of nearly 6,000 Bristol Beaufighters produced around the world between 1940 to 1946 only 6 complete airframes are currently on display so this new restoration will be a welcome addition. An RAAF Beaufighter is a rare bird indeed with only 2 on display in Australia (of 364 built there between 1944-1945, plus British built variants operated by the RAAF between 1942-1944). There is an added highlight to the one at Duxford, they are restoring it to flight condition! What an Aussie Beaufighter was doing in the UK I do not know, but to hear it will fly some day was great news!
Both of the Beaufighters on display in Australia were actually built there. I have only seen the one at the Australian National Aviation Museum – Moorabbin Air Museum in Melbourne, Victoria. This is a DAP Mk.21 Beaufighter (A8-328 built by the Australian Department of Air Production i.e. DAP) which was built the day Japan surrendered in World War Two on August 15th, 1945 and served in the RAAF until 1956.