There seem to be plenty of haunted houses around these Spooky Isles, but it is not often we come across a haunted aeroplane.  RAF Cosford near Telford in Shropshire has a museum boasting a large collection of aircraft.  One of these is the haunted Avro Lincoln bomber bearing the serial number RF398.  PHILIP DAVIES dons his flying gear to take a closer look.

Learning to Fly

Before I go too much further, I have to admit, there is no real reason for the bomber to be haunted.  It may have been built during World War II but it didn’t actually enter service until after The War had finished. It was flown for just over 11 years and saw only limited combat use. Certainly there are no reports of anyone having been killed whilst in the aircraft and yet somehow it still seems to have attracted the attention of something.

Fly me to the moon

The first report of ghostly activity around the plane was in 1979 when two engineers who were working late restoring it reported seeing a figure approach them and then disappear before their eyes. Needless to say they swiftly packed up and left.  The next morning they returned and found aircraft parts on the floor underneath it.  The engineers swore they had tidied up and that they had been the last to leave the hangar and were the first to enter it again the next day.
In 1980 whilst the hangar was being closed down for the night, a member of staff saw a figure moving around near the old aircraft.  They immediately switched on the lights expecting to catch the intruder only to find nothing.  Although feeling unsettled they turned the lights back off again only for the shadow to reappear.
Later this same week a mechanic working on the plane was fishing around for a spanner he needed, only to have it thrust into his hand.  He looked around to thank the helpful individual but found that no-one was nearby.
Since then there have been numerous sightings of a fair haired airman both in and around the aircraft. He has been seen sat in the cockpit dressed in flying outfit or stood around inspecting the bomber.  Every time someone approaches him he appears not to hear them and mysteriously vanishes.

Flying Without Wings

Perhaps the most incredible encounter was that of an electrician who fell from his station fifteen feet in the air.   By all accounts he was an unlucky chap who had previously hurt his back in a similar fall.  This time he fully expected that the fall would be the end of him.  However, rather than plummet to the ground he told everyone how he floated to a stop ‘As if some invisible force had prevented his fall’.
Such a variety of hauntings is sure to attract the attention of paranormal investigators and this is exactly what happened in 1987 when members of the Chesterfield Paranormal Research Group set up a tape recorder inside the Lincoln.  They returned 40 minutes later to find the tape had been removed and tape unspooled around the area.  Over the next four years they recorded numerous odd sounds coming from in and around the cockpit of the haunted plane.

One Day I’ll Fly Away

Although nobody knows who or what the phantom is, there has been some speculation that it might be the ghost of Master Pilot Major Hiller.  Hiller was extremely fond of the Avro Lincoln and promised to ‘haunt this baby’ after he took it for its last flight in 1963.  As is often the way with promises like, this Hiller was killed soon afterwards in a plane crash near that happened near Cosford.
So is the phantom the restless spirit of Major Hiller who is keeping his promise, or is it somebody, or something else?   Whoever, or whatever it is, it appears to be friendly; saving the life of one electrician and helping out the mechanics working on restoring this beloved plane to its former glory.  Unfortunately we’ll probably never know as RAF Cosford have not allowed any paranormal investigations on or near the plane for some years now, and so aircraft number RF398 remains shrouded in mystery, offering more questions than answers

Philip Davies
Leave a replyComments (1)
  1. Ian Jackson 24 June 2018 at 10:54 pm

    err no no and no again.
    I used to work on this aircraft whilst in the RAF training to be an air photographer at the joint school of photography or JSOP at Cosford (now called DSOP) and was the mechanic involved in the spanner incident which is told incorrectly in this article the real story as it was meant to be told was that while I was working on the rear gun turret I placed a spanner on the floor of the aircraft just behind myself as I sat in the turret. the spanner then went missing and a search of the immediate area failed to turn up the spanner. since after several hours the search came up negative the loss of the spanner was recorded in the log book for the aircraft known as the F700. several weeks later and some 30ft further forward of the gun turret and just forward of the main wing spar I was working in the radio operators compartment where there was a small bed like bench that covered where the oxygen bottles where stored, after removing the bench I discovered the missing spanner which I identified by the serial number that is marked on all tools used for aircraft maintenance. this story was meant to impress a young 18 year old lad but since I failed to mention the story to anyone. so the museum full time staff eventually told the press the story. however some time later it transpired that this was a story concocted to prevent the aircraft being moved to the Manchester science museum to be used to showcase the Avro connection with Manchester. this part succeeded since the science museum eventually obtained an Avro Shackleton strangely enough when I finished my training I was posted to RAF Lossiemouth where 8 sqn who flew Avro Shackleton’s were based and I believe I also worked on the plane that went to the Science museum in Manchester

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