In the dark days of the Second World War the German Luftwaffe sent wave after wave of Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters up against the RAF.
Only 28 of those aircraft remain – and one of them has now gone on display at the RAF Museum Cosford.
But the plane is no stranger to museums – it spent more than 20 years suspended from the ceiling of the Imperial War Museum in London.
Clare Carr, RAF Museum Cosford assistant curator, said: “Anything German and World War Two is a rare aircraft, so it’s just wonderful we can have it here in Shropshire. As an aircraft, it was so prolific and so successful during the war, but is now so scarce. To have one here, and one with such a unique history, is so exciting.”
Cosford’s new exhibit is a unique survivor of a German Mistel combination, where a small fighter plane would be mounted on top of a bomber, such as the Junkers Ju 88.
It was used to train pilots in Denmark, where it was surrendered in Denmark in May 1945, and then flown to Germany, still joined to the Junkers.
In Germany it was split from the bomber and both were due to be transported to Britain for examination. But the Ju 88 half never reached the UK, and it is assumed it was scrapped.
Ms Carr added: “It has been displayed in the Imperial War Museum for many years and during their redevelopment it has been brought to our conservation area here in Cosford, but the opportunity for us to have it on display was so great we made room for it.
The aircraft spent several years on display at RAF Cranwell before a short period in storage at RAF Biggin Hill. In 1986 it went on loan to Imperial War Museum Duxford where it was given corrosion treatment and had its paint restored.
Four years later, it was moved to Imperial War Museum South Lambeth where it remained until last December when it came to Cosford for some maintenance, before finally going on show on Monday where it is now set to be a permanent display.