For one day only, two First World War bi-planes will be showcased in the heart of Leeds city centre next week as part of a special exhibition.
In what promises to be a unique event, an RAF built example of a 1914 BE2c fighter and a recently restored replica 1917 PV8 Eastchurch Kitten from the Yorkshire Air Museum Collection at Elvington will be displayed on Victoria Gardens outside Leeds Art Gallery on Wednesday 21 May from 8.30am until 6pm. Included throughout the day, will be the opportunity for visitors to hear sounds not heard for almost 100 years, as a live engine run of the Eastchurch Kitten is set to take place on the hour.
Set to feature in the exhibition are live re-enactors representing men and women who fought through the war, and they will be on hand to talk to visitors, passers-by and school children throughout the event.
The 1914 BE2c fighters were part of the first three Royal Flying Corps Squadrons sent to France at the outbreak of the war. Many of the aircraft were built under licence by the Blackburn Aircraft Company in Leeds and the plane exhibited outside the art gallery will carry the famous 1914 Blackburn Logo. The 1917 PV78 Eastchurch Kitten was a very tiny aircraft, intended to be launched from ships in the English Channel to intercept Zeppelin airships making their way to British town and cities. Only one Eastchurch Kitten was ever built, and it was later withdrawn as its design was not considered suitable.
This display will form part of the city’s centenary commemoration of the First World War, which began in August 1914.
For more information on Leeds Museums and Galleries First World War Programme, please see: www.leeds.gov.uk/ww1heritage