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Barracuda Live: The Big Rebuild

See conservation in action as we bring an extinct aircraft back to life! 

Not a single complete Barracuda aircraft exists in the world today. Their legend will live on with Barracuda Live: The Big Rebuild as the Barracuda DP872 is reconstructed in our new Arthur Kimberley Viewing Gallery. 

Come and be blown away by the incredible story of the Barracuda and Fleet Air Arm Museum’s 50-year journey to rebuild the aircraft. This remarkable project has been underway since the 1970s. Led by the Fleet Air Arm Museum, their ambitious mission is to reconstruct a complete (non-flying) Barracuda aircraft.

Piece by piece, a passionate team has been gathering parts from wreck sites, with permission from the Ministry of Defence, across the British Isles. Their unwavering commitment is driven by a desire to not just preserve the aircraft but also to honour the courageous individuals who built, flew, and maintained them. It's been eight decades since the Fairey Barracuda was last seen in its entirety but that is set to change as the Fleet Air Arm Museum unveils Barracuda Live: The Big Rebuild.

History of the Barracuda 

The Fairey Barracuda was the Fleet Air Arm’s first all-metal, monoplane, torpedo-bomber, replacing the Fairey Swordfish and Albacore in this role. More than 2500 Fairey Barracuda aircraft were delivered to the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, making it one of the most widely used by the Royal Navy at that time. They operated from aircraft carriers in all theatres of war and played a major part in attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz.

Unlike some of its better known counterparts there is not a single intact Barracuda remaining today. This makes the work of Barracuda Live: The Big Rebuild all the more important to preserve this part of aviation history. Visitors to the exhibition can delve deep into details about the technical build of the Barracuda aircraft in the Arthur Kimberley Viewing Gallery, where they can discover more about science and archaeology behind the wrecks and airframe of Barracuda DP872 and unlock the secrets and stories of the brave crew, including Arthur Kimberley. 

Join us on this incredible journey of remembrance and discovery 

The Arthur Kimberley Viewing Gallery will open from Friday 22nd September. The exhibition is included with a valid Museum ticket. 

Support Barracuda Live: The Big Rebuild

Find out how you can support the National Museum of the Royal Navy on our 10 year mission to restore the Barracuda DP872.

Donate now

Who was Arthur Kimberley

The arena is named in honour of the intrepid Arthur Kimberley, who sadly died in action during the Second World War, aged 20.

Kimberley was a Telegraphist Air Gunner who flew in Barracuda Aircraft attached to 827 Naval Air Squadron during Arctic Convoy duties. In July 1944, he was part of the attack against the German battleship Tirpitz. This heroic act, in a remote Norwegian fjord, kept the Tirpitz immobilised for the rest of the war.

Tragically, Kimberley lost his life during an anti-submarine patrol amid treacherous North Sea weather conditions when his aircraft vanished without a trace after take-off.

It is thanks to the generosity of the Burge family that visitors to witness the remarkable work carried out by the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s conservation team as they rebuild the world's only Fairey Barracuda.

Arthur Kimberley course photo dated 1942

Arthur Kimberley course photograph taken in 1942 - Credit NMRN. Kimberley can be seen on the top row, 6th in from the right.  

Hanger with aircraft

Discover more at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Entry to Barracuda Live: The Big Rebuild is included with a standard ticket to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.