Spitfire from Santa: a gift that really takes-off!

November 30th, 2021

RAF Museum Xmas Gifts

This Christmas, give your loved ones a gift with a great story! Adopt an Artefact from the Royal Air Force Museum and choose from more than 60 historic objects, to select a unique gift for the hard to buy for individual who has everything! Your adoption will support the preservation, conservation, educational and storytelling work of the RAF Museum far beyond gift exchanges on Christmas day.

Whether that’s a uniform or medal bar, a personnel’s lucky mascot or escape and evasion items, there is a wide range of unusual objects to choose from, each with their own incredible story to tell. The artefact adoption process is quick and simple, browse the objects available and order your adoption pack online at rafmuseum.org.

Give the gift of adoption and make your money go a little further by supporting a charity. These alternative gifts are not something you see in your average Christmas stocking, where else can you adopt the most famous and iconic aircraft in history!

The Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb adoption is guaranteed to wow any aviation fan on Christmas morning! One hundred and forty RAF squadrons operated the type and it served on all battlefronts including gunfire support for naval units on the D-Day beaches of Normandy. This legend of the sky is sure to make your gift a hard one to beat!

If you’re in need of a little festive inspiration take a look at the Christmas Gift Box. No Christmas is complete without a flashing red nose! These items are from a Christmas Gift Box sent to RAF personnel serving in Iraq in 2004. An idea created by Princess Mary in 1914 to send every serving member of the UK armed forces a special gift at Christmas. A thoughtful gift to send someone you can’t be with on Christmas day.

Or how about adopting one of the Museums most famous and treasured artefacts, Percy the Penguin. Flight Lieutenant Stan Chapman was the bomb aimer in Halifax HX333 ‘J Jane’ which was hit by flak over Berlin on 29 January 1944. ‘J Jane’ was badly damaged and, tucking his lucky mascot Percy the Penguin inside his flying jacket, Stan bailed out. Percy was confiscated when Stan was taken prisoner but was later returned by his captors. Percy and Stan returned home together when the war ended. This brave and adorable penguin is now enjoying a well-earned rest at the Museum’s Cosford site.

If your Christmas day tradition includes hours of playing games with family, our Playing Cards with Hidden Maps would make the ideal adoption for the one who always finds a sneaky way to win! Used by RAF prisoners of war in Germany during the Second World War, playing cards were often used to smuggle maps into prison camps. Unsurprisingly, these cards have been one of the most popular adoptions since the programme launched last year.

Inspire the next generation of pioneers by adopting the Amy Johnson Fabric Doll. Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930. If you look closely on her sash, you will see some of the record-breaking flights she went on to perform. The perfect adoption for any budding pilot or record breaker!

Those adopting an artefact in the run up to Christmas will receive a Christmas card and the option to add a bespoke RAF Museum gift for just £7.50. Choose from a Tally ho-ho-ho tea towel, Christmas mug, Festive fudge, Seasonal shortbread, or Festive tote bag. All adoptions with the additional gift placed by the 20 December are guaranteed to arrive in time for you to present your loved one with their card and gift on Christmas Day.

Make your gift stand out this year. Adopt an Artefact in the name of someone you love, and know that your gift will keep on giving, as support from adoptees will help the Museum to continue sharing the RAF Story.

Starting at £25.00, adoptions last for 12 months starting from 25 December. All adoptees will receive a digital adoption certificate and photo of their adopted artefact, along with exclusive updates and information on your chosen object throughout the year. Recognition of your adoption will feature alongside the object on the Museum’s Collections Online, where you can add a dedicated message along with the name of adoptee. For more details on how to Adopt an Artefact and to browse the items available, visit www.rafmuseum.org.

The RAF Museum will be open throughout the Christmas period, except 24-26 December and 1 January. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Aircraft rolled out for another Photography Night Shoot

September 30th, 2021

RAF Museum Albatross

Date: 19 November / Time: 5.00pm to 9.00pm / Cost: £45 per person (over 16s only)

The RAF Museum London has teamed up with Threshold Aero to offer an exclusive evening shoot with our fantastic collection of First World War Aircraft.

Two of our aircraft and a vehicle will be coming out of their Hangar to be photographed, like never before. Our Albatros, R.E.8. and Crossley Tender will sit proudly outside the Hangar doors of the Grahame White Factory for this unique photographic opportunity. The backdrop for your photographs will be the historic Hangar doors of the Hangar which dates to 1912.

Each aircraft will be lit up with professional LED lighting with Auto White Balance. This will give you the opportunity to capture shots of the aircraft in their Museum setting, showcased like never before and without the public in your shots. Our small team of Living History volunteers will be posing for special shots that will make your photos come to life.

Other aircraft inside the Hangar will be lit with LED lighting and have the barriers removed (where possible) for shots in their Museum setting, but without visiting public.

The Night Shoot will start at 5.30pm, following a short safety briefing to ensure that you get the most out of the experience. You can also book a hot meal in advance with your ticket. You can choose from a soft or alcoholic drink with your meal when you purchase your ticket. Hot food is only available when booked in advance and the food will be served between 4.00pm and 6.00pm

The event is suitable for all abilities, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to enjoy the event. A team from Threshold Aero will be on hand throughout the evening to provide assistance and guidance if required. Please read our full terms and conditions before booking, this event is highly dependant on weather conditions due to the delicate nature of the aircraft.

https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/

Aircraft rolled out for Photography Night Shoot

September 27th, 2021

RAF Museum Cosford VC10

Date: 26-27 November / Time: 5.00pm to 9.00pm / Cost: £40 per person (over 16s only)

Aircraft will be rolled out of the hangars at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford in November for an exclusive Photography Night Shoot event, where the planes will be the inspiration for the photos. Whether you’re an amateur with the camera, or an avid photographer, the after-hours event is suitable for anyone looking to advance their skills and enjoy exclusive access to the Museum’s aircraft.

Taking place on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 November, 150 places are available per evening and tickets are selling fast! The Photography Night Shoot event offers attendees the opportunity to capture stand-alone photos of the aircraft, outside of the hangars and beautifully lit against a backdrop of the night sky.

Aircraft from the Museum’s collection will be illuminated with LED lighting, and are guaranteed to provide a spectacular photo opportunity. Aircraft from the Test Flight hangar, including the British Aerospace Experimental Aircraft Programme EAP, SEPECAT Jaguar ACT Demonstrator, and the Saunders-Roe SR 53 will be displayed outside exclusively for the night shoot, allowing photographers to take unobstructed images. The Vickers VC10 C1K and the Hawker Siddeley Dominie T.Mk.1 displayed within the Museum grounds will also be illuminated for the event.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Manager, Ulrike Stuebner said:
‘We’re really looking forward to showcasing the aircraft in a completely different light and seeing the incredible images people capture. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to enjoy the Night Shoot event, it’s suitable for all abilities and we have experts on hand to offer advice if needed.’

The Museum has teamed up with Threshold Aero, specialists in aviation night shoot photography to deliver the event which commences at 5.00pm both evenings. Photographers can snap away taking photos of each aircraft after dark, up until 9pm when the event closes. Tickets cost £40 per person (over 16s only).

If you’re still getting to grips with using a camera, book your place on the Beginners Workshop and brush up on your skills in this two-hour afternoon course prior to the Night Shoot on the Saturday. Ideal for individuals who are new to photography, enjoy the Beginners Workshop and Night Shoot for just £65 per person. Delivered by Lee Chapman of Chappers Photography, an experienced aviation photographer and fully qualified lecturer in adult education, participants will learn some useful tips in a 1-hour seminar, before putting their new-found skills to the test in a guided walk around the specially lit exhibits. The instructor will be on hand throughout the evening to ensure that you refine your photography skills and leave with a set of images you can be proud of.

The Airfield Kitchen in the Visitor Centre will be open throughout the evening serving hot and cold drinks and light refreshments. Fish and Chips and Cheese and Onion Pie are also on the menu, pre-order your dinner when purchasing tickets, and receive a complimentary hot drink!

Tickets to the Photography Night Shoot event are now available to purchase in advance via the Museum website and cost £40 per person (including onsite parking), or £65 per person with the addition of the Beginners Workshop. Ticket holders must be aged 16 years and over. Visit http://www.rafmuseum.org/cosford for more details.

Autumn 1940s Weekend at Newark Air Museum

September 24th, 2021

1940s weekend at Newark Air Museum

Autumn 1940s Weekend
2 & 3, October 2021 …
… is fast approaching at Newark Air Museum

On Newark Air Museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire; close to the border with Lincolnshire preparations are well in hand for the 1940s Weekend event, which takes place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd October, 2021. This two-day event has been organised to commemorate various aspects of the 1940s at what is part of the former RAF Winthorpe airfield site that was a World War II training base.

In the Dig For Victory Garden near the Anderson Shelter the produce has already been harvested and some preserves may be used to feed the volunteers who will be looking after the World War II ROC (Royal Observer Corps) that will be completed last year.

All around the museum’s extensive site, which will be developing a distinctive 1940s feel, the final display positions for visiting displays / groups are being set out; both under cover and outside. These displays include: vintage vehicles (cars and military vehicles; local history groups; variety of themed wartime trade stalls; and will feature regular performances during the weekend by local 1940s style vocalist, Sarah-Jane.

The museum wants to encourage as many visitors as possible to enter into the ‘1940s spirit’ by attending in period costume. Such participants will be admitted at a discounted admission rate if they just turn up on the day. This year we will once again have a strong emphasis on the re-enactors and promenarders wearing their winter clothing.

For members of the general public normal museum admission rates apply and full listing details about the events can be found on the Museum Events page of the museum website at www.newarkairmuseum.org

Pass on something wonderful

August 26th, 2021

RAF Museum - Remember a Charity 2021

This year’s Remember A Charity Week (6-12 September), the Royal Air Force Museum is offering a free Will writing service for supporters who wish to leave a gift to the Museum in their Will.

After taking care of your family and friends, even a small legacy donation can make a huge impact, assisting the Museum, a registered charity, in its vision of inspiring future generations with the RAF story.

No matter how big or small your gift is, supporters can access free advice and a Will writing service through the Museum’s partnership with Bequeathed, an accredited legal firm.

Charities and museums underpin so much of community life in the UK and bring people together. Now more than ever, the RAF Museum is relying on gifts in Wills from supporters to help conserve the nations RAF heritage.

The last 18 months have prompted many of us to reflect on the things that matter the most – family, friends, and the causes close to our hearts. We’ve also been reminded of the value of planning for the future, to help look after the things we care about most.

Aimee Pitchford, Legacy Manager at the RAF Museum says:
‘Remember A Charity Week, from 6 to 12 September, is the perfect opportunity to consider passing on something wonderful by leaving a gift in your Will. By leaving a gift in your Will to the Royal Air Force Museum, your gift can reflect your own interests and passions, inspiring others through our collections and exhibitions as we continue to inspire everyone with the RAF story, the people who shape it and its place in our lives.’

The RAF has been responsible for some of the greatest stories ever told…not just of the heroism of the Battle of Britain that took place over the skies of Britain 80 years ago, but also of the RAF today. Underpinning these stories is a collection of more than 1.3 million objects, ranging in size from aircraft to lapel badges, and spanning more than a century of aviation history.

If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift to the RAF Museum in your Will, please visit www.rafmuseum.org.

#RememberACharityWeek

A week to go until Cockpit-Fest 21 at Newark Air Museum

August 21st, 2021

Newark Lightning

Preparations for the 2021 Cockpit-Fest are well underway at Newark Air Museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire; close to the border with Lincolnshire. Newark Air Museum is a registered charity located on part of the former site of RAF Winthorpe; this year’s three-day Cockpit-Fest event is one of our first since the recent enforced Covid closures.

This will be the twenty first (21st) time that like-minded enthusiasts have displayed their aircraft cockpit sections at the museum. Cockpit-Fest has become a fixture on the aviation calendar and each year attracts many visiting cockpits and associated displays. Cockpit-Fest allows the owners the chance to display their prized exhibits to their fellow enthusiasts and the general public.

At this year’s event a diverse range of aviation will be represented; this includes a range of military jet cockpits and perhaps most notably this time a cockpit from a once famous Balderton landmark will be on display at the event.

The museum trustees are pleased to confirm that the Lightning F2A cockpit from XN728 – “The A1 Lightning” is being displayed in the UK for the first time, after it was saved by enthusiasts from a Newark scrapyard several years ago. Visitors to the event will get the chance to get close up to this much talked about local landmark.

Cockpit-Fest 2021takes place on Saturday 28th, Sunday 29th and Monday 30th August; and the event is being staged around the museum’s 16-acre site, alongside an Aeroboot / Aerojumble aviation and avionics sale. Here enthusiasts and the public can search out those aviation artefacts, books and models.

The event is supported by a range of organisations and individuals; with the visitors being encouraged to have a say in deciding, which is the best cockpit by voting on their favourite display and from these results, prizes are awarded.

Cockpit-Fest also attracts other visiting displays like local history / military vehicle groups; re-enactors; and even more aviation related displays such as clothing and historical artefacts.

Full details about the events and a full list of visiting cockpits and displays can be found on the Museum Events page of the museum website at www.newarkairmuseum.org

Fourteen Spitfires will take to the skies at IWM Duxford’s 1940s inspired Battle of Britain Air Show

August 18th, 2021

Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow

It’s time to practice your lindy hops and dust off your tweed jackets as IWM Duxford’s Battle of Britain Air Show returns on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September, transporting visitors back to the summer of 1940 as the historic airfield prepares for a weekend of vintage showground entertainment and historic flying displays.

Following a successful return to Air Shows in July, IWM Duxford is thrilled to welcome visitors back for its final Air Show of the season which will see the historic site transformed with living history groups, 1940s music and dancing and plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. The Battle of Britain Air Show will also see a spectacular array of aircraft take to the skies, including The RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial flight. They will open the show’s packed flying programme with a Spitfire, Hurricane, and one of only two airworthy Avro Lancaster bombers remaining in the world. Air displays throughout the day will showcase the best of Second World War aviation with plenty more Spitfires as well as seaplanes, and Thunderbolts. Also featuring are the Great War Display Team who will be performing a choreographed dogfight with authentic First World War aircraft.

The showground will offer no shortage of entertainment including, for the first time, a vintage fairground complete with a carousel and ferris wheel, jazz and big band sounds from The Debonaires and 1940s classic songs from the cover act, Perfect Vintage. There will also be the chance to dance the lindy hop or try your hand at a swing dance and be sure to say hello to living history re-enactment groups, including Spirit of Britain who will portray the life and roles of 19 Squadron, based at RAF Duxford during the Battle of Britain. Explore static aircraft inside and up close and meet both current and former pilots to hear their stories of life in the air.

All IWM Duxford hangars and exhibitions will be open throughout the weekend including the recently opened Ops Block, an audio-visual experience that captures how men and women defended Britain from Luftwaffe attacks in the former nerve centre of RAF Duxford during the Battle of Britain. With the stories of real people who served here alongside their uniforms, keepsakes, and testimonies, the Ops Block links the personal to the extraordinary feats in the sky.

IWM Air Show Event Manager, Phil Hood, said “The Battle of Britain Air Show is always a very special event at IWM Duxford given the important role the site played during this pivotal moment in the Second World War. We also get to pay homage to the iconic Spitfire, an aircraft with a very close association to Duxford as the first station to receive it in 1939 and seeing fourteen of these warbirds close out the Air Show is guaranteed to be a spectacular site. It has been great to welcome visitors back to our Air Shows this year and we are thrilled to be able to increase the capacity to this event, allowing even more people to enjoy our air displays and showground entertainment.”

IWM will be asking that ticket holders over the age of 18 produce evidence (in line with an NHS Covid Pass) of either a negative Covid-19 test result or proof they have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccination. Please refer to the website for full details regarding entry requirements and other measures we will be keeping in place to keep everyone safe at this event.

Tickets to the Battle of Britain Air Show are available to purchase now at: Tickets | Imperial War Museums (iwm.org.uk)

Prices: Adult £42.50 / Children 5-15 £14.25 / Children under 5 and carers free

Runway race returns on bank holiday weekend

August 12th, 2021

RAF Museum Spitfire 10K

Date: 29 August 2021 / Time: 10.00am / Cost: Standard entry £22.50 / Register: www.rafmuseum.org/cosford

The annual Spitfire 10K will return to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford this August bank holiday weekend, with exclusive access to the airfield at RAF Cosford for up to 1,500 participants. Taking place on Sunday 29 August, the 10-kilometer race will take-off with a loop around the Museum and includes a sprint up and down the runway, finishing with a huge spinning Spitfire 10K medal!

It will be ready, steady…..scramble at 10.00am sharp as the race begins with a dash around the Museum grounds, passing by iconic aircraft including the VC10, Hercules and Nimrod, before runners make their way onto the airfield at RAF Cosford. Participants will enjoy a scenic route around the military airfield, taking them past several historic landmarks along the way including wartime hangars, an air traffic control tower and of course, the race wouldn’t be complete without a sprint down the runway! Then it’s back onto the Museum site to cross the finish line where runners will be rewarded with a highly sought-after bespoke 2021 Spitfire 10K medal, a perfect and well-earned memento of their day.

The Spitfire 10K is held in memory of RAF Battle of Britain personnel. All runners will each receive a roll of honour card containing the name of a Battle of Britain pilot or crew member to wear with their race number, sharing the story of those who served in this pivotal aerial campaign with a new generation.

RAF Museum Public Events Manager, Ulrike Stuebner said:
‘It’s great to have the physical race back at the Museum this year. We received brilliant support and participation for the virtual race in 2020, but there is nothing like the thrill of running down the runway on an active RAF base, it’s such a unique experience.

We are well known for our brilliant Spitfire 10K race day medals, and this year’s design will not disappoint. We are keeping it under wraps until the end of the race, but I can confirm it includes our notorious spinning element, and there is still time for people to sign up and get their hands on one!

One of the most popular elements of the race is the Roll of Honour cards. It’s wonderful to see runners researching the incredible life of ‘their’ pilot or crew member and sharing these stories with family, friends and even on social media. We encourage people to get involved and keep their memory alive, sharing RAF stories is what the Museum is all about.’

The Spitfire 10K is a UK Athletics licensed race and a great event for keen runners, achieving a personal best is aided by the flat airfield terrain. But for those who just want to have fun, why not get into the spirit of the Spitfire 10K by dressing in wartime attire – don your victory curls or flying jacket and run this event in style! If you’re aged 15 and over why not give it a go? Whether you’ve been entering races for years, or you’re just getting into running, the RAF Museum’s Spitfire 10K is guaranteed to be fun and memorable.

Friends and family are invited to cheer on their loved ones and show their support on the day at the start and finish line. Following the race, visitors have the bonus of being able to enjoy time wondering round the free Museum, where they will find a world class collection of aircraft and artefacts on display, including the world’s oldest Spitfire.

To take part in this unique racing experience, register online at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford. Entry to the Spitfire 10K costs £22.50 per person, or £20.50 per person for Armed Forces Personnel and members of UK Athletics affiliated clubs. 2021 Spitfire 10K technical running t-shirts and vests are also available to purchase in advance and on race day (subject to availability).

Or pledge to raise £80 and receive your race day t-shirt for free. Help us honour those who defended our skies during the Battle of Britain by fundraising for the RAF Museum. Support for this event enables the RAF Museum, a registered charity, to tell the inspiring stories of RAF personnel, just like The Few – the courageous Battle of Britain Pilots and Crew who fought in the skies above Britain in 1940. Select the sponsorship option when signing up online.

If you can’t make it to Cosford for race day, why not sign up for the Virtual Spitfire 10K which launches on the bank holiday weekend and runners have until Battle of Britain day on the 15 September, to complete the challenge. The virtual race allows you to tailor the racing experience to fit your schedule and ability. You can take part in real time with other runners at 10.00am on race day, or if running 10K is not for you, why not split the distance into a few runs, a long walk, row, or a cycle. Runners from all over the UK, and across the world can take part, running in honour of a Battle of Britain pilot while supporting the RAF Museum. Further details on the virtual event can be found online at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

The Museum is open daily from 10.00am and admission is free, simply pre-book your arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford. Then it’s chocks away as you explore the Museum’s vast collection of aircraft, vehicles, artefacts and the fascinating story of the RAF!

Schools win place on aerospace residential

July 21st, 2021

Students with a passion for STEM subjects have taken part in a six-part online STEM mission, competing against teams from other schools across the UK, in a bid to secure their place on the Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme.

Delivered by the Royal Air Force Museum, in partnership with Northrop Grumman in the UK, the STAAR programme offers students the opportunity to experience the excitement of the aerospace industry first-hand. Hundreds of Year 9 students took part, and the six winning schools who most successfully met the overall mission objectives across each of the six challenges, will now enjoy a two-day residential educational and vocational experience at RAF Cosford, when they return to school after the summer holidays.

With more than 32 schools taking part, the winning teams are:

• John Hampden Grammar School
• Denmark Road High School
• Madeley Academy
• Barnwell School
• Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School
• King Edward VI Handsworth Girls School

Julie Brierley, Head of Access and Learning at RAF Museum Cosford said:
‘We were blown away with the interest we received from schools across the country, with over 520 students participating. Schools from as far north as Glasgow, to the far corners of Cornwall took part, along with schools throughout the Midlands and London. We hope it’s been an enjoyable and educational insight into the exciting world of aerospace, and we look forward to welcoming the winning schools to Cosford later this year for their STAAR residential experience.’

To secure their place on the STAAR residential, students had to successfully complete a series of STEM challenges based on a mock mission. Entries were judged by a panel of experts from the Royal Air Force and the aerospace industry, with Air Marshal Knighton overseeing the final selection.

Teams were tasked with designing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), detailing its capabilities, and then creating a 3D CAD model of their design. Teams had to demonstrate their problem-solving skills as they decrypted coded messages using various techniques, and plot routes to navigate their way through obstacles in a pathfinder’s task. In the final stages of their mission, students took part in aerial reconnaissance, assessing historical images and modern satellite images, before presenting their findings.

Air Marshal Knighton said:
‘I have been hugely impressed by the quality of the entries. The level of technical knowledge is remarkable, but the imagination on display is amazing. It has been a real privilege to judge this competition. I can’t thank the students and staff enough for their hard work.’

The students from each winning school will develop their skills further and complete phase two of their STAAR mission during the onsite residential at RAF Cosford in the autumn term. Students will get to participate in a range of activities, including programming drones to swarm.

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman UK, Europe and Middle East said:
“In 2021 we adapted the STAAR programme to deliver a challenging competition to even more young people than before. By bringing STEM subjects and their real-world applications to life we aim to provide inspiring opportunities to experience the careers that are available within the aerospace and defence industry. Congratulations to all the teams who took part, and we look forward to welcoming the winners to RAF Cosford for an amazing educational and vocational experience.”

The STAAR programme is fully funded (including travel, food and accommodation for the residential phase) by Northrop Grumman and is delivered in partnership with the RAF Museum and Tablet Academy, with the generous support of RAF Cosford and the RAF Youth and STEM Engagement Team.

For more information on the STAAR programme visit www.rafmuseum.org/STAAR.

Adoptions help keep the RAF Museum flying

July 19th, 2021

RAF Museum Fighter Fund

Within its first year, the Royal Air Force Museum’s Adopt an Artefact initiative has helped raise more than £65,000 to help keep the Museum flying, with over 200 adoptees supporting the Museum in one of the toughest years faced by visitor attractions.

‘Adopt an Artefact’ highlights a selection of iconic and unusual objects from the Museum collection which span more than a century of aviation and RAF history. It’s also a unique opportunity for everyone to be part of the RAF’s story while raising funds for the Museum.

To celebrate the first anniversary, the Museum is introducing five new objects for people to adopt, each with their own fascinating story to tell. The new objects joining the list of over 60 already available to adopt include a flying car, dog lead, RAF Cosford hospital tag, fighter fund card and even a toothbrush. These five new items have all been specially selected from the Museum’s collection of more than 1.3 million items and can be adopted online at rafmuseum.org.

The NEW Anniversary artefacts available for adoption include the Nylon Halex toothbrush. But this is no ordinary toothbrush and concealed within the handle is a small, magnetised compass swinger. This is an example of the work of Section 9 of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (MI9). One of MI9’s specialities was smuggling escape aids into prisoner of war camps in otherwise unremarkable looking objects. It’s the perfect adoption for any budding spies and can be spotted on display at the Museums London site.

The RAF Cosford Hospital Key Tag for the female nurses’ quarter is a poignant adoption for the medical staff who worked there. Opened in 1940 and housed in a series of inter-connected wooden huts, the RAF Cosford hospital treated more than 42,000 patients during the Second World War, including returning prisoners of war and burns victims. Following the war, the hospital’s remit was widened to include care for the local population, and thousands of military and civilian patients were treated at the hospital before its closure in 1977. Visitors to the Museums Cosford site can view the tag on display.

The sky’s the limit with Handley Page HP120 Flying Car adoption! Developed in 1950s when there was considerable interest in the concept of a flying car, this model was built for wind tunnel testing. Before building full-sized prototypes, designers often use large accurate models to observe the behaviour of proposed new aircraft under simulated flight conditions. Powered by a jet engine and fitted with folding wings and a moveable tail, this flying car concept never went beyond the wind tunnel model stage. Adoptees can view this unique item on display in London.

Calling all dog lovers…the heavy-duty Dog Lead used with patrol dogs at RAF Scampton in the 1970s is the perfect adoption for you. RAF police dogs have their own RAF service numbers and non-commissioned ranks. This sometimes means that the dog will outrank its handler! The RAF Police have used dogs in the protection of airfields and military installations since 1945. RAF police dogs are trained in two distinct roles, either patrol and guarding or as specialist search dogs. This object, which recognises the important contribution of service dogs, is proudly on display at Cosford.

The Fighter Fund Card of Honour now available for adoption is an example of the many Fighter Funds established in 1940 to raise the £5,000 required to purchase an RAF fighter aircraft which was then named after an individual, business, town or city. They enabled ordinary people to contribute to the war effort and brought communities and Allied counties together. Savings cards encouraged the public to donate a small but regular amount to a Fighter Fund. Stamps could be purchased for a penny and, on completion of the card, the owner was issued with a large Stamp of Honour. Eighty years on, you can help support the Museum’s public fund by adopting the Fighter Fund Card of Honour! Look out for this artefact next time you visit the Museums Cosford site.

Adopt online at www.rafmuseum.org, where you can discover more about the new artefacts and browse through more than 60 items up for adoption, including everything from a Red Arrows flying suit, to lucky mascots, and even a commemorative beer mat, there really is something for everyone! Adoptions can be made on an individual or corporate basis; join Mars and Chelsea FC by adopting one of our amazing aircraft!

Starting at £25.00, adoptions last 12 months from the date they are adopted. As recognition for their adoption, all adoptees will receive a digital adoption certificate and photo, exclusive updates, and the option to include a dedicated message along with the name of the adoptee alongside the object on Collections Online, the Museum’s digital collections system.

Abi Betteridge, Individual Giving Manager RAF Museum said:
‘Since we launched Adopt an Artefact last year, dedication messages from adoptees have continued to flood our web pages. We have seen many personal tributes to loved ones, like Twinkletoes the Cat who was adopted in memory of someone’s father, a wartime Hurricane pilot and cat lover. One of the more humorous dedications we have seen was for the Elsanol Chemical Toilet Fluid, it read ‘Lest we forget all the little underappreciated jobs that make the world go around’. There have also been messages of reflection, encouragement and support, it is very moving to read through them.

Adopting an artefact can help make a real difference to the services we continue to deliver. The money raised through adoptions could help fund places for students on our three-year engineering Apprenticeship in the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre, or provide our Access and Learning team additional members of staff, enabling them to deliver our amazing learning programme to even more learners.’

Edward Sharman, Head of Development RAF Museum, said:
‘As a result of the pandemic, the Museum has seen a reduction in our self-generated income of over £3m. By adopting one of our amazing objects in the collection, support from our adoptees is helping the Museum continue inspiring everyone with the RAF story. It is also a fantastic opportunity for individuals and organisations to be part of the RAF’s history and to receive something unique in return for their support. We hope adoptees have enjoyed being part of Adopt an Artefact and will consider continuing to support us and adopt for another year.’

All adoptees can view their adopted artefact during a visit to the Museum, where each object can be found on display at either the Museum’s Cosford or London site.

The Museum is open daily from 10.00am and admission is free, simply pre-book your arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford. Then it’s chocks away as you explore the Museum’s vast collection of aircraft, vehicles, artefacts and the fascinating story of the RAF!