Newly digitised footage of 1969 Battle of Britain film to be screened at Duxford air show

September 12th, 2019

Prince William of Gloucester

• Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show will celebrate the history of cinema at IWM Duxford, 21-22 September
• Footage was filmed by and features a rare royal glimpse of Prince William of Gloucester, and will be screened on both air show days at 12.30pm and 3.45pm in the AirSpace Zone

 Imperial War Museums (IWM) has digitised and released rarely seen footage of the making of the 1969 Battle of Britain film, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Michael Caine classic and IWM Duxford’s annual Battle of Britain Air Show.

 The striking amateur footage was filmed by Prince William of Gloucester, who can also been seen inside the cockpit of a Spitfire on IWM Duxford’s airfield. A trained pilot, the prince was tragically killed in an air race in 1972.

 The unique behind-the-scenes footage of director Guy Hamilton’s 1969 film, which tells the story of the Allied victory over the Luftwaffe in 1940, shows the production crew preparing for the shoot including testing pyrotechnics. While filming part of the Eagle Day sequence at RAF Duxford, the crew deliberately exploded and destroyed one of the airfield’s First World War Air hangars.

 IWM Duxford, Britain’s best preserved Second World War airfield, has played a significant role in the history of filmmaking in Britain. This year’s Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show, which takes place 21-22 September at IWM Duxford, will celebrate the site’s place in cinema history – and will be screening Prince William of Gloucester’s amateur footage along with other classics over the two-day festival.

 Jane Fish, senior film curator at IWM, said: “The footage has rarely been seen outside of the family of Prince William of Gloucester, and so it’s wonderful to have been able to digitise it and make it accessible for people. It’s a really evocative glimpse into the making of Battle of Britain film, and you can even see the production team preparing special effects, including a small explosion on a bomber aircraft. The fact that it was filmed by Prince William of Gloucester gives the footage even more of a rich historical association.”

 The air show will include displays from an array of original Second World War aircraft, including P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts, and will culminate in a mass flypast of 18 Spitfires. Four Búchon fighter jets with Luftwaffe markings, which starred in the 1969 Battle of Britain film, will also take flight.

 The air show will also feature the Bremont Great War display team, who starred in George Clooney’s The Monuments Men (2014), and aircraft from films including Memphis Belle (1990); Pearl Harbour (2001), Dunkirk (2017) and Squadron 303 (2018).

 On the ground, IWM Duxford will be transformed into a film set once again, giving visitors the opportunity to dance their way into a party scene, or step in as an extra and deliver their lines. History lovers can watch cinematic footage from IWM’s archives, while fashionistas can enter a best dressed competition, or try on a costume from the wardrobe department.

 You can find out more about the air show below, and see trailers here.

How Nottinghamshire Remembers Aviation

September 6th, 2019

619 squadron

During the summer we have been working with the Nottinghamshire County Council to produce some follow-up material to the two Aviation Memorial booklets that we co-produced with them a few years ago.

This time we agreed on a series of short video interviews that will aim to highlight the more than twenty (20) aviation memorials that can be found right across the county. The first five (5) of these videos are now hosted on YouTube and links to them can be found below.

Providing there is sufficient interest in these short video films we hope to visit and record further interviews at other memorial locations around the county. To support this aim we hope that you might be able to feature these interviews in your publications and on your website.

The first five videos feature memorial locations that reflect the international diversity of personnel who are remembered across the county. Nottinghamshire was once a location that trained personnel from Australia, Canada, Poland, New Zealand, Rhodesia, South Africa, the USA and from all around Great Britain; and also many operational squadrons and base. Most of those countries are represented in these first videos – please help us to remember the sacrifices those people made.

619 Squadron & Lancaster ME846 https://youtu.be/xdrYkOfEVU0

RAF Balderton https://youtu.be/MTCWMLUPbCY

Bleasby Memorial https://youtu.be/ViHYwQ-ztTs

RAF Winthorpe https://youtu.be/0KWkTtBiY2Q

Staunton-in-the-Vale https://youtu.be/ggm-_F3-2Ks

We will also be featuring these videos on our social media channels so please look out for the following tags #ExploreNotts & #NottsAviation

www.newarkairmuseum.org

‘Father of the RAF’ Lord Trenchard’s truck now on display

September 6th, 2019

Bedford truck at RAF Museum Cosford

A Bedford MWC 15cwt Truck that was specially prepared to act as the bier for the ‘Father of the Royal Air Force’, Lord Trenchard’s funeral in 1956 is now on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.

After years in storage, the truck has undergone conservation work led by the Museum’s team of volunteers from the Conservation and Engineering team. This latest addition to the collection can now be seen on display in the Museum’s Hangar 1 in its original condition.

The Bedford War Department type truck was designed as a light utility military truck. During the Second World War period (1939-1945) nearly 66,000 examples were produced for service use. The RAF utilised them as general crew and transport trucks, and some were also made as anti-aircraft gun platforms and mobile water tanks.

The Museum’s example, registration 05 AS 35, was especially prepared to tow the trailer carrying the first Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Viscount Hugh Trenchard’s coffin at his funeral on 21 February 1956. The procession saw his coffin taken from the Air Ministry in Whitehall to Westminster Abbey where his ashes were laid to rest in the RAF Chapel.

The RAF Chapel at Westminster Abbey is dedicated to the RAF aircrew casualties of the Battle of Britain and Viscount Trenchard himself headed a committee to raise funds for a stained-glass window and the furnishing of this chapel. His ashes are interred there along with Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Bomber Harris. A service is held there each year on the Sunday following Battle of Britain Day (15 September) to remember the RAF personnel who lost their lives during the Battle of Britain.

RAF Museum Cosford Assistant Curator, Clare Carr said:
“We’re delighted to add the Bedford MWC 15cwt Truck to our collection of vehicles on public display at Cosford. It was a versatile military vehicle and this particular example played an important role in Viscount Trenchard’s funeral, arguably the man who single-handedly laid the foundations for the Royal Air Force during the inter war years, earning him the affectionate title the ‘Father of the Royal Air Force’.

The truck was last on display for the RAF 50th Anniversary Royal Review at RAF Abingdon on 14/15 June 1968 and was acquired by the RAF Museum shortly after. Now, after more than 50 years in storage, the Bedford truck can be seen on display alongside other aircraft and vehicles in Hangar 1.”

The RAF Museum Cosford is open daily from 10.00am and admission is free. Further information can be found at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

MiGs head out for September

September 6th, 2019

MiG-27 at Newark Air Museum

Yesterday at the request of the owner, two aircraft left the Newark Air Museum site on a short-term temporary basis.

The aircraft in question are two former Soviet MiG aircraft that have been on long-term loan at Newark since May 2002; these are:

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23ML “Flogger – 024003607 “07”
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27K “Flogger” – 61912507006 “71”

Work to dismantle the aircraft started in late August and it is anticipated that the aircraft will be away from the museum site until the end of September.

Whilst they are off site it is believed that the aircraft will be used for film work.

www.newarkairmuseum.org

Chocks away for the Spitfire 10K Virtual Race!

September 2nd, 2019

Spitfire 10k medals

Date: Entries open until 27 September 2019
Cost: UK – £15.00 + £1.90 booking fee
Europe – £17.50 + £1.90 booking fee
Rest of the world – £19.50 + £1.90 booking fee

The popular Spitfire 10K held annually at both the RAF Museum’s Cosford and London sites is going virtual! The sell-out race at both Museum’s saw more runners than ever before racing across the airfield at Cosford and through the streets of north London and following its success last weekend, the Museum is launching the Spitfire 10K Virtual Race for those who missed out.

Taking part in the Virtual Race allows participants to complete the distance in their own time, wherever and however they want – on the road, in the pool, at the gym, or even walking the dog! Online applications are now open and those who wish to partake have until Friday 27 September to sign up.

Once the Spitfire 10K Virtual Race is complete, participants should forward their route, whether that be a Strava file, Garmin screenshot or screenshot of their watch, to show they have achieved the distance by Sunday 29 September. Runners will then be rewarded with one of the highly sought after 2019 Spitfire 10K spinning propeller medals, an absolute must for any runner’s medal collection!

RAF Museum Public Events Manager, Abi Betteridge said:
“The demand for the Spitfire 10K at both Cosford and London is huge. We increased our capacity this year and had 2,300 runners participating across the two Museums, with over 150 people on the waiting list. We’re making the race virtual so those who missed out on race day can still be part of this unique event. The great thing about the virtual race is that it can be completed in a location of their choice, but they will still receive one of our spectacular medals. Last year we had just under 400 runners from across the UK and even abroad with participants from as far as Australia, New Zealand and America. We hope this year it will be just as popular.”

All those who enter the virtual race will get a head start for the 2020 Spitfire 10K by receiving advanced notice of the race entry details at both museums. Entry costs £15.00 per person in the UK and all proceeds from the Spitfire 10K will go towards the RAF Museum, registered charity number 244708.

Anyone interested in the Spitfire 10K Virtual Race can register online at www.rafmuseum.org. Entry costs £15.00 per person (UK), £17.50 (Europe) and £19.50 (Rest of the World), plus booking fee.

70th anniversary of the Brabazon

September 2nd, 2019

Brabazon collection at Aerospace Bristol

As you may be aware, this Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the Bristol Brabazon aeroplane from Filton Airfield (4th September 1949).

While only one complete example of the huge aircraft was ever built (and that has since been scrapped), there some Brabazon parts – including a propeller and wheels – in the exhibition at Aerospace Bristol, as well as a scale model of the aircraft (top right). There are also plans to develop the airfield into a residential and commercial area known as Brabazon.

On 8 March 1910, John Moore-Brabazon became the first person to qualify as a pilot in the United Kingdom and was awarded Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificate number 1. When his friend C.S. Rolls was killed in a flying accident later in 1910, Moore-Brabazon’s wife persuaded him to give up flying. However, he remained very visible in aviation and also motor car and sail/motor-boat racing. He joined the RFC in 1915 in a ground-based role, but it was as a Member of Parliament after 1918 that he grew to prominence, becoming Minister of Transport in 1940.

In 1942, he was tasked with setting up a technical committee to investigate the post-WW2 needs of the British Empire’s civilian airliner market. Brabazon’s Committee was formed on 23rd December 1942 and consisted of many of the “great and good” associated with the aircraft industry of the time.

In 1942, the UK and the USA had agreed to split responsibility for building multi-engine aircraft types – the UK focus was on bombers, with transport aircraft being left to the USA. It was soon recognized that as a result of that decision the UK could be left at the end of the war with little experience in the design, manufacture and final assembly of transport aircraft; in addition, it would have little or no infrastructure or trained personnel for doing it.

The Brabazon study was tasked to define, in broad overview, the impact of projected advances in aviation technology and to forecast the global needs of the post war British Empire (in South Asia, Africa, the Near and Far East) and the Commonwealth (Australia, Canada, New Zealand) in the area of air transport, for passengers, mail, and cargo.

The study recognized that the British Empire and Commonwealth, as both a political and economic entity, would have a vital need for aviation systems (principally aircraft) to facilitate its continued existence and self-reliance in the post-war world. For military and commercial reasons, the Empire simply could not continue to exist if it did not understand these needs, and develop the industrial infrastructure to provide the aviation systems and sub-systems necessary to supply and maintain a global air transport service.

For more info and to see the collection: www.aerospacebristol.org

Bournemouth brings the noise with ‘jet-packed’ festival

September 1st, 2019

Strikemaster Duo at Bournemouth

Skies above the south coast were filled with speed, sound and awe-inspiring aerobatics, day and night, this weekend as the 12th Bournemouth Air Festival swooped in to thrill crowds across the resort fuelled by its biggest ever jet line up!

The 2019 star aircraft included debuts from the incredible Saab Draken, the T-33 Silver Star, legendary aircraft of the Ultimate Warbirds, a flypast by the US Navy’s PA-8 and the much-anticipated return of the awesome RAF Typhoon and the full Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) – Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire.

After a launch ceremony presided over by BCP Council Chair Councillor David Flagg, four thrilling days of aviation action got off to a flying start with the Blades Aerobatic Team, whose appearance was supported by Oceana Hotels & Restaurants and The Cumberland and was followed by a full day of sky-high displays, skill and aviation enjoyment.

Friday kicked off with the crowd-pleasing Tigers Parachute Display Team – appearance supported by the Marriott Bournemouth Highcliff. The charismatic team of fearless jumpers gave their famous VIP salute to the mayors of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – Councillor Susan Phillips, Councillor Lesley Dedman and Councillor Marion Le Poidevin respectively.

Fast jet fans felt the awesome presence of the RAF Typhoon which gave a thrilling show after a three year absence, supported by Morgan Sindall Investments and Construction, as well as dusk displays against the backdrop of golden sunsets across the bay. Pilot, Flight Lieutenant Jim Peterson said: “It’s been amazing – definitely in my top five air shows!”

Thrill seekers also welcomed the fantastic Saab Draken, operated by Swedish Air Force Historic Flight and whose appearance was supported by World Fuel Services. Pilot Lars Martinsson, said: “What a fantastic venue. I have loved displaying in Bournemouth and hope you’ll have us back next year!”

The afternoon also included a flypast from US Navy surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon – a specially modified Boeing and a stomach churning performance from Rich Goodwin in his Super Pitts Muscle Plane whose appearance was supported by Bournemouth Airport.

Amid brief respite from the sun, Saturday saw people flock to the beaches and clifftops to witness the MiG15 and Canadair T-33 Silver Star jets plus more fast jet-powered performances from the Strikemaster Pair – appearance supported by the Hotel Miramar. Festival goers were also able to see the RAF Tucano flying for the last time in Bournemouth before it is withdrawn from RAF operations, after 30 years of service, at the end of the year.

There was a great line-up for helicopter fans with the Royal Navy Black Cat – appearance supported by the Daily Echo – and the RAF Chinook swooping in as part of the afternoon programme.

The 2019 festival drew to a close on Sunday with a unique fly past by The Blades and Ultimate Warbird Flights and a final Typhoon display.

Thanks to the generous support of Bournemouth Air Festival Patrons Club, the spectacular Night Air programme took place to the sounds of live tribute bands on the beach stage and featured dusk displays from festival favourites the RAF Typhoon and Spitfire.

Bournemouth’s skies were lit up once again with pyrotechnics from the Fireflies – appearance supported by Wave 105, Otto the Helicopter and the Piper Cub, as well as the Red Devils Army Parachute Display Team and firework displays on Friday and Saturday.

Courtesy of the Royal Navy, RFA Lyme Bay and HMS Argyle sailed into the bay for the duration of the festival and adventurous seafarers embarked on anchorage tours around both ships. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy Village was set up along the prom with the Army Village and popular diving tank demonstrations on the Overcliff.

The RAF Village, this year located on the East Overcliff, was awash with families enjoying the opportunity to find out about careers, see a static Chinook and take part in a virtual reality experience. The Overcliff was also home to vintage vehicles on Saturday and Sunday with owners and enthusiasts parking up to marvel at motors of days gone by.

The Lower Gardens hosted this year’s atmospheric Beat Retreat Sunset Ceremony, performed by HM Royal Marines Band Portsmouth, and a show of strength with the Royal Marines unarmed combat.

Building on previous years, organisers stepped up the event’s environmental credentials with a pledge to offset the carbon footprint from aircraft by investing in projects to protect wildlife and benefit local communities. Working with nationally accredited Carbon Footprint Ltd. this will see trees planted locally as well as supporting a project to prevent deforestation in the Amazon.

During the festival, BCP Council took the opportunity to push its ongoing environmental awareness campaign, Leave Only Footprints, as people were encouraged to help keep the resort’s award-winning beaches looking splendid by clearing up after themselves at the end of the day and putting rubbish in the bins provided. Festival goers and event staff were also encouraged to bring reusable bottles, to download the Refill Dorset app and fill up from taps located along the seafront.

BCP Tourism’s Head of Operations, Chris Saunders, said: “We’ve enjoyed yet another hugely successful event with impressive displays, good weather and, most importantly, thousands of smiling faces. Night Air is always popular, and this year was no exception with spectacular performances set against glorious sunsets creating must–see displays light up the skies.

“The festival is a great celebration of everything this stretch of coastline has to offer. With action on land, at sea and in the skies, we’re proving that Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole really is the coast with the most!”

Councillor Lewis Allison, BCP Council Tourism Portfolio Holder, said; “This kind of show inevitably draws attention for many reasons and we’re proud to offer a great day out for all the family. At the same time, work to offset the festival’s carbon footprint demonstrates our commitment to reducing its impact on the environment.

“I’d like to thank the enthusiastic display teams, residents and visitors who have come to watch and all those who work to keep people safe and help the festival run smoothly.”

An estimated 812,000 people attended this year’s festival and the dates for next year have been announced as 20-23 August 2020.

For details visit www.bournemouthair.co.uk

Celebration of 20 Years’ Work of Volunteer Team who Brought a WWII Hurricane back to life

August 28th, 2019

Brooklands Hurricane

The Worshipful the Mayor of the Borough of Elmbridge, local Councillors and VIPs will be joining a gathering of Trustees and supporters from Brooklands Museum to celebrate the achievements of a dedicated team of volunteers who have restored a Hawker Hurricane aircraft.

The Hurricane was Britain’s most successful fighter aircraft of the WWII era and was designed by Sydney Camm at nearby Kingston. It was assembled and first flown in prototype form at Brooklands in November 1935. Altogether, 3,012 Hurricanes were produced at Brooklands – one fifth of the total built. When the Battle of Britain was fought in the summer of 1940, it was due to the tremendous production and test flying effort at Brooklands and other factories, and to the skills of the RAF pilots, that the Hurricane became the chief victor of this decisive engagement. Almost 25% of all RAF fighters in this conflict were Brooklands-built Hurricanes.

On permanent display as part of the vast collection of aircraft at Brooklands Museum is Hawker Hurricane Z2389. Built in 1940 it served with five different RAF Squadrons in 1941, including the American volunteer 71 ‘Eagle’ Squadron at Martlesham Heath. As part of emergency war supplies for Russia, it was shipped to Murmansk on 21st May 1942. On the 20th June 1942, it engaged two Messerschmitt Bf109Fs and five Bf110s over a remote part of Murmansk but was shot down along with two other Hurricanes. The pilot, F/Lt Ivan Kalashnikov survived the forced landing.

Fifty years later it was found by Russian historians, recovered in 1996 and then acquired by Brooklands Museum in 1997. It became the first historic aircraft to be purchased with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The Hurricane volunteer restoration team assembled in 1999 and has worked up until 2019 to complete the incredible restoration of this aircraft. As well as the work itself, the team, alongside Museum staff, have sourced materials, spares and raised money. Their biggest and most memorable achievement has to be sourcing a Merlin Mark II engine entirely by chance when an interested visitor said he had one sitting in his garage!

It has taken the team 60,000 dedicated man hours to rebuild the steel and wooden structure, stitch the fabric on the fuselage, paint the wings, restore the cockpit and plot’s seat to bring this iconic British aircraft to its present form. Furthermore, they have introduced this specialist area of restoration work to younger generations by encouraging Duke of Edinburgh participants to assist them; some members who completed the required levels have chosen to stay on and join the Museum’s volunteer programme.

Now, visitors to the Museum can see an original Hawker Hurricane that saw active war-time service. This milestone will be celebrated on 3rd September, 80 years to the day that Britain announced it was at war with Germany.

www.brooklandsmuseum.com

P-8A US Navy support this year’s Air Festival at Bournemouth

August 27th, 2019

US Navy P-8A

The U.S. Navy has confirmed their P-8A Poseidon Surveillance Aircraft will be flying past Friday afternoon at this year’s Air Festival. This specific Boeing plane has been developed for the U.S. Navy (USN) and modified from the Boeing 737-800. Powered by two turbo fans and with a wingspan of nearly 40metres it’s going to be an incredible sight.

First flown in 2009 the P-8A will be the youngest aircraft participating at the festival. With a military naval role, it doesn’t transport passengers but fulfils one of the primary mission of USN anti-submarine warfare.

LT Justin Branch, lead U.S. Navy Officer said: “It’s a privilege to support the Air Festival, this is our second engagement taking place in the UK this year and it is always a privilege to be included in these events. We receive amazing support and eagerly anticipate opportunities to strengthen relationships with our allies and showcase the P-8A Poseidon.”.

Chris Saunders, Head of Operations, Tourism added; “The aircraft will be part of Friday’s line up, to have U.S. Navy support, and importantly for them to see the significance of the festival, really highlights the strong relationships we have with our Armed Forces partners.”

Regarded as the UK’s most successful civilian air show with brilliant day and night time entertainment in the skies, on land and in the evening, the 12th Air Festival, takes place 29th August – 1st September 2019.

For details visit www.bournemouthair.co.uk

Life Stories: the RAF and me

August 22nd, 2019

Air Commodore Paul Godfrey

Date: 31 Aug / 14 Sep / 12 Oct 2019
Time: 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Cost: FREE

A new series of talks from the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford entitled ‘Life Stories’, will share the unique experiences of guest speakers, from their time serving in the Royal Air Force.

The new ‘Life Stories’ talks form part of the Museum’s RAF Stories project, an online collection accessible for everyone to submit, share and explore stories of people’s personal connections to the RAF.

RAF Museum Community Engagement Officer: RAF Stories, Jess Boydon said:
“The forthcoming talks are an opportunity for interested members of the public to hear first-hand some of the great stories already captured by the project. Held in the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition Lecture Theatre, each talk held on Saturday afternoons, will have a key guest speaker and will cover a range of thought provoking topics.”

31 August: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
Air Commodore Paul Godfrey spent three seasons with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), flying the Spitfire, Hurricane and Chipmunk aircraft. During this talk, Paul will share his knowledge of the BBMF and his most memorable experiences. The mission of the RAF BBMF is to maintain these priceless artefacts of our national heritage in an airworthy condition, so that the BBMF may commemorate those who have fallen in the service of this country, promote the modern day Air Force and inspire the future generations. Flown by regular serving RAF Aircrew, the Flight operates six Spitfires, two Hurricane Mk 2Cs, a Lancaster as well as a C47 Dakota and two Chipmunk aircraft.

14 September: Life Stories: From Basra to Sydney
Sgt Paul ‘Twitch’ Twitchell will take you on a gritty, emotional, funny and inspirational journey through his battle with mental health illness. Following several tours of Iraq carrying out bomb disposal duties, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) all but destroyed everything dear to him. Saved by an extremely unlikely stranger, Prince Harry sparked the fire under Twitch that would see him transform from a suicidal PTSD sufferer to an Invictus Games medallist.

12 October: Life Stories: True Colours
Caroline Paige is a retired Royal Air Force navigator with a thirty-five year flying career that includes air defence fighters during the Cold War and troop helicopters in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. But against a background of contemporary conflict, and the demanding environment of military aviation, her story reveals a remarkable journey of inspirational courage and endurance, in overcoming adversity in an unforgiving world. In 1999, after a life-long struggle to hide her gender identity became too much to bear, Caroline informed the RAF of her intention to transition gender. Controversially at the time, she was permitted to remain in service, becoming the first transgender officer to openly serve in the British Armed Forces. Her story tells how she rose against extraordinary challenges to remain on the front-line of military flying, serving a further sixteen years, and silencing outspoken critics by earning several commendations for ‘exceptional service’ in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The talks will commence at 2.00pm and are free to attend, lasting approximately one hour, including time for questions. As spaces are limited, visitors are advised to book their tickets in advance via the Museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford to avoid disappointment.

For anyone who would like to contribute to the RAF Stories project, download the free RAF Stories App, where you can discover and share the stories of others, or record and upload your own using your mobile device, keeping the story alive and relevant for generations to come. Visit www.rafstories.org for more details.

The RAF Stories project is proudly supported by National Lottery Players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund.