Archive for February, 2010

Behind Enemy Lines

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

If you have ever wondered what life was really like for those airmen taken as Prisoner of War during WWII, or the harrowing exploits of those that managed to evade capture, then the forthcoming lecture taking place at the Yorkshire Air Museum on Saturday 20th March will answer all your questions. Internment was a life of squalor, deprivation, and almost unending monotony, with only the light relief of banter with fellow prisoners to keep alive a glimmer of hope for freedom.

Behind Enemy Lines’ will be presented by well known author and Aircrew Association historian Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork, drawing on his research for books such as ‘Shot Down’ and ‘On the Run / In the Drink’. Graham will be supported with recollections from John Morrison (76 Squadron) whose Halifax was shot down over Norway on the night of 30th / 31st January 1942 in the first of the attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz, spending the remainder of the war as a POW. We are also honoured to have ex Lancaster crewman Harry Levy, author of ‘The Dark Side of the Night’. As a 19 year old Jewish airman, Harry was the sole survivor after his aircraft crashed during a raid on Dusseldorf in July 1942. He was helped by Belgian patriots before being captured and held in solitary confinement for 10 weeks before moving to a POW camp. His presentation is bound to captivate the audience.

Neil Galloway, from 90 Signals RAF Leeming, will also be discussing the recent re-enactment of the 1945 ‘Long March’ of POW’s across Poland, which was undertaken by RAF personnel from across the country.

In addition, a fantastic line up of other veterans, all either POW’s or Evaders, and all with their own amazing tales to tell has been gathered and all of the veterans will be joining in the Question and Answer session and memorabilia signing opportunity that will take place after the lunch break. There will be book, print and model sales available.

The line up and the aircraft type they flew on is as follows:
POW’s are John Morrison (Halifax), Harry Levy (Lancaster), Fred Heathfield (Halifax), Philip Bates (Stirling).
Evaders: Tom Wingham (Halifax), Ray Worrall (Lancaster), Ralph Forster RCAF (Wellington), J R Parkinson (Lancaster), Rev. Les Hood (Lancaster) and Eric Hirst.

As all these gentlemen are now into their eighties, this event provides a rare opportunity to meet and hear at first hand their incredible experiences of life behind enemy lines.

Tickets are available now and cost just £10, to include 2 items for signing. (Additional charge for more items) but don’t delay as numbers are limited. Available online at: (Shop / Tickets) or call 01904 608595 during office hours.

Airbourne to Honour 70 Years of BBMF

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Organisers of the world’s biggest free seafront airshow have revealed a packed flying line-up is on its way this summer with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight marking its 70th anniversary by displaying on all four days at Airbourne.The official Airbourne Launch Party took place last week at Towner, Eastbourne’s award-winning art gallery, to exclusively reveal this year’s flying programme for the international airshow, which returns to the south coast from 12-15 August.

Headlining the flying schedule confirmed for this year is a special 70-year anniversary display from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the return of crowd favourite the Red Arrows, and the impressive Eurofighter Typhoon. With other aircraft including the Hawk, Tutor, Tucano, Search and Rescue, and King Air also displaying, the flying line-up is already looking action-packed and organisers Eastbourne Borough Council are offering companies the chance to benefit from this prestigious event with sponsorship opportunities available.

Eastbourne Borough Council Cabinet Member for Tourism, Cllr Susan Morris said “A Date With Airbourne, our official launch party, was a brand new idea for this year’s event and a great opportunity for us to thank those companies who worked with us last year and network with potential new sponsors.

“Last year’s Airbourne was such a huge success with a record number of sponsors and the numbers of trade stands up by 27%. We are looking to build on that this year, and with fantastic assets already confirmed for this summer, we should be in for another spectacular year.

“We have a wide range of sponsorship packages available offering companies a great opportunity to come on board and benefit not only from the huge footfall that Airbourne receives, but also to raise their company profile by being associated with such a highly regarded event.”

Following the success of last year’s airshow which was reported to have been the most visibly busy in the event’s 17-year history, airshow organisers are again looking to work with the local business community to raise funds to stage the event.

Many local businesses from across the south east attended the Launch Party at Towner on Thursday evening last week to find out about the sponsorship packages available this year and receive an early bird discount on programme adverts.

Securing a record 25 sponsors in 2009 including, Eastbourne Borough Council are again starting sponsorship packages from as little as £250 right up to a headline sponsor at £75k, with the option for companies to tailor make packages to suit their budget and needs.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, trade space and corporate hospitality available at Airbourne visit

Sir Richard Branson Narrates Museums latest podcast

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to announce that as part of its monthly podcast series aviation entrepreneur and the founder of the Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson has generously given his time to narrate this month’s podcast “Bader: Fighter Pilot”.

The podcast was specially commissioned to mark the centenary of Bader’s birth on 21st February 2010 and forms part of the Museum’s commemoration of the former Battle of Britain pilot. It examines the life of Douglas Bader from his near fatal air crash in 1931 – with the loss of both his legs at the knee – through his wartime service as one of the highest scoring aces in the Battle of Britain and his subsequent efforts to escape from German captivity after being shot down and captured in August 1941.

Douglas Bader’s story, however, did not cease with the end of the Second World War. Until his death in 1982 Bader worked tirelessly on behalf of disabled people – particularly for the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association. Work for which, he received the CBE and was knighted. After his death, in keeping with Bader’s spirit, the Douglas Bader Foundation was established to advance and promote the physical, mental and spiritual welfare of persons who are without one or more limbs.

Peter Dye, Director of the Museum’s Collections Division, commenting on the podcast stated: “Douglas Bader was an exceptional individual and an outstanding pilot whose determination to overcome apparently overwhelming odds exemplified Fighter Command’s struggle to save Britain in the summer of 1940. His example has inspired countless others in their own battles with injury or disability while the values shown by Bader and his generation, who gave so much in the defence of freedom, are as important today as they were in 1940.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sir Richard Branson for his narration. I am certain that his support will help us inspire a new generation and ensure that Douglas Bader’s story is never forgotten.”

To listen to the podcast, visit The Royal Air Force Museum will also being showing a small exhibition of Bader artifacts, including his log book, at its London site from 8th February to 31st March. The Royal Air Force Museum London is open daily from 10am to 6pm, with last admission at 5:30pm. Admission and parking at the Museum is free.

10% Off Local Trade at Major Eastbourne Events

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Eastbourne traders are being offered the opportunity to promote their products to hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world with an early bird discount on trade stands at major events in the East Sussex resort.

From the world’s biggest free seafront airshow Airbourne to an extreme sports festival with a strong youth audience, Eastbourne presents a packed programme of events every year with trade and exhibition space available. Attracting record crowds at events in 2009, this year Eastbourne is encouraging local traders to take up the opportunity presented by the town’s biggest events and offering a 10% discount on trade space to those that book early.

Eastbourne Borough Council Cabinet Member for Tourism, Cllr Susan Morris said “The Eastbourne calendar of events offers a fantastic opportunity for local traders and businesses to promote their company to a huge audience, with many travelling from outside the region to visit the event. With a programme of free tourist events, the discount really does present an opportunity not to be missed with the potential to reach a footfall of thousands of visitors and potential new customers.”

The 10% discount will be available to any local company who is interested in taking a trade stand at one of Eastbourne’s major events, including Magnificent Motors, Eastbourne Extreme, Airbourne and Speed Days.

Magnificent Motors kicks off the town’s major events on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend from 1-2 May. One of the South Coast’s biggest free motoring festivals, the event attracts a growing crowd each year with a unique opportunity to set up a trade stand on Eastbourne’s glorious seafront alongside vintage and classic cars, motorbikes, buses and steam traction engines.

Eastbourne Extreme takes place on the opposite end of the seafront and boasting intense sports such as power boating, windsurfing, free running and kitesurfing, the free event on from 17-18 July, attracts a strong youth audience.

The resort’s world renowned seafront airshow Airbourne returns from 12-15 August and offers plenty of space for trade stands with a footfall of hundreds of thousands visiting year on year. Plus Eastbourne’s International Airshow also offers a range of sponsorship packages ranging from just £250 to the headline sponsor at £75k.

And Eastbourne’s newest event, Speed Days, on from 20-22 August, offers another opportunity to reach a younger demographic with riders and visitors travelling from across the globe to this World Cup Downhill Skateboarding event.

The early bird discount will be available to the first five local companies who book a trade stand at Magnificent Motors, Extreme, or Speed Days and to the first ten companies booking trade space at Airbourne. With applications now officially open, interested traders are being invited to register their interest quickly to receive the discounted price.

For more information or to enquire about booking a trade stand at Eastbourne’s events telephone 01323 415442 or visit .

To find out about Airbourne sponsorship packages, to discuss a tailor made package suited to your company or to request a copy of the sponsorship document outlining all packages available, telephone 01323 415556 or email

Revving up for a great display

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Auction house BONHAMS is delighted to announce the sale of an important collection of 100 motorcycles, mainly pre-1950 machines, from Pamplona, Spain, at the Museum.

Public viewing date date: 26th Feb
Auction date: 27th Feb

The Pamplona Collection represents an important group of motorcycles assembled by a prominent Spanish private collector.

Over 100 in number, this extraordinarily diverse collection includes a brace of De Dion Bouton-engined machines dating from the closing years of the 19th Century, as well as nine four-cylinder models from the likes of Ace, Cleveland, Excelsior, FN, Henderson, Indian, Nimbus and Zündapp. V-twin engined motorcycles are another predominant theme, with no fewer than 18 in the collection including examples from Harley-Davidson, Sunbeam, Vincent, Motosacoche, Peugeot, Matchless, BSA and, of course, Brough Superior in the form of a 1931 SS100. Rare marques represented include Vindec, Wanderer, Acme, Rikuo, Böhmerland, PMZ, Griffon, Standard, Diamant, Laurin & Klement, Phebus and Mabeco.

The collection was assembled over the past few years for the enjoyment of the owner’s friends and family, and was housed at various locations before coming to its purpose-built museum home 12 months ago. Almost all of the machines were in running condition at time of purchase, since when they have been carefully stored.

Ben Walker, Head of the Motorcycles Department at Bonhams comments, “It is a pleasure to be offering for sale such a fine and outstanding collection of motorcycles. The vendor has managed to assemble, over a relatively short period of time, a world-class collection of rare machinery and this sale represents a fantastic opportunity for the enthusiast and collector to acquire something really special for their garage.”

The collection will be on public display in the Museum’s Bomber Hall, for one day only: Friday 26th February

Museum Launches Mobile Phone Website

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce the launch, of its mobile phone website –

Aimed at the potential visitor who has to juggle family life with the various challenges of today’s frenetic lifestyle, this website tells them clearly and concisely the latest news and events taking place at the Museum’s London and Cosford sites; gives directions on how to reach either site via public or private transport and contains a direct dial option to either Museum’s switchboard in case they require further assistance.

Deputy Director of the Museum, Peter Dye, comments:

” The launch of the Museum’s mobile phone website is in keeping with our policy of using technology to make our London and Cosford sites more accessible. With the increasing sophistication and reliability of mobile handsets we aim to enhance the experience of our many existing visitors and attract new users.

We also believe that overseas visitors will find this new service particularly helpful. By using our mobile phone website they will have an additional reference source to understand what the museum offers and how to reach us quickly and safely. If at any stage they need further information they can speak directly to a member of Museum staff through the site’s quick dial option. The young mother or father, while out shopping with their children, can also check what’s happening at the Museum that day, particularly our many special events.

This development builds on existing initiatives, such as our guide-by-cell tours, that have already proved popular with the more than 650,000 visitors that come to the Museum each year to enjoy the aircraft on display, to use our state-of-the-art interactive displays and to learn more about the history and heritage of the Royal Air Force – the world’s oldest air service.”

The Royal Air Force Museum has 2 sites located in Colindale, North London and in Cosford Shropshire. Both sites are open daily until 6pm and offer free admission. For further details of activities taking place at either site and directions to them visit