Archive for February, 2022

Second World War aircraft restored using original doping techniques

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

Lysander at London

A Second World War Westland Lysander III (SD), the only surviving Special Duties variant of its type has been restored to its former glory and will be on display at RAF Museum London.

The aircraft has undergone conservation work including a new fabric outer skin and complete repaint in the Museum’s Michael Beetham Conservation Centre. Formerly displayed at the Museum’s London site in No. 225 Squadron markings, the Lysander is now painted in No. 161 Squadron Special Ops colour scheme, reflecting its service towards the end of the war in non-operational special transport services.

Beginning in November 2016, the aircraft underwent an in-depth inspection and condition assessment followed by a few minor structural repairs. The airframe’s damaged fabric covering was replaced while a team of volunteers cleaned and lubricated mechanical systems back to a functional state.

The aircrafts biggest transformation comes from the recovering of its airframe in a traditional Irish linen fabric, hand sewn by the Museum’s Surface Finish Technician and then strengthened using original doping techniques.

RAF Museum, Surface Finish Technician Clive Roberts said:
“Thousands of stiches were made attaching the linen to the fuselage, wings and tailplane followed by six coats of doping, a UV microwave protection layer, primer and then finally painted in its 161 Squadron Special Ops colour scheme. It’s a slow process but essential to preserving the aircraft for as long as possible. We sought the help of a Lysander expert based in Switzerland, who provided us with original photographs and technical drawings to help with the paint scheme. One of the photos shows that during R9125’s service with 161 Squadron the cooling gills were incorrectly fitted so the camouflage no longer lined up. Since this has been documented we will change ours to match that.”

The Museum’s example, serial number R9125 first became operational with No. 225 Squadron in 1940 as a coastal patrol and photo reconnaissance aircraft, based along the south coast of England. It took on the Special Duties role with No. 161 Squadron in 1944 and was operational for a further two years until they became obsolete from the RAF in 1946.

The Lysander was originally designed for Army Co-operation duties including artillery spotting and reconnaissance. However, its lasting fame is not in this role, but as a Special Duties aircraft ferrying Allied agents in and out of enemy occupied Europe. Despite some notable successes, the Army Co-operation units suffered extremely high casualties – over 170 Lysanders were sent to France in 1939 and only 50 came back. Following their withdrawal from France, Lysanders patrolled the coastal areas of south and east England as an anti-invasion reconnaissance measure and later, began air-sea rescue duties in the Channel and North Sea.

Visitors to the RAF Museum London will get the first glimpse of the aircraft in Hangar 5 this Spring.

2022 Air Shows go on sale as IWM Duxford announces bumper flying season

Monday, February 7th, 2022

IWM Duxford Airshows

Running from May through to October, IWM Duxford’s flying season brings the historic airfield to life and, this year, a jam-packed programme of events promises plenty of thrilling aerobatics, roaring Spitfires and entertainment on the ground. Tickets to all flying events for 2022 will be on general sale from today.

Returning for 2022, the Duxford Summer Air Show will be taking place on 18-19 June promising fun for all the family with fast-flying, all-action aerobatics and spectacular sights in the air and on the ground. The annual Battle of Britain Air Show will return on 10-11 September offering visitors an immersion into the 1940s when RAF Duxford played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain, helping to defend the United Kingdom against Nazi air attacks. Expect plenty of Spitfire nostalgia as history is brought to life across the site for this much-loved weekend of flying entertainment.

Thanks to our friends at Aerial Collective, we are thrilled to be able to offer an exclusive prize of an unforgettable flight in a Spitfire. Any visitor who books a ticket to either Air Show before midnight on Tuesday 8 March will be automatically entered into the prize draw.
In addition to these two fantastic weekend events, the IWM Duxford Air Show team will also be welcoming visitors to its Duxford Flying Evening on 27 August to catch spectacular aircraft in flight as dusk descends over the airfield. Whilst Duxford Flying Finale on 8 October will bring together highlights from the year as we say farewell to another fantastic season of flying.

IWM Duxford’s flying season wouldn’t be complete without Flying Days and there will be six of these taking place between May-October 2022. From commemorating D-Day to celebrating the 25th anniversary since the American Air Museum opened at Duxford, each of these individually themed events will present aerial displays and specially curated ground activities.

IWM Air Show Event Manager, Phil Hood, said “Last year, our Air Shows were the biggest in the country and we were thrilled to welcome thousands of visitors back on site for these two fantastic weekends. For 2022, we have been working hard behind the scenes to create even more events to pack into our six-month flying season. Over the coming months there will be more announcements, including display acts and showground content, but we can say for certain that it will be a flying season to remember.”

RAF Museum celebrates Jewish and Indian Hidden Heroes

Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Hidden Heroes

On Thursday evening the Museum invited guests from the Indian and Jewish communities to commemorate the immense diversity within the RAF in its 100+ years.

The RAF Museum is committed to sharing the RAF story with everyone and the evening included a Jewish Hidden Heroes talk by the Jewish author and historian Joshua Levine, and an Indian Hidden Heroes talk by the Indian journalist and author Shrabani Basu, both Ambassadors for the RAFM. Special guest AVM Simon Edwards (ACAS) was also in attendance, along with a group of RAF officers from the both the Jewish and Indian communities.

The event was sponsored by Advinia Healthcare (Main Sponsor), Mizrahi Tefahot Bank and the Asian Jewish Business Network.

The RAF Museum Jewish Hidden Heroes project gathers and shares untold stories, both online and in our galleries, of the Jewish personnel in the RAF during the Second World War. The project is supported by Roman Abramovich and the CFC Foundation for its Say No to Anti-Semitism Campaign.

• Joshua Levine, RAFM Ambassador – Jewish, bestselling author who has written seven critically acclaimed histories. Most recently he worked as Historical Consultant on Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dunkirk. His book, Dunkirk: The History behind the Major Motion Picture spent five weeks at the top of the Sunday Times bestseller list.

• Shrabani Basu, RAF Museum Ambassador – Indian journalist and historian who is a Sunday Times best-selling author which include the critically acclaimed: ‘Victoria and Abdul: The Story of the Queen’s Closest Confident’ (an Oscar nominated film starring Dame Judy Dench and Ali Fazal) and ‘Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan’.

RAF Museum acquires Goodman medals

Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Benny Goodman medals

Expert Medal Auctioneers, Dix Noonan Webb have arranged the sale of the Second War campaign group of six awarded to Lancaster pilot Squadron Leader L. S. ‘Benny’ Goodman to the RAF Museum. Goodman, who died in July 2021, aged 100 and his memorial service will be held at St. Clement Danes Church, this Friday (February 4, 2022) was the last surviving RAF pilot of 617 (Dambuster) Squadron to attack the German battleship Tirpitz. He went on to be one of the few pilots to drop the 22,000lb ‘Grand Slam’ bomb, the heaviest ever dropped by the Royal Air Force, and by the end of the war he had flown on 30 bombing operations.

The medals were sold with Squadron Leader Goodman’s brown leather Irvin flying jacket, five Royal Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Books plus several photographs and photographic images of the recipient as well as a variety of books.

Christopher Mellor-Hill, Head of Client Liaison (Associate Director), Dix Noonan Webb commented: “DNW are pleased to have facilitated the sale of “Benny” Goodman’s medals and memorabilia to the RAF Museum by mutual agreement before the auction. They will be part of a major exhibit being planned by the museum.”

Squadron Leader Goodman’s son, Robert, also added: “I’m very pleased that my father’s medals and artefacts will be purchased by the RAF Museum with the proceeds of the sale benefitting the Royal Air Force No 617 Squadron Association. I’m sure that he would have been thrilled that his legacy will be kept alive for the nation and shared with the world at the RAF Museum while giving back to No 617 Squadron, with which he fought so valiantly during the Second World War.”

Dr Peter Johnston (Head of Collections and Research, the RAF Museum) explained: “The Museum is delighted to have acquired this wonderful piece of history which enables us to tell a unique part of the Royal Air Force story. “Benny” Goodman had a fantastic relationship with the Museum and was featured in the Jewish ‘Hidden Heroes’ project that was launched in 2018. We are planning that his medals and log book will go on display in the Bomber Command Hall as part of its redevelopment in 2023.”