Archive for July, 2022

Sports artefacts up for adoption

Sunday, July 31st, 2022

RAF Museum PTI badge

In celebration of the Commonwealth Games launching in Birmingham, the Royal Air Force Museum is adding two new sporty objects to the Adopt an Artefact initiative.

The new objects representing sport within the RAF have been specially selected from the Museum’s collection of more than 1.3 million items and join over 60 artefacts in the adoptable collection.

Sported by the apprentices at RAF Cranwell in the 1920s, the Cranwell Boys’ Wing Sports Cap is first of two new sports artefacts available for adoption. Royal Air Force apprentices aged 15-16 would undertake three years of technical training, passing out as highly qualified mechanics. Sports were a feature of an apprentice’s life, with regular afternoon sessions being devoted to games. The cap can be viewed on display at the Museum’s London site and is the perfect adoption for any Cranwell attendees or all-round sports fans.

Formed from three arms bearing gymnastic exercise clubs is the Physical Training Instructor Badge, the second new addition to the Museum’s adoptable collection. The Royal Air Force School of Physical Training was formed on the same day as the Royal Air Force, 1 April 1918. It is responsible for preparing instructors to lead physical training education and activities. This object, circa 1923-1949 recognises the important role sport and fitness has played within the RAF and is an ideal adoption for any trainer, as well as those with a close connection to RAF Cosford. Look out for this artefact on display next time you visit the Museum’s Midlands site.

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. People can browse the items and adopt online at

Ella Hewitt, RAF Museum Individual Giving Manager said:
‘With the Commonwealth Games inspiring the next generation of athletes, it’s a great opportunity for the Museum to look back at the RAF’s sporting history and reflect on the role sport has played for service personnel. Adopting an artefact such as the Cranwell Boys’ Wing Sports Cap or the Physical Training Instructor Badge, helps raise funds for the Museum, enabling us to continue sharing the RAF story. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to buy an unusual gift for a budding athlete or sports lover, and to receive something unique in return for your support.’

Starting at £25.00, adoptions last 12 months from the date they are adopted. Every adoption includes a digital adoption certificate and photo, online recognition with a personalised message, and exclusive updates throughout the year.

Adoptees can view their artefacts during a visit to the Museum. The Museum is open daily from 10.00am and admission is free, simply pre-book your arrival time online at

Newark Air Museum Awarded Accreditation Accolade

Monday, July 25th, 2022

Newark Saab Safir

From its humble beginnings in the 1960s, when a group of like-minded aviation enthusiasts set out with a desire to own a Spitfire, over the years the Newark Air Museum has evolved into one of the UK’s leading volunteer managed aviation museums. Open to the public for forty-nine years; the museum is located just to the north of Newark-on-Trent; on part of what is the former World War II training airfield of RAF Winthorpe, which is in eastern Nottinghamshire.

Administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the UK Accreditation Partnership, Accreditation is the benchmark for well-run Museums and Galleries.

It means that Newark Air Museum is properly managed and governed to the nationally agreed industry standard and shows the museum takes proper care of its collections, sharing them with visitors and keeping them safe for future generations.

Accreditation opens up exciting funding opportunities, allows museums to host touring exhibitions and gives access to professional advice and support. It also gives confidence to donors and sponsors who may wish to support the museum in preserving heritage and inspiring future generations.

Accreditation covers museums of all types and sizes – from the smallest volunteer-run museums to national museums – and more than 1,700 museums are currently taking part in the scheme across the UK.

More information about the Accreditation scheme can be found here.

Colin Savill, Museum Trustee said: “The renewal of our Accreditation with Arts Council England has been running throughout the Covid-19 crisis and we are grateful for everyone’s support in us finally being able to secure this prestigious award.”

Liz Johnson, Director Museums and Cultural Property at Arts Council England said: “We’re delighted that Newark Air Museum has been successful in gaining their Accreditation status. This means that their Collections will be looked after and maintained offering inspiration, enjoyment and learning for the local community and visitors to enjoy now and in the future.”

RAF Museum Recent Aviation Photo Acquisitions

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

RAF Museum Arrow

The Royal Air Force Museum has been fortunate to acquire three significant collections from 20th century aviation photographers. Each adds to the record of aviation in the 20th century, especially the history of the Royal Air Force, and they have been generously donated by their families.

The first collection was acquired before lockdown. Richard Winslade worked with historic aviation organisations, including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Royal Navy Historic Flight. He had scanned and cleaned many of his images before uploading them to his Flickr site, About Richard Winslade | Flickr.

The second collection was offered just before lockdown but couldn’t be collected before travel restrictions were imposed. Richard Wilson was one of the foremost aviation photographers of his generation, learning from the masters, such as Charles E Brown, and take their place when they retired. Richard, like Brown, worked closely with RAF PR and was awarded the CP Robertson Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the person considered to have made the best contribution in presenting the work of the RAF to the public. An interview with Richard was published in Supplement No. 7 to Aeroplane Monthly, 1985.

While we were waiting for an opportunity to collect the Wilson collection, the Rentoul and Wakeford collection was offered to us by Tom Wakeford’s widow. The collection is far larger than the other two combined and is more varied in its content. Tom Wakeford was a semi-professional aviation photographer, author and magazine editor. The subject of his books included the Panavia Tornado, Operation Granby and the RAF 75th anniversary. He worked closely with Ian Rentoul whose photographs are included in the collection.

The RAF Museum is grateful to the families of the photographers.

Vulcan Repaint Fund Raising Boost

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Newark Vulcan XM594 repaint

The trustees and volunteers at the Newark Air Museum (NAM) have received a fund raising boost thanks to the generosity of the British Aviation Research Group (BARG). Having been advised about the museum’s much needed refurbishment and repainting work on Avro Vulcan XM594, members of the BARG DVD Implementation Team have kindly agreed to meet the cost of the paint and associated materials.

In December 2021 the museum took ownership of Vulcan XM594 and this was undertaken in the knowledge that some significant structural repairs and repainting work was required on the huge delta winged aircraft.

During spring 2022, the museum received a letter from BARG asking if they had any military aircraft preservation projects that required financial support. In response the museum submitted an application to BARG in relation to the materials required for the Vulcan repaint.

BARG’s history dates back to the 1950s, which is longer than the museum’s. This is when a group of young enthusiast started a monthly publication reporting aircraft sightings at Blackbushe Airport (then London’s second airport). The group expanded and became a byword for military aviation enthusiasts. Eventually BARG transferred their publications and research data onto searchable DVDs, which were sold around the world. The proceeds from these sales have enabled BARG to support projects like NAM’s Vulcan repaint project.

“We are extremely grateful to BARG for their generous support of the repainting work on Vulcan XM594.” Said Newark Air Museum trustee Howard Heeley, he concluded, “Their contribution is being made as and when we purchase the paint, and it allows us to proceed at a steady pace that makes the most of the sometimes changeable British weather.”

Sywell Aviation Museum Book & Model Appeal

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Sywell Aviation Museum

After the success of the Sywell Aviation Museum book and model sale earlier this year, the Museum is actively seeking the donation of more items to help raise funds to restore its 1969 Handley Page Jetstream aircraft into a classroom. If we can collect enough then we hope to hold another sale later this year or early next.

If you have any surplus second hand military/aviation books, diecast models, model kits or accessories you would be able to donate we would love to hear from you (we can collect).

Based at Sywell Aerodrome, the Museum is free to enter and relies on donations to survive. It remains open each weekend and bank holiday until the end of September between 1030-1630hrs and each Tuesday and Wednesday 1200-1600. Also we are actively recruiting new members so if you are interested please get in touch.

For more information please email or call 07968061708.

Historic RAF air defence system placed on loan at Newark Air Museum

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Newark Air Museum Rapier system The trustees of the Newark Air Museum (NAM) are delighted to announce that they have entered into an agreement with MBDA UK Limited (MBDA) to accept on loan what is believed to be the only complete example of the company’s famous Rapier Field Standard C (FSC) Ground Based Air Defence system.

The recently deactivated, and now inert, system was delivered to NAM’s site in north eastern Nottinghamshire on Monday 27th June 2022, and will form a display that is unique from any museum in the United Kingdom.

In service since 1971, some Rapier systems are still defending military assets around the world today. Rapier FSC was also the last air defence system used by RAF Regiments to protect its airfields, before the British Army took on that responsibility.

Rapier was even used to help protect the 2012 London Olympics, and had a brief on screen Hollywood appearance when seen in the 2014 film ‘Kingsmen: The Secret Service’.

The Rapier FSC system complements the museum’s stated wider Collecting Policy and more specifically of that of displaying “Equipment used for the maintenance of aircraft and for the running of airfields, both military … etc.”

Undercover display space has been found for the Rapier Field Standard C System in the south-western section of Display Hangar 2. Not only will the unit’s complement NAM’s existing RAF Regiment displays, but they will also support the recently opened Royal Air Force (RAF) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) display, which are located in the same display area.

“We are excited and extremely proud to have secured the loan of such a unique set of objects for the collection,” commented museum Curator, Mike Smith. He concluded, “We are especially grateful for the assistance provided by the staff at MBDA, in helping us to establish this loan agreement and to complete the safe move of this Rapier Field Standard C System to Newark.”

“We are proud of our heritage of producing equipment for our Armed Forces that protected our troops, airfields and the UK” said Al Byford, a retired RAF Air Commodore now an advisor at MBDA. He added, “Equipment such as this Rapier FSC is of historical military significance and it is only right we share it with NAM, so those that are interested in such piece of RAF history can visit and see it preserved.”

RAF Museum apprenticeship scheme vying for top business award

Friday, July 1st, 2022

RAF Museum Apprentices

The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce that we are a finalist in the Nachural Summer Business Ball and Awards for Promoting Apprenticeships. Winners will be announced at the awards event in Wolverhampton on 8 July.

The Nachural Summer Business Ball and Awards programme recognises the achievements of individuals and companies from across the West Midlands region, in all business sectors. Judges at this year’s awards acknowledged our excellence as a Museum and the work of our Michael Beetham Conservation Centre and Apprentice programme.

The RAF Museum apprentice scheme was launched in 2005 at our Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC), with a vision of preserving heritage aviation skills. The scheme ensures that apprentices are trained in subjects such as Heritage Aircraft Conservation & Restoration, Aircraft Carpentry and Welding & Fabrication. Since then, the scheme and its participants have gone from strength to strength, with local and national recognition and awards and the MBCC is now listed as one of the country’s Top 100 Apprentice Employers in the UK.

The Michael Beetham Conservation Centre, located at our Midlands site, is responsible for aircraft and large 3-D artefacts in the Museum and those on loan. A world centre of excellence, its primary function includes care, conservation, and restoration of the National Collection along with the movement or suspension of aircraft or large exhibits. Current projects include long term restoration of the Wellington, the Hampden, and the Dornier.

Darren Priday, Manager, Michael Beetham Conservation Centre:
“I am proud that our Apprenticeship scheme is being recognised by the Nachural Summer Business Ball and Awards. It is acknowledgement for all the hard work put in by the mentors in developing the skills of the apprentices, along with the desire of the apprentices to learn and better themselves for their future careers.

There are not a lot of Apprenticeship schemes where one minute you are restoring an undercarriage door from a Bristol Brigand, and preparing aircraft for exhibitions, and the next minute you’re building a Spitfire in the middle of the Shrewsbury food festival, such is the diverse work they get involved with, all with a smile on their faces.”

Winners will be announced at the prestigious Nachural Summer Business Ball & Awards 2022 being held at Wolverhampton Racecourse on Friday 8 July.


RAF Bircham Newton Heritage Centre 60th Anniversary Event

Friday, July 1st, 2022

RAF Bircham Newton Heritage Centre

On Sunday 31st July, we are holding a special event to remember the 60th Anniversary of the closure of RAF Bircham Newton in 1962.

Featuring Tony Nelson’s amazing model aircraft, Docking Heritage Group and Dreamy Hollow Woodland Campsite and WW1 Trenches.

Open 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, refreshments available, free entry and parking.

We’re also open on Sunday 17th July, as normal.