Archive for November, 2022

RAF Museum honours Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with artefacts for adoption

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

Boulton Paul Defiant at RAF Museum

In celebration of the Royal Air Force Museum’s 50th Anniversary, five artefacts spanning five decades have been made available for adoption. The new anniversary artefacts have each been chosen by a Curator to tell the story of the Museum and its early years, including two objects with a special Royal connection.

A remarkable piece of footage showing Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opening the Museum is the first of five new artefacts in the adoptable collection. Filmed by one of the Museum’s first curators on the 15 November 1972, the footage shows Her Majesty arriving at the Museum, signing the guest book, and unveiling a commemorate plaque. The plaque remains on display at the Museum’s London site to this day and the film of the Royal visit is part of the Museum’s digital collection.

The pen used by Her Majesty to sign the visitor book on the Museum’s opening day is now available for adoption. An ornate silver quill pen had been acquired for the occasion, but hours before the Royal opening a message came from Buckingham Palace advising the Queen did not use quill pens. The Officer in charge of the ceremony quickly found a replacement pen in the Officer Commanding RAF Hendon’s office. This inconspicuous pen, used by Her Majesty on the day was never used again and is kept in the Museum’s reserve collection, at Stafford.

Found in the Museum’s archive collection is a photograph album complied by RAF personnel showing the last days of RAF Hendon and the beginnings of the RAF Museum London. The photographs capture the station’s role changing, including the removal of the original entrance to RAF Hendon, and a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh, the Museum’s former patron, during the construction phase. This unusual adoption provides an extraordinary photographic account of the landscape changing into what we recognise today, and a tantalising insight into the Museum’s history.

To mark the Museum’s 50th anniversary a new art exhibition ‘To the Stars’ opened in London. Included in this is Cyril Power’s Lino Cut ‘Air Raid’ a visual representation of a dog fight, and of Power’s service in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. This adoptable artefact is one of the first artworks acquired by the Museum’s inaugural director, John Tanner, in the mid 70s.

The fifth anniversary artefact is the Bouton Paul Defiant, the sole surviving example of its type. The aircraft was part of the original displays at the RAF Museum London when it opened in 1972. It has since moved to the Museum’s Midlands site, which is a fitting home for an aircraft manufactured in Wolverhampton. The Defiant was a two-seat turret fighter which operated?with mixed fortunes during the Battle of Britain period. It found it’s niche as a night fighter in the 1940-42 period, as well as extensive use later in the war for air-sea rescue and target tug roles in the UK and Middle and Far East.

Ella Hewitt, RAF Museum Individual Giving Manager said:
‘There are so many wonderful objects that could have told the story of the Museum, it was difficult to choose five. The artefacts we selected show a really nice cross section of our story and the breadth of our collection. We have something from our Archives, an item from our store in Stafford, a digitised piece of film, something from our new art exhibition and lastly, an aircraft that has been on display at both sites.’

Adoptees will all receive a 50th anniversary edition digital photo, certificate, online recognition with a personalised message, and exclusive updates throughout the year.

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. Starting at £25.00, adoptions last 12 months from the date they are adopted. People can browse the items and adopt online at

Serving personnel will lead RAF Museum Remembrance Service

Friday, November 4th, 2022

RAF Museum Midlands Remembrance Service

Date: Sunday 13 November
Time: 10.30am arrival / 10.45am service commences
Cost: FREE

The Royal Air Force Museum Midlands will hold a Service of Remembrance on Sunday 13 November, paying respect to those service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during their tours of duty.

Visitors who wish to reflect and pay their respects are invited to join the service, led by RAF Cosford Station Chaplain Rev (Sqn Ldr) John Mbayo. The Service will be supported by RAF Cosford personnel and include readings, with a bugler sounding ‘The Last Post’, followed by two minutes of silence.

Those attending will also enjoy hymns on arrival and throughout the service courtesy of the Cosford Military Wives Choir. During the service, a selection of poems written by local children will be read aloud, with many more poems displayed on a remembrance wall for guests to read and reflect. Wreaths will be laid at the end of the service, in honour of those who have fallen in the line of duty.

The Remembrance Service will take place in the Museum’s Hangar 1 against a backdrop of aircraft, and free tickets for up to 300 guests are available to book in advance at Visitors are politely requested to assemble no later than 10.30am ready for the Service to commence at 10.45am. Visitors are also encouraged to take time to explore the Museum at their own leisure after the service.

In the build up to Remembrance Sunday, visitors to the Museum are invited to contribute a personal act of remembrance by writing a message that will feature in a display at the Museum over the remembrance period.

The Museum is open daily from 10.00am and admission is free. Discover more about the Museum and pre-book your arrival time online at