Archive for the ‘UK Aviation Museum News’ Category

Operation Moonraker – Sywell Aviation Museum’s new aircraft!

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Sywell Jetstream

With the collapse of Handley Page Aircraft Ltd in 1970, Terravia Ltd/Jetstream Aircraft Ltd formed at Sywell and purchased 21 incomplete Jetstream MK1 airframes. They were then roaded from Radlett to Sywell. Several aircraft were completed before production moved to Leavesden under the auspices of Scottish Aviation. All remained in primer. The aircraft type was a major success following the acquisition of SA by British Aerospace and was further developed over the next 30 years from the Series 200 on to the Jetstream 31, 32 and 41. Many remain in service.


First flew on 17/4/1969. Registered as N1035S – To Cal State Airlines – C.1970– Purchased back by Jetstream Ltd Parent company Terravia Ltd and moved to Sywell as their demonstrator.

In 1971 she became the Jetstream Ltd demonstrator aircraft based at Sywell and participated in Daily Express National Air Race On 12th June 1971 between Biggin Hill and Sywell – and won! Flight Magazine noted:

“The Jetstream Mkl flown by Capt Bill Bright, streaked dramatically past the finishing line like a hunted fox” The trophy was presented by Douglas Bader.

On 22nd February 1974 she was re-registered as G-AWVK to Racal Decca Navigator Ltd as sales demonstrator and test bed then sold to Cranfield University in July 1990 and registered as G-RAVL.

She was retired in 2000 and was used as part of the University’s Aircraft Crash Investigation Course until recently. With the retirement of their current Jetstream G-NFLA her future was uncertain and she lay abandoned at the end of the runway at Cranfield.

Contact was made by Sywell Aviation Museum in late 2018 and the University very kindly agreed to donate her to the Museum for use as a classroom. The University has a long history of helping redundant airframes into preservation and their donation means that she can be used as a teaching aid again.

The Museum believes G-RAVL – now known as Jenny the Jetstream to be the third oldest Jetstream in existence and only a couple of serial numbers off the famous Apollo Airways Jetstream used in the opening sequence of the Bond movie – Moonraker….hence the name of the plan!

The project took 2 years to come to fruition. Handley Page clearly never intended for their work to be taken apart and Jetstream wing spars are notoriously difficult to access and work on. Extensive depanelling took place and then, without warning we were devastated to learn she had been broken into and items stolen including instruments, windows and even the pilot’s seat cushions!

Then COVID hit effectively putting the whole project on hold. Work carried on sporadically during 2020, with her tailplane and elevator, wing control surfaces and propellers being removed for transport.

So what are our plans? Well the Museum has taken over 16000 young people round the aerodrome over the last 20 years and we need a classroom! We have never before been able to put children INSIDE an aeroplane and the Jetstream will be perfect for that – she is even equipped with Airstairs.


On the morning of the 23rd March 2021 the aircraft wings were removed and she was transported back to Sywell, where she last visited in the 1970s, and is in the process of being reassembled.

When fitted out inside and repainted she will wear a refreshed colour scheme of G-RAVL on one side with Cranfield titles and G-AWVK on the other with Racal Decca titles. She will be a much valued asset to the Museum and will improve what we can offer our visitors – especially our younger ones- AND we have saved a piece of British aviation heritage which otherwise would have gone for scrap (and was at genuine risk of doing so!)

So what’s next? We need the following to begin to restore her:

Jetstream passenger seats, Jetstream interior panels Jetstream fuselage windows

We are looking for someone or a company to help trim her out inside since as part of her use as a training aid her interior aft of the cockpit has been stripped out. If you can help with retrimming and fitting out her interior we can proudly put your logo on her fin!
And we need your support – moving her was the biggest project the Museum has ever undertaken – if you would like to donate please contact us or we welcome your Paypal donations to

The Museum has been hit hard by COVID and plans to reopen on the 12th June 2021 and will then reopen each weekend and bank holiday between 1030-1630hrs and Tuesday and Wednesday between 1200-1600hrs until the end of September.

Before that the Museum has a book and model sale on the 22nd May 2021 between 1000-1600 and we welcome your donation of model kits and accessories to sell to raise funds.

With sincere thanks to The University of Cranfield, , Dave Thomas and all at Sywell Aerodrome

Brooklands Museum is the star of its own television series

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

Brooklands Museum

A brand new UKTV Original Series dedicated to Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey, is due to hit screens on Tuesday 30th March on Yesterday channel.

Narrated by Sanjeev Bhaskar, Secrets of the Transport Museum is a 10-part series set at the world-renowned Brooklands Museum. It is the first time in the Museum’s 30-year history that cameras have been allowed to film so much behind the scenes. The series follows the dedicated band of staff and volunteers who devote their time, skills and passion to maintaining the collection and preserving the site’s incredible legacies.

Brooklands Museum is home to some of the most important stories of motorsport and aviation history in the world. From the first ever purpose?built racing circuit and the cars that broke land?speed records on it, to an extraordinary collection of aircraft spanning over 100 years of aeronautical innovation ? Brooklands has it all.

Originally established in 1907, when the Lock King’s built the race track, the site quickly became a mecca for innovators and everyday people who wanted to race a car, fly a plane, or simply get caught up in the thrill of watching something so new and adventurous. Men and women flocked from across the globe to experience the revolution in motorsport and aviation, and Brooklands gave opportunities of mass employment to the local people of Weybridge and neighbouring towns.

Tamalie Newbery, Brooklands Museum Director & CEO said:
“At Brooklands Museum we tell the stories of pioneering men and women, who risked it all in pursuit of their dreams of speed and flight in the 20th century. Brooklands was a place which fuelled innovation and it had a huge influence on today’s motorsport and aviation industries. I’m delighted the TV series is going to give more people the chance to find out about this inspiring place, and how we care for it today.”

Viewers can expect to see a myriad of historic racing cars, vintage London buses, Edwardian planes and even Concorde. In one episode, Billy Monger gives a driving lesson to a fellow double amputee, and in another, the team recreate the Dam Buster bouncing bomb catapult, in honour of inventor Barnes Wallis’ daughter, who turns up for the occasion.

At a time when motor racing was almost exclusively a male sport, we are introduced to the infamous Belles of Brooklands; a group of pioneering women who raced on level terms with men in the 1920s. The V12 Delage was once the car of choice of Kay Petre, and now the car has returned 100 years later, to be driven by a modern-day racing driver, Abbie Eaton.

The new series airs at 8pm on Tuesday 30th March on Yesterday channel and will also be available on catch?up on UKTV Play.

RAF Bircham Newton Heritage Centre Open Days 2021

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

RAF Bircham Newton Heritage Centre

Providing that government plans do not change before the summer, we are planning to re-open our Heritage Centre on 6 days this year from June to November taking into account all the safety measures required.

The Heritage Centre at Bircham Newton has a unique collection of memorabilia from the former Royal Air Force station’s past service, which spanned more than 44 years, including two world wars and the Cold War. On display are photographs and personal memories of servicemen who served there and other related items from its fascinating history. The Centre is manned and run entirely by volunteers, many of whom are ex-servicemen or children of service personnel. Close by there are two stone memorials to remember those who served at Bircham Newton and its main satellite airfield near Docking.

Sunday, 27th of June
Sunday, 25th of July
Sunday, 29th of August
Sunday, 26th of September
Sunday, 31st of October
Sunday, 14th of November (Remembrance Sunday)
Opening times are from 10am to 4pm

Disabled access & toilets will be available, and car parking and entrance will be free.

RAF Rugby 7’s take Lancaster Challenge to new heights

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

RAF Rugby 7's

Date: Register online now, complete your Challenge by 17 May 2021
Cost: £20 per person / £17 Armed Forces Personnel
RAF Rugby 7’s: 24-hour Challenge, 21 May 2021, RAF Museum Cosford to Derwent Reservoir, Derbyshire

On 9 January the Royal Air Force Museum launched the Lancaster Challenge, a virtual event where participants could choose whether to complete 80K, 150K, or 500K in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Lancaster. Showing their support for the Museum, members of the RAF Rugby 7’s team will be taking the challenge to new heights when they attempt to complete more than 500K in just 24 hours!

Since the Challenge launched in January, more than 4,700 participants from around the world have used the Lancaster Challenge as motivation to keep them moving during lockdown. There is still time to register and reach your chosen distance, before the challenge closes on 17 May, the anniversary of the Lancaster’s famous Operation Chastise, better known as the Dambusters Raid, and then get your hands on the bespoke Lancaster Challenge medal.

RAF personnel stationed across the UK and overseas, are showing their support for the Museum’s virtual event by taking part, none more so than the RAF Rugby 7’s. While the majority of the team members are already clocking up the kilometres, walking, running and cycling their way through the start of 2021, on Friday 21 May two teams of RAF Rugby 7’s players will undertake the mammoth task of competing day and night, by foot or in the saddle, to complete their 500K Challenge in just 24 hours.

This huge fundraising effort to help keep the RAF Museum ‘flying’, will be run in line with the latest government guidelines. A cycling team will set off from RAF Museum Cosford in Shropshire, cycling the 135km route to the Derwent Reservoir, Derbyshire, where they will join the running team completing relay laps of the reservoir, and together they will continue for the remaining hours of the challenge. The reservoir is significant for the Lancaster having been selected by the RAF’s celebrated 617 Squadron to perform low-level practice sorties in Lancaster’s, in preparation for Operation Chastise and the use of their ‘bouncing bombs’.

Find out more about the RAF Rugby 7 members taking part in this extraordinary take on the Lancaster Challenge and how you can support them at

RAF Museum Individual Giving Manager, Abi Betteridge said:
“We are delighted to have the RAF Rugby 7’s team supporting the challenge in this rather unique way, and we look forward to cheering them on as they set of from Cosford in May. The team are not only working hard training in preparation for the Challenge, they are also working hard to fundraise. The impact of the pandemic and closure of our two Museums has been immense. We estimate that the crisis has reduced our total self-generated income by over £3M and this figure continues to grow whilst we continue to be closed to the public.

Sponsorship from the RAF Rugby 7’s and more than 250 individual Lancaster Challenge fundraisers will enable the RAF Museum, as a registered charity, to continue to share the stories of the crews who showed incredible bravery flying missions for Bomber Command, and the wider RAF story, to engage, inspire and encourage future learning. So far, in addition to entry fee’s, we have raised over £29,000 plus £5,000 in Gift Aid, we had originally set a target of £30,000, so we are well on our way to exceeding this. Anyone wanting to support the Rugby 7’s can do so by visiting their JustGiving page.”

If you are looking for some inspiration to get outdoors and get moving now Spring is on its way, it’s not too late to sign up. As a virtual event, the Lancaster Challenge can be completed anywhere, anytime, to fit in with your daily routine either individually, or with members of your household bubble. To join the 4,700 Challenge participants go to, simply choose whether to complete 80K, 150K or 500K, record your distance on the downloadable log sheet and once the Challenge closes on 17 May you will be rewarded with an exclusive, Lancaster Challenge medal!

Participants can stay connected, meet other Challengers and share their progress as they complete the Challenge by joining the RAF Museum Virtual Running Group on Facebook. When sharing updates on social media, Tag @rafmuseum in your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or with #LancasterChallenge2021.

Limited edition Lancaster Challenge T-shirts are also available to purchase when registering online. The souvenir T-shirts cost £14.00 and will be delivered with your medal following the end of the challenge. Sizes range from small to XX Large. Or why not join the Museum’s growing team of fundraisers, pledge to raise £80 for the RAF Museum and receive your souvenir Lancaster Challenge t-shirt for free. Select the sponsorship option when signing up online and the Museum’s fundraising team will be in touch with some handy tips to kick start your fundraising.

To register for the Lancaster Challenge visit Entry costs £20 per person, or £17 for Armed Forces Personnel, all proceeds will go towards supporting the RAF Museum (registered charity number 244708), additional booking and postage charges apply for overseas participants.

Newark Air Museum’s Roadmap to Re-Opening

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Aerial view of Newark Air Museum

Since the Government’s announcements on Monday 22nd February the museum trustees have been checking the details of the announcement and deciding how they might go about re-opening the museum, whilst complying with the regulations. Initially, there was some doubt whether or not we might be allowed to open outside from 12th April’ 2021, followed by the whole site including Hangars from 17th May.

On Wednesday 24th February, 2021 we managed to secure clarification from DCMS (Department for Culture Media & Sports) via AIM (the Association of Independent Museums) that suggests we should be allowed to open the outside display areas from 12th April, 2021 albeit the detailed regulations will not be known until mid-March; so things could still change.

Even with that in mind the museum is now looking at the following arrangements being made.

Opening outside displays

Opening the external displays at the museum on three days per week, typically Friday, Saturday and Sunday; commencing Friday 16th April (with the option to switch from Friday to Monday on the May 3rd for the early May Day Bank Holiday Weekend). This will be at a reduced admission rate to reflect the reduced number of exhibits that can be seen.

As part of this re-opening the Museum Shop will also reopen under the changes to non-essential retail and offer take-out service will be offered from the Café.

After an assessment of aircraft conditions, the museum will instigate a cleaning programme for external exhibits, with the work being undertaken by the museum’s working members. It is anticipated that this will take place in early April, whilst working to the anticipated Rule of Six Regulations. Arrangements for working members attending the museum to undertake this work will be co-ordinated through the museum’s Restoration Manager.

Opening Hangars & inside displays

The initial aim is towards opening the internal displays at the museum on a normal basis, from Monday 17th May; this will be in line with the relevant Covid-Secure Regulations, which may be subject to change.

Current thoughts regarding 2021 Museum Events

Sadly, the museum has already cancelled the Cold War Call-Up event that was planned for May, 2021.

An Outdoor Aeroboot/Aerojumble will be organised for Saturday 3rd July, 2021.

The Cockpit-Fest 21 & Aeroboot event has been rescheduled to take place on the August Bank Holiday Weekend of 28th, 29th & 30th August, 2021.

The museum still plans to run an Autumn 1940s Weekend event on 2nd & 3rd October, 2021.

Please be aware ALL of these proposals are subject to change by government legislation at any time. We will post regular updates on our website and also on our Social Media feeds.

As a volunteer managed registered charity the museum relies on public admission fees, shop sales etc. to fund its operation and it has become ever reliant on the generosity of our visitors, volunteers and staff in these unprecedented and challenging times. Online donations can still be made via our Just Giving Page

GAF Jindivik being transferred to Newark Air Museum

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

GAF Jindivik being transferred to Newark

Despite the Newark Air Museum being closed due to the latest Covid-19 Lockdown and the museum staff being furloughed, work behind the scenes has continued. The museum trustees are pleased to advise that thanks to a collection review by Aerospace Bristol, the museum will soon be taking ownership of GAF Jindivik, A92-708.

The Jindivik is currently in store at Aerospace Bristol’s site at Patchway, Bristol. When Covid guidelines allow, this example of the famous reusable pilotless target aircraft will be moved to Newark’s Gateway Aviation Site in in eastern Nottinghamshire, close to the county border with Lincolnshire.

As an Accredited Museum, the trustees of Newark Air Museum were able to facilitate the transfer of this exhibit in quite a simple manner. The trustees are grateful to the assistance provided by Stefanie Vincent AMA, Collections Manager at Aerospace Bristol throughout the decision making process.

“We are extremely grateful to Aerospace Bristol for helping us to complete this latest acquisition”, commented museum trustee Colin Savill, he continued. “From its use a target drone the Jindivik lies within two of our collecting remits; it will also complement the museum’s UAV display. The UAV display was established as a collaborative exercise with the Institute of Engineering and Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG) at the University of Nottingham and the RAF Museum, Hendon.”

“Firstly, it fits within our training collection where we have a considerable aircraft collection and other training aids. Secondly it complements our developing munitions display including Blue Steel, Yellow Sun, various missiles and bomb disposal equipment.”

He concluded, “The current plan is to display the Jindivik outdoors, with a longer term aim of displaying it under cover. We are really looking forward to adding this to our collection.”

Striding into the New Year with the Lancaster Challenge

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Lancaster Challengre Medal

Date: Registration now open, challenge finishes on 17 May 2021 Cost: £20 per person

The Royal Air Force Museum is striding into the New Year with a brand-new virtual challenge, where participants can choose whether to complete 80K, 150K or even 500K!

Registrations for the Lancaster Challenge opened on Saturday 9 January 2021, exactly 80 years since the first test flight of the Avro Lancaster. Whether you need to walk off the Christmas calories, or get outdoors to beat the lockdown blues, participants of the Lancaster Challenge can walk, run, hike, swim, cycle or row their way to the finish line. Participants will have access to a downloadable log sheet to record their 80K, 150K or 500K distance, before being rewarded with an exclusive, Lancaster Challenge medal after the challenge closes on 17 May, the anniversary of Operation CHASTISE, better known as the Dambusters Raid.

As a virtual race, the Lancaster Challenge can be completed anywhere in the world. Within the first 48 hours of registrations opening, more than 1,850 people have signed up to participate, with entries flying in from across the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, America, Singapore and Thailand. The Armed Forces Community are also showing their support for the Challenge with more than 400 Armed Forces Personnel already taking part.

Online registration is now open at, entry costs £20 per person and all proceeds will go towards supporting the RAF Museum (registered charity number 244708) to enable the Museum to continue sharing the RAF story – past, present and future.

RAF Museum London Public Events Manager, Ella Hewitt said:
“The Lancaster Challenge was due to start on the 2 March, 79 years since the Lancaster’s first mission with the RAF, but we want to keep people motivated and moving in lockdown, so you can begin the challenge as soon as you sign up! Whether you choose to complete 80K, 150K or 500K, participants can select the distance to suit their ability and complete it anytime, anywhere, individually, or with members of their household bubble. The Challenge is open to participants of all ages, but we do recommend under 16’s are accompanied by an adult.”

This year’s bespoke medal design features the Lancaster, arguably the most famous, and certainly the most successful heavy bomber operated by the RAF during the Second World War. With an impressive performance and excellent flying characteristics, the Lancaster soon established its superiority over its rivals. Indeed, it was described by Marshal of the RAF, Sir Arthur Harris, Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command, as ‘the greatest single factor in winning the war’. The Lancaster on display at RAF Museum London, known as S for ‘Sugar’ has a distinguished operational record having flown 139 missions during the Second World War.

RAF Museum CEO Maggie Appleton said:
“During these difficult times, looking after our mental and physical health is important for us all. Key to planning our recovery during the next few weeks and months is that we concentrate more than ever on looking after ourselves and each other and that is why we are encouraging all our staff to take time-out of their day, while working from home, to get outdoors and enjoy some daily exercise. Our staff will be leading the way by participating in the Lancaster Challenge and we hope families, participants from our previous challenge events, along with our friends in the RAF and partner organisations will join us. Support from our Challengers enables us to keep the doors of our Museums open for all generations to enjoy.”

Participants can stay connected and make new friends as they complete the Challenge by joining the RAF Museum Virtual Running Group on Facebook. Meet other Challengers, share your progress and ask fellow participants for advice. However you choose to complete the challenge, the Museum would love to hear from you! Tag @rafmuseum in your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or with #LancasterChallenge2021.

Limited edition Lancaster Challenge T-shirts are also available to purchase when registering online. The souvenir T-shirts cost £14.00 and will be delivered with your medal following the end of the challenge. Sizes range from small to XX Large.

Or why not consider fundraising for the RAF Museum, pledge to raise £80 and receive your souvenir Lancaster Challenge t-shirt for free, delivered with your medal at the end of the challenge. Starting your fundraising could not be simpler, select the sponsorship option when signing up online and head to our Lancaster Challenge JustGiving page. Once you have set up your JustGiving page, our team will be in touch with some handy tips to kick start your fundraising.

To register for the Lancaster Challenge visit Entry costs £20 per person, additional booking and postage charges apply for overseas participants.

Vintage Desford plane charts course for public display

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

RS Desford

A vintage plane offering a glimpse into Leicestershire’s aviation history is set to move from storage to a new home in an aircraft museum.

Leicestershire County Council is considering moving the Reid and Sigrist Desford ‘Bobsleigh’ plane – nicknamed the ‘Desford Bomber’ – to Newark Air Museum where it will go on public display.

The twin engine light aircraft, built as a prototype trainer in 1945 in Desford, was acquired by the council in 2005 and took to the skies for a successful test flight in 2018 after being restored by Windmill Aviation.

Currently in the care of the specialist team who restored it at Spanhoe Aerodrome, the council’s museum service has never had the space to display the aircraft when fully assembled.

Councillor Richard Blunt, cabinet member for heritage, said: “This in an important plane that offers a fascinating insight into engineering and aviation history and a transfer to Newark Air Museum will ensure it can be put on display for all to see.

Newark Air Museum have shown they can provide the long-term care it requires. Their specialist expertise in interpreting, displaying and conserving aircraft will ensure that the plane is publicly accessible, appropriately interpreted and continues to be properly cared for and maintained.”

Howard Heeley, Newark Air Museum Trustee, said: “The museum trustees are excited at the possibility of being able to display the unique Desford aircraft, which fits several criteria in our Collecting Policy.

It will be a wonderful addition to our collection and we are pleased that it will now be displayed in the local area for everyone to enjoy.”

The proposal will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on 15 December – watch the meeting online at:

Great News – Newark Air Museum Re-Opening

Monday, November 30th, 2020

Newark Air Museum Re-Opening

The Newark Air Museum (NAM) is a registered charity, located in eastern Nottinghamshire; close to the border with Lincolnshire; like many similar organisations it has been closed throughout the second Covid-19 lockdown.

The good news is that the museum will re-open to the public on Saturday 5th December at 10am. Throughout December and the Christmas Holiday period it will also be open on the following days; however, some restrictions will be in place:

Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th December
Weds 9th December
Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th December
Weds 16th December
Saturday 19th to Wednesday 23rd December (inclusive)
Sunday 27th to Thurs 31st December (inclusive)
Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd January 2021

To comply with the regulations, NAM will not be able to open the 2 Aircraft Display Hangars, the Engine Hall or the Small Object Display Hall to visitors, so only the outdoor exhibits will be accessible. There is no need to pre-book to pay NAM a visit. However, visitors will need to comply with Tier 3 Covid Regulations & Guidance. The museum has well-proven COVID-secure measures in place, allowing everyone to enjoy a socially distanced visit in a safe and Covid-Secure manner.

Under this revised method of opening visitors will be able wander around NAM’s 16-acre site and be able to see:
• 26 aircraft & helicopters (c/w ongoing restoration work on some days)
• 3 fuselage restoration projects
• 5 aircraft cockpits
• The Museum Memorial Garden
• The Dig For Victory Garden
• Various munitions – Yellow Sun, Blue Steel, ZPU-4 etc.
• The NAM Red Barrows
• The famous ex RAF Swinderby Post Box

In recognition of this much reduced offer the trustees have lowered the admission cost to £5 per adult (all ages), with FREE admission to accompanied children under the age of 16. Visitors with Motability needs should be aware that some exhibits are displayed on grass and these can be difficult to access during wet conditions – NAM is sorry about this, but please be aware if you plan to visit.

To comply with the regulations, there will only be a takeaway service from the Museum Café. This means that there will be no indoor seating available to eat or drink any purchases. The picnic benches outside will be accessible but visitors should comply with the Tier 3 Covid regulations. The food options will be limited to pre-packed sandwiches; cakes; snacks; hot & cold drinks; plus, our famed Toasties & Paninis – please remember that these have to be consumed outside the café.

The Museum Shop will be open as normal, for all of those aviation purchases such as aircraft kits, modelling supplies; books etc. – we recommend shopping early for Christmas, as some suppliers are struggling to provide us with requested stock.

Our revised opening times for this month are 10am-3pm (last admission at 2pm). The Museum Café will close 30 minutes before closing time. The Museum Shop will close at the same time as the museum, with last admissions for shoppers into the shop being 20 minutes before closing time.

We will however keep these dates under review and may change them if Tier 3 Regulations or our circumstances alter. We suggest that you keep up to speed by checking the website on a regular basis; following us on Twitter or by calling 01636 707170 before you visit.

The Christmas gift that gives twice

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

RAF Museum Christmas Gift Box

Instead of participating in predictable gift swapping this festive season, give your loved one a gift with meaning, something that will continue to give beyond Christmas Day, by also supporting the work of the Royal Air Force Museum.

The Museum’s Adopt an Artefact programme provides the ideal opportunity to find an unusual gift for the person who has everything, as well as making your money go a little further by giving to charity. The artefact adoption process is quick and simple, order online at and cut out stressful shopping trips.

A Christmas Gift Box from the Defence Catering Group is the latest artefact to be made available for adoption, alongside more than 60 other objects ranging from tiny badges with major honours, to clothing that is more than just a fashion statement. The Christmas Gift Box package sent to RAF personnel serving overseas at Christmas is a timely reminder of the Christmases that many families have spent apart, and the importance in bringing a touch of home and Christmas joy to the ones you love, wherever they may be.

This RAF tradition began in 1914 when Princess Mary supported the creation of a fund to pay for a Christmas gift box to be sent to every serving member of the UK Armed Forces. Originally made of brass, its contents included smoking materials, chocolate and a photograph of the Princess. The Museum’s Christmas Gift Box available for adoption was distributed to RAF personnel serving in Iraq, and contained food, toiletry and novelty items including a stress ball, flashing red nose and a Christmas card, echoing the sentiments behind the 1914 one, while helping to maintain morale for those deployed away from home at Christmas.

Those adopting an artefact in the run up to Christmas will receive a Christmas card and the option to add a bespoke RAF Museum gift for just £7.50. Choose from a Christmas bauble, snowflake mug, festive fudge, or advent calendar. All adoptions with the additional gift placed by the 18 December are guaranteed to arrive in time for you to present your loved one with their card and gift on Christmas Day.

Make your gift stand out this year. Whether you adopt the Christmas Gift Box for someone you can’t be with on Christmas Day, the Burma Star for someone you look up to, or perhaps a lucky mascot to give courage and hope to inspire a dear friend, these alternative gifts with fascinating stories are not something you see in your average Christmas stocking! If your Christmas tradition includes hours of playing games with family, our Playing Cards with Hidden Maps would make the ideal adoption for the one who always finds a sneaky way to win! For the chocoholic in the family who cannot resist reaching into the sweet tin, the Chocolate and Sugar Confectionary Coupon Card adoption means there is no need to feel guilty about the calories consumed. Adopt an Artefact in the name of someone you love, and know that your gift will keep on giving, as support from adoptees will help the Museum to continue sharing the RAF Story, past, present and future, while engaging and encouraging learning.

Starting at £25.00, adoptions last for 12 months starting from 25 December. All adoptees will receive a digital adoption certificate and photo of their adopted artefact, along with exclusive updates and information on your chosen object throughout the year. Recognition of your adoption will feature alongside the object on Collections Online, the Museum’s new digital collections system, where you can add a dedicated message along with the name of adoptee. For more details on how to Adopt an Artefact and to browse the items available, visit

You can also show support for the Museum by purchasing a gift from the Museum’s onsite and online shops, packed with a wide selection of items, including many unique designs.

This season’s must have accessory you can’t be seen without, and a great stocking filler, is the Museum’s bespoke reusable face mask, available in Spitfire and Second World War Pilot designs, just £6.00 each. For the little ones, the Sunderland flying boat bath toy for just £6.00 is an ideal alternative to a rubber duck, while our Spitfire plush toy for £20.00, Red Arrows Die Cast model for £16.00 and flying suits available in green and Red Arrows designs for £35.00, are all great gifts for budding pilots of all ages.

If you’re looking to kit out your loved one with some new clothing this year, browse a varied selection of t-shirts, jumpers and jackets online, including a Spitfire motif V-neck jumper for just £35.00. Wrapping up warm this winter won’t be a problem with the RAF stripe scarf for £34.50, and the new black leather roundel gloves for £49.00. Finish off the look with a Spitfire Ace pilot watch for £35.00, or RAF wings sweetheart silver brooch for just £30.00. To view the full RAF Museum Shop range visit

The Museum is planning to re-open its doors to visitors on Saturday 5 December (Government guidelines permitting) with a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at