Posts Tagged ‘2009’

Upcoming RAF Museum Events

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Strictly Come Visiting

If you are a fan of the Royal Air Force Museum as well as Strictly Come Dancing then you’re in for an added bonus this weekend when the Museum appears on the programme as part of a segment which demonstrates to the remaining couples how the Lindyhop should be danced.

The routine will be demonstrated by Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas, resident dancers of the show, who have previously demonstrated the Charlston and a Rock and Roll routine to competitors.

If you would like to catch them and the Museum in action, tune into BBC1 at 18:45 on Saturday.


To celebrate the launch of Arthur Ward’s The Boy’s Book of Airfix Ebury Press are staging an attempt to create a Guinness World Record for the largest number of model Spitfires made in a day, in conjunction with Airfix and the RAF Museum.

On Sat 19th December, hundreds of kids, parents and Airfix enthusiasts will descend on London’s RAF Museum to take part in a marathon kit-building workshop, enter our box-art competition, and hear expert Arthur Ward discuss the history of Airfix and of the Spitfire itself with two veteran fighter pilots (Lecture Theatre, 12.00-1.00).

We have been inundated with responses so please do pop along to talk to some of the children taking part. Arthur Ward, author of The Boys’ Book of Airfix will be on hand to comment, as will Darrell Burge, of Hornby – the company that rescued Airfix from bankruptcy in 2006. We are also expecting James May to make an appearance.

It’s a timely moment as James Mays’ recent BBC2 series Toy Stories has created unprecedented levels of interest in Airfix. Darrell Burge, of Airfix at Hornby, reports that sales of Airfix Scale Aircraft kits have gone up by up five-fold in most accounts as well as on their website, explaining that at one point, a week after the programme aired, they only had one Spitfire kit left in stock! Retailers similarly note James May’s programme as the driving force behind Airfix’s recent popularity with Colin, owner of Colin Bliss Models in Essex describing that ‘it is as if they have been re-invented’. Tracy Matthews, Lendons of Cardiff, said ‘the day after the Airfix programme was aired, we had so many customers in to buy plastic models. Most were wanting the Spitfire, but our whole wall was ransacked. It was an incredible thing to happen’.

As you can see, this is a national phenomenon. If you’d like more info on this and on our World Record attempt do get in touch…


Chief of Air Staff opens new exhibition

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

12th November saw the launch of the Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low exhibition at the National Cold War Exhibition at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.The combat Search & Rescue Helicopter is the first aircraft of its type to go on display in the UK and was kindly donated by the United States Air Force. The supporting exhibition which greatly enhances the display was made possible by sponsorship from Sikorsky.

The opening was conducted by Air Chief Marshal Sir Steven Dalton RAF Chief of Air Staff. Sir Stephen also took a tour of the Cosford site including a visit to the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC).

David Powell, Sikorsky Vice President, Sales, The Americas & Global Oil:

“The National Cold War Exhibition in the RAF Museum at Cosford will provide a marvellous historical perspective of this time period, and the inclusion of the venerable Sikorsky MH-53 PAVE LOW helicopter will add to the historical perspective. We are excited about the opportunity to provide sponsorship for this exhibition and to continue to rekindle the strong legacy of Sikorsky Aircraft in the United Kingdom”

Museum Launches Online Book of Remembrance

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

As part of its latest online exhibition, Lest We Forget, the Royal Air Force Museum has opened an electronic Book of Remembrance to commemorate the memory of those who have served in the Royal Air Force and its sister services, the Royal Flying Corps, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and the Women’s Royal Air Force.

Click here for online exhibition

Speaking about the online exhibition, Air Vice Marshal (retired) Peter Dye, the Head of the Museum’s Collections Division, stated:

” Lest We Forget is a poignant and unflinching exhibition that highlights the sacrifices made by those that have served in the Royal Air Force since its formation more than 90 years ago. It invites us to reflect on the impact on families and loved ones; whilst exploring the invaluable work of the agencies and support networks that bring practical aid and comfort to those who have suffered bereavement.

The central theme of the exhibition is the importance of Remembrance to individuals, to the Royal Air Force and to the nation. As a personal act of Remembrance, online visitors are invited to record a personal tribute to those that lost their lives serving their country. Each memorial will be incorporated in a virtual ‘Book of Remembrance’ that can be viewed by visitors to the Museum’s website as a tribute to those brave men and women, who fought, and who continue to fight, to preserve the ideals of liberty and democracy. ”

In addition to the launch of the above exhibition both of the Royal Air Force Museum’s sites at Cosford and London will be holding a Service of Remembrance to which members of the public are invited to attend. Cosford’s Remembrance Service will take place on Sunday 8th of November at 10:45 am in the Museum’s Hangar 1; whilst the London service will take place at 11am on Wednesday 11th by the Museum’s Lancaster Bomber, in Bomber Hall. The Museum’s London site will also hold a weekend of Remembrance activities on 7th and 8th of November where children are invited to decorate a poppy petal as part of a collage and to create a plaque which will be posted in a temporary Wall of Remembrance located in the Museum’s Aeronauts Interactive Gallery.

Both of the Museum’s sites will also show ‘Lest We Forget’ as a physical exhibition for those who may not have web access. For further details please visit and select “What’s On This Month” for the Museum site that you wish to visit.

The Royal Air Force Museum London and the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford are open daily from 10am to 6pm. Last admission to both sites is 5.30pm. Entry to both sites is free.


Flying Sikhs – A History of Sikh Fighter Pilots

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

The Royal Air Force Museum London presents an exclusive opportunity to view a brand new documentary on Sikh fighter pilots, directed by Navdeep KandolaDate: Sunday 22rd November

Time: 1400hrs

Location: Film Theatre, RAF Museum London


“Flying Sikhs – A History of Sikh Fighter Pilots” provides an intimate portrait of the Sikh pilots who contributed so valiantly to British success in World War I and World War II. The history of the Sikhs who flew in the Royal Flying Core, the Royal Air Force and the Indian Air Force has been forgotten, yet their bravery was recognized widely by both the military and the public during the dark days of the Blitz and the brutal Japanese invasion from the East.

Drawing on interviews with the last remaining pilots, rare and personal archive materials, and unseen footage, Flying Sikhs pays testimony to the brave and selfless contributions these unsung heroes made to the war efforts across the world.

The dramatic and often emotional documentary reveals the pioneering role that Sikhs have played in both introducing and sustaining aviation in India. It was a Sikh – the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh – who procured the first Bleriot monoplane and Farman biplanes in 1910.

The first ever Indian pilot to try to enlist as a pilot in WWI was Hardit Singh Malik, the only Indian pilot to miraculously survive the war and later went on to become PM of Patiala and High Commissioner to both Canada and France. The documentary includes first hand accounts taken from the only TV Interview of Sardar Malik and a rare interview with his daughter Harji Malik.

Also included are interviews with the last remaining Sikh pilots from WWII, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh DFC and Mohinder Singh Pujji DFC, who are both now in their nineties.

Air Marshal Arjan Singh led pilots in the Burmese front in the Second World War and later led the Indo-Pak and Indo-China air assaults. Pujji had an impeccable record for bravery and saved a 300 strong battalion of lost American soldiers that were given up for dead in the dense Burmese forests.

Although the countless other Sikh pilots from the great wars are now deceased, their histories are represented by the recollections of outstanding pilots such as Manmohan Singh, Mehr Singh DSO, Prithpal Singh and Air Marshal Shidev Singh.

The documentary will be preceded by a short talk from the director Nav Kandola.

To register to watch this film for free, call: 020 8358 4849 or email

Messerschmitt Bf 110C

Monday, October 26th, 2009


Twin-engined fighter aircraft allotted to Luftwaffe unit 4 /ZG76 with fuselage code M8+MM and ‘shark’s mouth’ nose artwork. The Bf110 C-series was introduced in January 1939.

30 Aug 40 Shot down on this Friday afternoon by RAF fighters during escort mission – a daylight raid on the Vauxhall Motors factory at Luton, Beds and crashed into the corner of a field bordering Claggybottom Lane at Barley Beans Farm, Kimpton, near Hitchin, Herts at 4.30pm; totally destroyed in the ensuing crash having hit the ground vertically at high speed.

The Bf110 was escorting He111 bombers of KG 53 which had intended to bomb the Handley Page aerodrome at Radlett, Herts; they became detached from the rest of the formation and found the Vauxhall plant at Luton, releasing 59 bombs onto the factory and its surrounding area. The engineering section of the works was badly hit and one direct hit killed seven people sheltering beneath a stairway. In Luton 20 people were killed and 174 injured – 49 seriously. The factory was back in production within six days.

Jointly shot down by two Hawker Hurricane Mk Is, flown by Flying Officer Ludwik W. Paszkiewicz of Northolt-based No. 303 (Polish) Squadron’s B Flight and Pilot Officer B J Wicks of North Weald based No 56 Squadron. Claimed as the first Polish victory during the Battle of Britain (though initially mis-identified as a Do 17); 303 (Polish) Squadron, not at that time operational, were actually on a training flight. Their chance interception of the Heinkels inspired a well-known scene in the 1969 ‘Battle of Britain’ feature film, and led to the Squadron being declared operational the following day, to the great joy of the Polish pilots. Sadly, Paszkiewicz, having gained six kills and the DFC, was killed In Action shortly afterwards in the crash of Hurricane L1696/RF-M at Crowhurst Farm, Borough Green, Kent on 27 September 1940; he is buried in Northwood Cemetery.

The Bf110’s crew were both seasoned veterans of the French campaign. After a desperate effort to evade the Hurricanes, Paskiewicz’s guns knocked out the Bf110s starboard engine; when PO Wicks joined in the attack Nordmeir baled out as the aircraft rolled over inverted, breaking up as it went into a vertical dive, the tailplane breaking off as it went down. The aircraft hit a row of mature elm trees, which sheared off the wings outboard of each engine and shattered the cockpit and fuselage, with large sections of wing structure and fuselage fragments scattered around the crater. Larger portions of wreckage were removed on an RAF Queen Mary trailer some days after the crash.

The pilot, 27-year old Oberfw. Georg Anthony was killed in the resulting crash; Bordfunker (radio operator/rear gunner) Uffz. Heinrich Nordmeyer/Nordmeir (alternative spellings recorded) captured paralysed having baled out at low level and suffered a broken back; after hospital treatment he became a Prisoner of War.

Anthony was buried with full military honours in Hitchin, where his grave still remains today.

1982 Large pieces of wreckage excavated by the donor’s father from a depth of some eight feet into stony clay at the crash site, now known as Ramridge Farm, using a JCB. Recognisable components included both DB601A engines (X005-0837/38) and their separated propeller hubs, two 20mm cannon in their blast tubes, both undercarriage legs, a badly compressed radiator, and a NMW enamel engine badge together with several boxes of severely damaged smaller components, which were all then stored at the farm until acquired by the RAF Museum. The starboard engine still bore evidence of bullet strikes and fire damage.

2009 Parts donated to RAFM by the current farmer, Mr David Manning.

13 Oct 2009 Parts collected from farm by RAFM and taken to RAFM MBCC Cosford for initial assessment and storage.

Another New Arrival at the RAF Museum

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

PERCIVAL PRENTICE T.1 VS618 /G-AOLKOne of 349 production standard Percival P.40 Prentice Tiger Moth replacement two-seat basic trainer aircraft built for RAF service as the RAF’s first side-by-side trainer. Built under sub-contract at the Blackburn Aircraft factory at Brough, serials block VS609 – VS758. Contract No 623. Constructor’s number PAC/225. A total of 483 Prentices were built including some for Argentina and India.

13 May 49 Awaiting Collection.

18 May 49 To No 22 Flying Training School (FTS), RAF Syerston, Notts. Used to train Royal Navy personnel as pilots.

9 Mar 54 To No 9 Maintenance Unit, RAF Cosford, Salop for storage.

25 Apr 56 Transferred to civil register as G-AOLK.

11 May 56 Sold to Freddie Laker’s Aviation Traders Ltd at Southend, Essex. Aviation Traders purchased from the Ministry of Supply an eventual 252 of the RAF’s Prentices for civil conversion, making them nominally the 8th or 9th largest air force in the world at the time, with the aircraft ferried from RAF Maintenance Units at Cosford, High Ercall and Shawbury, all in Shropshire, to Southend as ‘Operation Prentice’ with RAF markings painted out and civil registrations crudely painted over them. Between April and July 1956, 33 pilots ferried 92 Prentices to Southend and another 58 to Stansted.

Only 28 of these Prentices reached civil certification, with barely 20 actually being sold, being fuel-guzzlingly expensive to operate and outsold by imported American types, the rest being dumped and scrapped at Southend and Stansted in the early 1960s. Those Laker did sell were generally painted silver-grey, upholstered in grey vinyl with red trimmings, with a bench seat for three behind the pair of pilot’s seats, initially selling at £2000 (later £1500) including a four-channel radio.

1958/1960 Registered to Aviation Traders (Engineering) and held in long-term storage awaiting conversion for the private/executive/charter role.

7 May 64 Offered for sale in Flight International magazine with six seats and long -range fuel tanks for ‘£1,760 or offer’.

1967/8 Registered to Mr A.H. Smith.

1974-2008 Registered to Hilton Aviation Ltd, Southend, Essex; flown in a variety of purely civil colour schemes over the years. Still airworthy 2009.

Jul 2009 Flown from temporary storage at North Weald, Essex, to Shuttleworth Collection’s airfield at Old Warden, Beds.

Flown at White Waltham airfield 4 October 2009.

9 Oct 2009 Following purchase by RAF Museum, flown by Ben Cox from Coventry to RAFM Cosford for restoration and display.

One of some 17 Prentice survivors worldwide.

T DOUGLAS A-20G-25-DO Havoc 43-9436

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Following the signing of the contract last year between the Royal Air Force Museum and Precision Aerospace Productions of Wangaratta, work has moved forward rapidly with the restoration of Douglas A-20G Havoc 43-9436 ‘Big Nig’. Completion is currently scheduled for the summer of 2010.The largely intact airframe was recovered from Papua New Guinea in 1994 and subsequently transferred to RAAF Amberley. ‘Big Nig’ was one of a batch of new A-20Gs allocated to the 89th Bombardment Squadron, 3rd Bombardment Group, 5th Air Force. Based at Nadzab, near Lae in Papua New Guinea, the aircraft featured a caricature of its regular pilot (Capt James L Folse), who supposedly resembled a Damon Runyan character of the period.

On 3 May 1944, ‘Big Nig’ was brought down by ground fire after a bombing mission against Japanese forces at Wewak as part of the mopping up operations subsequent to Operation Reckless – the invasion of Hollandia. The aircraft was safely landed by its pilot 2nd Lt Tom Reading (with S/Sgt Burke L Cock as gunner) in a freshwater swamp where it would remain, undisturbed, for the next 50 years.

The aircraft will now be returned to as close to its original condition as possible. Every effort is being made to retain contemporary material while ensuring the airframe’s long term structural integrity. The attached photographs show the recently completed nose-art and the original nose-art (on badly corroded panels that have had to be replaced). When the aircraft goes on display at Hendon next year, ‘Big Nig’ will represent not only one of a handful of surviving A20s worldwide but also the thousands of Bostons and Havocs successfully employed by the RAF, RAAF and SAAF between 1940 and 1945. It will also serve as a memorial to all those air and ground crews that operated the aircraft through the Second World War in the European, Mediterranean and Far East Theatres.

As with the recently unveiled FE2b, the RAF Museum will be publishing a detailed monograph, in conjunction with Guideline Publications, describing the story of this ambitious and important restoration project, as well as the operational history of the A-20 in Allied service.

Forthcoming Events at Yorkshire Air Museum

Monday, October 5th, 2009

TARGET FALKLANDS – Saturday 17th October.
A superb lecture presentation featuring four well known veterans of the RAF Falklands War air campaign. Barry Neale (from Devon) and Martin Withers (Easingwold, York, who is also Chief Display pilot to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust) will talk about their experiences in the famous Black Buck raids, the bombing of Port Stanely airfield. Martin flew the Vulcan Bomber that actually dropped the bombs on the airfield and Barry is a Victor K2 Tanker pilot, who refuelled Martin on the return. Barry Neale was also involved in the strategic planning of the Black Buck raids, which at the time were the longest range bombing mission ever undertaken by any air force.

Also appearing is John Kennedy, who is one of the pilots to have flown legendary Chinook helicopter ‘Bravo November’, which was the only Chinook to survive the destruction of the Arctic Conveyor. The Falklands was this aircraft’s first theatre of operation and it is still in service, having seen action in Lebanon, Germany, Northern Ireland, Kurdistan, Iraq and now Afghanistan. It is currently the most decorated aircraft in service with the Royal Air Force.

Perhaps the icing on the cake is the recent confirmation that Sea Harrier pilot David Morgan will be joining the discussion, with opportunities to purchase his well received book “Hostile Skies” and have it signed.

There will be other V Force, Chinook and fast jet veterans attending and there will be a Question and Answer session and memorabilia signing opportunity with all of these guests and also author Gordon Ramsey, author of ‘Falklands War – Then and Now.’

Other attractions are Aces High Aviation Gallery sales, Corgi diecast model display, International Plastic Modellers Society display and also the opportunity to sit in the cockpits of the Harrier GR3 and Mirage III. Harriers saw distinguished service in the Falklands was and Mirage III were operated by the Argentine Air Force.


The day session is followed in the evening with the exciting Nightshoot, where the Handley Page Victor K2, veteran of the Falklands and Gulf Wars, will be joined by another legend of the skies, the De Havilland Mosquito. This is the only restored Nightfighter version of this aircraft, so this interesting and challenging photographic session provides a unique opportunity to photograph these two aircraft in an evening setting with external / internal lighting on for dramatic effect. Tickets for the Nightshoot include an opportunity to have access to the Victor cockpit for some fascinating aspects of this aircraft.

These events can be booked either individually, or in a package, and prices are as follows:

Target Falklands Lecture presentation £12

Lecture plus Nightshoot £30

Victor / Mosquito Nightshoot £25

Prices include museum admission.

Book online at ‘Shop/Tickets at or send cheque made payable to Yorkshire Air Museum to Target Falklands / Nightshoot, YAM, Halifax Way, Elvington, York, YO41 4AU. For further information, please ring 01904 608595.


THUNDER DAY – Sunday 18th October.
The live engine runs of the Blackburn Buccaneer and Handley Page Victor, giving a superb opportunity to see – and hear – these mighty aircraft at close quarters. A thrilling experience.

The Buccaneer will give two performances, morning and afternoon, featuring engine power up of the twin Rolls Royce Spey engines, short taxi run and then the wing-folding, bomb bay rotation, rear airbrake activation and control surface movements, all under power. The afternoon session will be followed by the Victor which will be performing a fast taxi run down Elvington’s runway, providing a magnificent spectacle. All this will be under the watchful eye of the Museum’s fully trained Fire Team, with appliances such as the 38 tonne Pathfinder airport fire tender, six wheel drive Range Rover V8 Tactical Airfield Crash and Recovery vehicle, all providing additional spectacle and interest. The Fire Team will be giving an opportunity for kids to have a go with the fire hoses in the morning, before the engine runs commence. Don’t miss this great day of activity!!

Admission: £6 Adults, £5 Senior citizens and £3 Children.

For further information, please ring: 01904 608595

The Royal Air Force Presentational Sword Delivered In Style

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce the delivery of the Royal Air Force American Foundation Presentation Sword.The Royal Air Force Officer’s Sword was commissioned by the Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation and kindly donated by one of its board members, Tim Manna of Kennet Aviation.

It is to be presented annually to the Royal Air Force Officer on exchange with the United States Air Force who has made the most significant contribution in that year to Anglo/American relations.

This year it will be presented on October 28th at a closed ceremony in Washington, D.C., at the home of the British ambassador.

The sword itself was transported to the United States of America on board ‘Grumpy’, the B-25D Mitchell which made its historic return journey to the US after 25 years in the UK. The journey followed the route taken by aircraft travelling to the UK during the war and represented and honoured the flight crews who were unable to complete their missions.

The aircraft was piloted by John T Sessions who started the commemorative journey from Duxford, England and ended at the Historic Flight Foundation’s collection at Paine Field, in Everett, Washington. The flight took five days, with a flight plan that included Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and the Baffin and Hudson Bays.

The Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation supports the work of the RAF Museum and promotes ties of friendship between Britain and America. In the past, it has supported exhibits in the Museum’s galleries such as the Boeing Chinook exhibition in London as well as promoting youth exchanges.

The Royal Air Force sends a number of officers to embed with the USAF each year. They share best practice and promote interoperability between the Services which is vital when on the front line.

The Presentation Sword was created by British company Pooley Swords which makes the ceremonial swords for all three Services, hand-finished at their base in Shoreham, Hants. The inscription on the sword comes from the famous American anthem The Star-Spangled Banner and reads “Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand”

The Battle of Britain Weekend

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Take part in a weekend of special activities at the RAF Museum London, celebrating the bravery of all those who took part in the Battle of Britain.

Dates: 12 September – 13 September

Time: 1000 – 1800

Admission: FREE



Re-enactors: Meet the young fighter pilots of 1940 and ask them about their experiences during the great battle in the sky.

Living history area: Visit the scramble tent, to see how the pilots lived. Always on standby awaiting the ring of the bell.

Tableaux will include a “Scramble” and raid interception at 11:30 am, 1.30pm & 3.30pm each day based on events taking place at RAF Hendon on 15th September 1940.

Special film shows: Watch some classic wartime footage, newsreels and propaganda shorts in the Museum’s own 200-seat movie theatre:

Handling Collection: Get in character with four pocket tunics, flying suits and other paraphernalia. Here’s your chance to try on some authentic RAF uniforms and flying clothes and have your photo taken by the Spitfire.

Live music: Kick back and listen to some authentic 1940’s era music. 


The Kew Wind Orchestra will be providing two concerts underneath the Lancaster in the  Bomber Hall at 12.15 and 2pm with the Dambusters March, 633 Squadron, Oklahoma and As Time Goes By forming part of the Orchestra’s programme.

London Pro Arte Choir will round the afternoon off at 3.30pm with a series of haunting and evocative choiral works such as would have been heard by “The Few” when attending concerts with family and friends. 

Polka Dot Dolls performing hits from yesteryear such as “Kiss me Goodnight Sergeant Major” and  “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B


The Barnet Band, back by popular request, will provide rousing musical entertainment on the Sunday.

Polka Dot Dolls performing hits from yesteryear such as “Kiss me Goodnight Sergeant Major” and  “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B


Taking place in the Battle of Britain Hall at 12.15, 2.15, & 4.15 pm by our resident experts, these will give an added insight into the Battle, The Few and the women so integral to operational success.

Sat & Sun
*12.15 pm – In the Round(al): The RAF and the Battle of Britain.

* 2.15 pm – ‘The Few’: The Fighter Pilots of the Battle of Britain.

* 4.15 pm – Wind Beneath Their Wings: The Women of the Battle of Britain.

Free Tours

Free tours around the Museum’s Battle of Britain Hall will give added insight into the heroes who defended London from the air and the ground.

Children’s activities

There will be a range of activities in the Museum’s Aeronauts Interactive Gallery where children will be able to make, free of charge, their own cut out and keep Spitfire as well as a fun quiz trail that will take them Battle of Britain Hall.

 All this and the permanent ‘Battle of Britain’ exhibition Hall, featuring the emotionally charged multimedia experience ‘Our Finest Hour’.