Posts Tagged ‘Duxford Imperial War Museum’

Tornado GR4 now on display at IWM Duxford

Monday, April 16th, 2018

IWM Tornado GR4

On Wednesday 11 April Tornado GR4 ZA469 took pride of place on display in the Battle of Britain exhibition at IWM Duxford.

Tornado GR4 ZA469 was transported from the Conservation Hall in AirSpace to the Battle of Britain exhibition in order to be displayed to visitors.

The Tornado GR4 is the most significant combat jet used by the Royal Air Force during the last 27 years and continues in service until 2019. This aircraft – ZA 469 – deployed to Afghanistan between 2011 and 2014, frequently operated in support of ground forces. In 2011 it flew on Operation Ellamy, to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. Most recently it took part in counter-ISIS operations in the Middle East.

Imperial War Museums is delighted to be working with RAF Marham to add Tornado GR4 ZA469 to our displays at IWM Duxford. Wing Commander Phil Marr, Acting Station Commander, RAF Marham, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to loan a Tornado GR4 to Imperial War Museums, especially as the Tornado Force enters its last year of service with the Royal Air Force. The Tornado has been supporting operations across the globe for just over 27 years and continues to fly sorties in the Middle East today so it is great for visitors to IWM Duxford to be able to see an aircraft up close that is currently being used on operations.”

Diane Lees, Director-General, Imperial War Museums said: “Imperial War Museums is actively building its contemporary conflict collections. This Tornado represents some of the most significant post-2001 conflicts in which UK armed forces have been involved. Over the next few years, we hope to work with former Tornado aircrew – especially those who have flown in this aircraft – to also tell the personal stories of those who have taken part in these conflicts.”

www.iwm.org.uk

IWM Duxford announces 2018 air show season with fabulous flying and commemoration of the RAF Centenary

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Duxford

IWM Duxford will present a festival of flying for all the family in 2018, with children under 16 going free to IWM air shows.* Tickets are now on sale, with a fantastic Early Bird offer for all air shows.

Tickets booked for either the Duxford Air Festival or the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show before 23.59 on Thursday 8 February will automatically be entered into a prize draw to have a chance of winning a once-in-a-lifetime Spitfire flight with IWM Duxford’s pleasure flight partner Classic Wings.

Tickets for all air shows must be booked in advance; no on the day tickets are available.

IWM Duxford’s 2018 air show season commences with the Duxford Air Festival (May Bank Holiday weekend Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May) offering a thrill-packed weekend. The Flying Legends Air Show (Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July) is a feast of nostalgia while the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show (Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September) is an official partner for the Royal Air Force centenary, celebrating its famous aircraft, past and present.

The Duxford Air Festival will be a feast of action-packed flying full of speed, noise, power and thrills. Confirmed aircraft include the Tiger Nine formation team of nine 1930s Tiger Moth biplanes and the AeroSuperBatics WingWalkers, the world’s only aerobatic formation wing-walking team.

Across the museum, visitors can enjoy a wide range of events and activities. The Family Flight Challenge shows that it takes more than a pilot to make an aircraft fly: from scientists and engineers to designers and mechanics. You might find yourself leaping into the air, slipping-on goggles, meeting our real inventors and adventurers or working in a team to make something fly. In our ‘Meet the Authors’ marquee writers will discuss their current books and take questions from the audience.

The Flying Legends Air Show is organised and produced by The Fighter Collection. This world-famous air show combines flying displays of remarkable historic aircraft with engaging nostalgic activities to create an authentic 1940s atmosphere at IWM Duxford’s wartime airfield.

Rare aircraft travel across the globe to take part in the Flying Legends Air Show, performing exceptional aerial spectacles. At Flying Legends 2018 the Flying Bulls will present a five-ship formation for the first time in the UK, featuring two Alpha Jets, a B-25J Mitchell, Goodyear Corsair and P-38 Lightning. The world-renowned balbo, a massed-formation flying display, provides a remarkable finale to the air show.

In 2018, there will be two vintage villages at the Flying Legends Air Show, offering a wide range of nostalgic entertainment.

The Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show brings to life Duxford’s finest hour as an important Second World War fighter station defending Great Britain from aerial attack in 1940. The roar of Spitfires and Hurricanes over Duxford’s historic airfield make this a hugely engaging historic experience and a great British day out for 2018.

The Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show is an official partner of RAF 100, commemorating the centenary ofthe formation of the Royal Air Force. The flying display will showcase not only the famous historic aircraft of the RAF but will also present its modern capabilities with contemporary aircraft in service today.

Entry to the award-winning IWM Duxford is included in the ticket price for all air shows. Visitors can get up close to the aircraft that have revolutionised flight, including the futuristic Blackbird spyplane, which performed top secret operations for almost 30 years and the B-52 Stratofortress, which stretches the length of the American Air Museum. Iconic aircraft, including the Spitfire, Concorde and the contemporary Eurofighter Typhoon, are on display across the museum.

www.iwm.org.uk

Life and Death in the Battle of Britain

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

Life and Death in the Battle of Britain

Previously unpublished wartime diary reveals a moving insight into life on a Battle of Britain airfield and the young men who risked their lives in aerial battle.

Life and Death in the Battle of Britain is the powerful and moving unpublished diary of Guy Mayfield, Chaplain at RAF Duxford during the Battle of Britain, a defining moment of the Second World War and one of the greatest aerial battles ever fought.

Through Mayfield’s engaging and evocative writing, readers are transported to life in early 1940s Britain, as the Battle of Britain raged in the skies above.

Guy Mayfield arrived at RAF Duxford on 2 February 1940 and wrote regular entries in his diary until his last day at Duxford, prior to a posting to Gibraltar, on 2 December 1941.

Through the emotive and insightful entries in his diary, the reader accompanies Mayfield as he describes the hectic nature of airfield operations and the constant call to scramble interspersed with off-duty time and high jinks in the Officers’ Mess. Mayfield’s intense grief is felt as he describes the loss of friends and colleagues who became so dear to him, while his gentle and endearing humour show why he was such a trusted friend to these young airmen and an integral part of life on this famous Battle of Britain fighter station.

Mayfield spoke, at length and in intimate detail, to pilots who knew they might not survive the next 24 hours. His documenting of these conversations in his diary provides a unique, never before published, insight into the lives of the young men who risked their lives daily in defence of Great Britain – their innermost thoughts, hopes and fears. Years after he wrote his wartime diaries, Guy returned to them, adding retrospective observations and remembrances which have been added to the original diary entries in this publication.

Guy Mayfield’s powerful words are accompanied by poignant photographs of the airmen he lovingly describes. Many of the images are from his personal photograph album and will be published for the very first time. In an introductory section, IWM historian Carl Warner explains why Mayfield’s diary is so remarkable in bringing a compelling and direct new perspective to the Battle of Britain:

“In the pages of his [Guy Mayfield’s] diary, we find one of the finest accounts of a fighter station at ar. It is full of insight into the mind of a man who made an enormous, unsung contribution to victory and into those of others on the station whose mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing he cared about so deeply.”

“Much has been written of Duxford’s role in this defining conflict, but there are few accounts as honest, open and revealing as this.”

“For scholars of the Battle of Britain, and of the Second World War RAF, Mayfield’s account is unique in that it provides us with access to the most heartfelt, deep and meaningful conversations that took place in 1940 as ‘the few’ faced the most monumental challenge of their young lives. It gives rare insight into the thoughts and feelings of young men who, underneath the famous ‘Brylcreem Boys’ exterior, were real people who overcame their own fears day after day – the very epitome of courage.”

‘Life & Death in the Battle of Britain is published by IWM on 19 April and can be pre-ordered here: http://www.iwmshop.org.uk/product/26460/Life_and_Death_in_the_Battle_of_Britain

Winter maintenance on rare Lancaster aircraft can be seen by visitors to IWM Duxford

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Duxford Lancaster in the Hanger

The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Avro Lancaster recently arrived at the Aircraft Restoration Company’s new Stephenson Hangar at IWM Duxford.

The Lancaster, the sole flying example in Europe of the most successful heavy bomber of the Second World War, will undergo major maintenance work in the Stephenson hangar over the winter months.

For the first time, visitors to IWM Duxford will be able to see the maintenance work in progress from a viewing gallery on the ground floor of the hangar.

Included in the major inspection is the servicing of all of the instrument systems and undercarriage.

At the conclusion of the major inspection, the aircraft will be repainted in a new scheme that commemorates the sacrifice of thousands of Bomber Command aircrew during the bombing campaign of the Second World War.

The major service is due to be completed in April 2017.

www.iwm.org.uk

Important safety information in advance of The American Air Show this weekend

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Ahead of The American Air Show, IWM Duxford has released some important safety information:

· IWM Duxford takes great care to ensure its air shows are as safe as possible for everyone involved.

· It is not safe to occupy the fields immediately south of the runway during the air show. If you do so you are putting yourself and the display pilots in harm’s way.

· In the event of an incident it is imperative that the emergency services have clear, unhindered access to the tracks across this land.

· There is no public access to these fields at any time.

Jointly issued by IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the owners of this land

www.iwm.org.uk

Duxford’s People in the Battle of Britain at IWM Duxford

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

A new exhibition telling stories of the people who served

Opens to the public on Friday 21 August

Marking the 75th Anniversary, Duxford’s People in the Battle of Britain is a new exhibition which presents the personal experiences and mementoes of seven people who served at RAF Duxford, a pivotal fighter station during the Battle of Britain.

The people represented in the exhibition are David Whitley (Pilot Officer, 264 Squadron), Maria Blewitt (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force), Gordon Sinclair (310 Squadron), Guy Mayfield (Chaplain at RAF Duxford), James Coward (19 Squadron), ‘Woody’ Woodhall (RAF Duxford Station Commander) and Peter Howard-Williams (19 Squadron).*

The exhibition was officially opened today by Chas and Liz Bazeley, cousins of Maria Blewitt and Gordon Sinclair’s son, Alan.

Maria Blewitt was a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force at Duxford. Her letter home to her mother, which features in the exhibition, was written by Maria on 11 September 1940, the day that the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, gave a speech stating:

“‘…a heavy full-scale invasion of this Island is being prepared…it may be launched now… Therefore we must regard the next week or so as a very important period in our history.’

Maria’s letter shows how real and frightening was the threat of imminent invasion. In it, she says: “I have just been listening to Winston. Brilliant, inspiring but just a tiddly bit frightening. He seems quite sure invasion will come within the next week or so. If not I shall be home for 48 hrs on 17th…”

Gordon Sinclair joined 19 Squadron at RAF Duxford on 27 November 1937. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 25 June 1940 and in late June became ‘A’ Flight Commander of 310 (Czech) Squadron, which became operational on 17 August. Gordon Sinclair was awarded the Czech Military Cross on 24 December 1940.

The exhibition also contains transcriptions from the diary of Guy Mayfield, Duxford’s Chaplain during the Battle of Britain. It was to him that pilots would turn when they were feeling the immense pressures of the battle. One diary entry reads:

“19 Squadron were night flying after dinner… [Pilot Officer Horace Trenchard] crashed while we were there…he had crashed at Whittlesford…he was killed at once. Peter appeared with a beer and questions following on Trenchard’s death. It was a relief to be able to talk realistically to him, not about Trenchard, but about the things which we keep concealed for the most part beneath the surface. What happens when you die? Is it wrong to be frightened of dying? How should you live if you are twenty and will be dead by the end of the summer?”

James Coward’s Pilot’s Flying Log Book, in which he recorded every flight he made with beautiful drawings, also features in the exhibition, turned to the page upon which he has drawn an illustration of the flight on which he was shot down and wounded.

Many of these objects on display in the exhibition have not been previously seen by the public.

Alan Sinclair said: “It is wonderful that these personal items are on display. It seems slightly ironic that the last time I saw it [Gordon Sinclair’s flying suit] he was sitting on a lawnmower wearing it.”

Chas Bazeley said: “It is wonderful to see what Maria was involved in during the war and it’s wonderful to know that she has been chosen as the only woman amongst all those handsome chaps. She would be delighted.”

RAF Duxford was pivotal in the Battle of Britain. The first Spitfires flew from Duxford. Douglas Bader was based at RAF Duxford and it was the home of the controversial ‘Big Wing’ flying tactic. It is through the very different personal stories of the men and woman featured in the new Duxford’s People in the Battle of Britain exhibition that we discover what it was like to work and serve at an RAF Fighter Station in the relentlessly demanding days of the Battle of Britain.

Duxford’s People in the Battle of Britain is a contemplative exhibition in which visitors can learn about people who were instrumental at RAF Duxford, before they visit the Battle of Britain Exhibition to view the aircraft that fought the battle from the skies.

Entry is included in general admission to IWM Duxford.

www.iwm.org.uk

IWMs newly-painted North American B-25J Mitchell aircraft is revealed

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Mitchell IWM Duxford

Today (Thursday 6 August) IWM’s newly-repainted North American B-25J Mitchell was revealed in its new paint scheme for the first time.

The aircraft now represents North American B-25J Mitchell 43-4064, which served with the 488th Bomb Squadron of the 340th Bomb Group, 12th Air Force, United States Army Air Forces, in the latter stages of the Second World War.

The 340th Bomb Group was the inspiration for the Bomb Group represented in American author Joseph Heller’s satirical novel Catch 22. Heller served as a bombardier in the 488th Bomb Squadron. Crews were not allocated a specific aircraft in the 340th Bomb Group and personnel were interchanged between crews and aircraft. As a result, Joseph Heller flew in almost all of the aircraft operated by the 340th Bomb Group.

Missions carried out by Heller and his fellow crew members in B-25J Mitchell 43-4064 formed the inspiration for some of the events in Heller’s classic novel Catch 22.

North American B-25J Mitchell 43-4064 can be seen at IWM Duxford in the Conservation in Action hangar and will be displayed in the newly-transformed American Air Museum, at IWM Duxford, when it reopens in spring 2016.

Chris Knapp, Section Head, Industrial and Large Object Conservation, IWM Duxford, said: “The Conservation Team carried out a structural survey and then a team of three Conservation staff repainted the aircraft within a six week period. I’m really pleased with the work they have done. The only element of the repainting that we didn’t undertake in-house was the nose art as we don’t have a sign writer on our staff. We have carried out painstaking research to ensure that the aircraft matches the original 43-4064. All lines and colour changes are taken from original photographs of the aircraft during the Second World War.”

www.iwm.org.uk

Spitfires take to the skies for The Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show at IWM Duxford

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Duxford Spitfires

Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September

Twenty Spitfires will take to the skies this September as part of IWM Duxford’s Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of this crucial aerial battle.

This mass display of Spitfires, above Britain’s best-preserved Second World War Airfield, will include Supermarine Spitfire Mark I N3200 – recently restored and returned to Duxford by American philanthropist Thomas Kaplan and received by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge. This Spitfire was originally flown from RAF Duxford in 1940 by Squadron Leader Geoffrey D. Stephenson.

The Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show will tell the story of Duxford’s pivotal role in this famous conflict. In September 1940, some 60 Spitfires and Hurricanes were dispersed every day around Duxford and Fowlmere and on 15 September 1940, known as ‘Battle of Britain Day’, Bader’s ‘Big Wing’, operating from Duxford, twice took to the air to repulse Luftwaffe attacks aimed at London.

Visitors can experience what it was like to work at RAF Duxford in 1940 with the re-creation of a Spitfire scramble during the air show. Upon the instantly recognisable sound of a Second World War air raid siren, Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon) aircraft will fly in and strafe the airfield. As a scramble bell sounds, living history interpreters representing Second World War RAF fighter pilots will race to protect this vital Battle of Britain airfield and Supermarine Spitfires chase off the enemy aircraft.

These extraordinary experiences and sights will give visitors to The Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show an insight into the life and work of the Battle of Britain fighter pilots who flew from RAF Duxford.

Tickets are only available in advance.

www.iwm.org.uk

Saftey Announcement for visitors to Duxford Airshow

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Ahead of The Duxford Air Show this weekend, IWM Duxford has released some important safety information:· IWM Duxford takes great care to ensure its air shows are as safe as possible for everyone involved.

· It is not safe to occupy the fields immediately south of the runway during the air show. If you do so you are putting yourself and the display pilots in harm’s way.

· In the event of an incident it is imperative that the emergency services have clear, unhindered access to the tracks across this land.

· There is no public access to these fields at any time.

Jointly issued by IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the owners of this land.

 www.iwm.org.uk

IWM Duxford commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

William Bray by Robin Savage

IWM Duxford commemorates the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings with a range of events, family activities, exhibitions and digital resources which explore the preparations for the invasion of Normandy and the final decisive D-Day mission.

Personal stories come to the fore as we look at the many individual contributions that combined tomake the D-Day invasion a success. Complementing those personal experiences are hands-on family activities which bring the science and history of D-Day to life, alongside events which show the aircraft and vehicles in dynamic action.

Events

D-Day Landings Tour

Saturday 5 April, Wednesday 30 April, Saturday 3 May, Wednesday 21 May, Friday 6 June

Our Land Warfare exhibition features one of the best collections of military vehicles in the country, including types that were used in the D-Day Landings.

In the D-Day Landings Tour, our guide will discuss the strategic planning for D-Day, the work of the resistance, how deceit and misinformation played a vital role in preparing for the D-Day Landings, the challenge of themission itself and the specialist armoured vehicles that were used.

The tour will look at some of the vehicles in the collection and will explain how they would have been used in the D-Day Landings. We’ll also look at some of the unique archive film that is on show in the Land Warfare exhibition.

The D-Day Landings Tour commences at 11amin the entrance of AirSpace. It runs for approximately 90 minutes. Groups will not exceed 25 people and there will be plenty of opportunity for questions, debate and personal interaction. The tour is suitable for all ages but is primarily aimed at adults. Places must be booked in advance and can be booked online at www.iwm.org.uk

Ticket prices (including admission to all IWM Duxford exhibitions):
Adult (16-59 years) £20.75
Child (under 16 years) £3.25
Senior (60 years and over) £16.60
Student (in possession of a valid student card) £16.60
Unemployed (with proof of entitlement) £16.60
Disabled Adult (proof of disability allowance required) £16.60
Disabled Senior (proof of disability allowance required) £14.50
Disabled Student (proof of disability allowance required) £14.50
Disabled Child (proof of disability allowance required) £3.25
Carer (one per disabled visitor) £3.25
Supporter (Duxford Aviation Society Member, Friend of Duxford, IWM Friend, IWM Volunteer) £3.25

Easter Holiday activities

Saturday 5 to Monday 21 April

The Science of D-Day
Sponsored by Lockheed Martin
10.30amto 2.30pm
Conservation Hall, AirSpace

Our Easter holiday activities look at the ingenious inventions created by scientific boffins to ensure victory on D-Day. We’ll explain how tanks were made to float, how they carried their own bridges and how they destroyed mines.

There will be plenty of opportunities to try your hand at using these inventive pieces of equipment. Have a go at firing a petard and then take a look at the real petard that can be seen on the Churchill tank in our

Land Warfare exhibition. Build your own Bailey bridge and see two real Bailey bridges that are still in use on a daily basis at IWM Duxford. Learn how to drive a tank, try on somemini-uniforms, make an Airfix model of an aircraft that would have been used in the preparation for the D-Day Landings and enter our creative competition to design your own specially-modified D-Day tank.

Easter holiday activities are included in general admission to IWMDuxford. Visitors aged 15 or under enjoy free admission to the museum and to our Easter holiday activities.

The D-Day Anniversary Air Show
Saturday 24 and Sunday 25May

The D-Day Anniversary Air Show commemorates the 70th anniversary of this decisive military campaign, demonstrating the vital role that aerial warfare played in the invasion of Normandy.

The air show will feature fighter, bomber and transport aircraft types that would have been seen over the beaches of France, together with thrilling ground content. This special D-Day Anniversary Air Show is not to be missed.

Air Show tickets and hospitality passes are now on sale and can be purchased online at www.iwm.org.uk

The recommended last booking date for overseas postal delivery is Friday 9 May.
The off-sale date (and last date for UK postal delivery) is Tuesday 13 May.
Purchase your tickets in advance and receive one free child ticket with every adult ticket purchased.

You’ll also enjoy 10% off ‘on the day’ ticket prices.
Advance ticket prices:
Adult (16 or over) £24.75
Child (5 to 15 years) £16.30
Disabled £16.30

Spring Half Term

Monday 26 May to Sunday 1 June
10.30am to 3.30pm

Activities take place across the museum

During Spring half term, follow our trail around themuseumand encounter some of the aircraft and vehicles that would have been used on D-Day.

Follow the story of this huge and complex operation, and find out how Allied air, sea and land forces combined to liberate Europe. We’ll take you through the build-up to D-Day: from the Allies’massive aerial bombardments and clever tricks to fool the enemy, through the role of naval forces, to the arrival of thousands of troops in France by air and by sea. Find out the impact of tanks, trucks, vehicles and weapons on the fierce fighting that followed.

You’ll find outmore about each historic object you encounter on the trail, including how it was used on D-Day and the experiences of themen relying on it for a successful mission.

At the end of our trail, in Land Warfare, you’llmeet our costumed character representing a D-Day soldier, who will tell you about his experiences and will show you the equipment that would have been used by soldiers and airmen during the D-Day Landings.

There will be hands-on craft activities and dynamic games to enjoy which will bring D-Day history to life for all the family.

Spring half term activities are included in general admission to IWM Duxford. Visitors aged 15 or under enjoy free admission to themuseumn and to Spring half term activities.

Military Vehicle Show
Sunday 15 June

Enjoy a special day out for Father’s Day at the Military Vehicle Show. Exploremilitary vehicles large and small, from motorcycles to jeeps, ambulances to huge trucks and tanks. Some of the vehicles on display will be of the type used during the D-Day Landings. See the vehicles up close and then watch themcome to life as they parade around the airfield during the cavalcade.

A wide range of living history groups will bring Second WorldWar history to life, chatting to visitors and encouraging families to try onmilitary equipment and clamber aboard military vehicles.

Join us for the Military Vehicle Show – an unforgettable experience for Father’s Day.

Ticket prices:
Adult (16 to 59 years) £18.50
Senior (60 years and over) £14.80
Child (under 16 years) Free
Concessionary prices available – see iwm.org.uk for details.
New exhibitions

D-Day-The Last of the Liberators photographic exhibition
By Robin Savage

Produced by the Airborne ForcesMuseum(Airborne Assault) and Helion Books
April to December

Mezzanine Gallery, AirSpace

D-Day -The Last of the Liberators is a collection of photographic portraits of some of the last surviving British Normandy veterans. It records, in a unique way, the stories of these remarkable individuals and their emotional but dignified return to the locations, in many cases the exact spot, which are tied to their most profound personal memories of the campaign; places where they saw action or were wounded, where they experienced instances of miraculous chance or where they witnessed their friends being taken away from them through the horror of battle.

The photographs in the exhibition are 15 of those from a new book of the same name. Taken during the 68th and 69th anniversaries by photographer Robin Savage, they are a record of some of the final visits these brave and dignified men and women wil lmake to the places that imprinted themselves indelibly on their lives.

D-Day -The Last of the Liberators is included in general admission to IWM Duxford. Visitors aged 15 and under enjoy free admission to the museum.

The Padre’s Trail in the Land Warfare exhibition
From May 2014

Our Land Warfare exhibition houses one of the finest collections of tanks, military vehicles and artillery in the country. It charts the technological advances that have changed the face of ground warfare.

The Normandy Experience in Land Warfare vividly tells the story of the D-Day Landings through sound, film and military vehicles set in evocative dioramas.

As part of our commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we are adding a layer of interpretation to The Normandy Experience which gives a very personal view of the D-Day Landings and how it felt to be in the thick of the action.

Captain Leslie Skinner was an army chaplain who landed on the coast of Normandy on themorning of 6 June 1944 with the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry tank regiment.

Apart from29 days spent at home recovering fromhis wounds, he spent the rest of the war with the Sherwood Rangers as they fought through France and into Germany. It is Captain Skinner’s story that is told in his own voice via extracts from the diary he meticulously kept throughout his time with the Sherwood Rangers.

He saw it as his duty to find the bodies ofmen who were killed as the Regiment’s tanks advanced. On many occasions, he risked his life to ensure that his comrades’ bodies were recovered or buried. The work could be harrowing and he refused to allow the other tank crews to help. Padre Skinner travelled all over the front line and the battlefield, talking to the troops and listening to their worries. As this extract from his diary shows, he experienced at first-hand the stark realities of warfare.

25 June 1944: “In burst of machine gun fire I dived into slit trench on top of young soldier… it was his first show and he was all alone. I assured him that the machine gun fire was way up in the air…he picked up a ration box lid and held it above ground. Burst [of fire] cut it in two. It shook me. When firing stopped I moved out. He, poor devil, had to stay. About 11:30…Shrapnel got me across forehead and knocked me out. Lots of blood but soon conscious.”

The Padre’s Trail is included in general admission to IWM Duxford.

D-Day collections on display at IWM Duxford

Land Warfare exhibition

Land Warfare is home to the Normandy Experience and the Monty exhibition. Together they tell the story of the finalmonths of the war in Europe, fromD-Day, through the fierce battles in France to VE Day.

The Normandy Experience features many of the types of tanks and vehicles that took part in the liberation of Europe. These include the GMC Amphibian DUKW and the Sherman Grizzly tank. Nearby are examples of German tanks and vehicles thatmade up some of the fierce defences encountered in the battles of 1944 and 1945.

Field Marshal Montgomery – Monty to the troops – commanded the Allied land forces on D-Day. At the nerve centre of his operation was his Tactical HQ, which is on display in the Monty exhibition. Visitors are able to peer through the windows of Monty’s headquarters and imagine this dynamic leader at work.

In addition to the tanks and vehicles displayed in realistic dioramas, Land Warfare also contains powerful personal stories from the men who took part in Operation Overlord.

American Air Museum

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain, which is suspended majestically fromthe ceiling in the American Air Museum, was delivered to the United States Army Air Forces in April 1944 and served with the 316th Troop Carrier Group of the 9th Air Force. It was assigned to the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron and operated from Cottesmore in Lincolnshire for a year.

It is believed to have participated in the airborne drops over Normandy in 1944, the airborne assault on Holland in September 1944 and the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.

The P-47 Thunderbolt that can be seen in the American Air Museum is the type of aircraft flown by pilots of the 78th Fighter Group, from RAF Duxford, in support of the D-Day Landings.

The B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator also flew in support of D-Day operations. Examples of these aircraft can also be seen in the American Air Museum.

AirSpace

The Avro Lancaster bomber flew bombing missions in support of D-Day operations. You can get up close to a Lancaster bomber in our AirSpace exhibition.

Airborne Assault Museum in AirSpace
Airborne Assault is the Regimental Museumof The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces. It tells the stories of the soldiers who go to war from the air, including the significant contribution made to the D-Day Landings by the Airborne Forces and Parachute Regiments.

Of particular interest in this 70th anniversary year is the originalmap used to plan the D-Day operation, which would have been viewed by Field Marshal Montgomery and General Eisenhower. Also on display is the accompanying planning model which was used to strategically plot the mission to capture Pegasus Bridge.

There is also a model of Bing, one of the paradogs who were trained to parachute alongside the troops and to undertake guard,mine-detecting and patrol duties.

RAF Duxford’s D-Day history

D-Day and the 78th Fighter Group
May to June

In June 1944, RAF Duxford was home to the 78th Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Forces.

Equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts, its pilots flew severalmissions on D-Day andmanymore in the days, weeks andmonths that followed.

The fighters of the 78th Fighter Group encountered very little resistance from the German Air Force on 6 June 1944. Their aircraft flew equipped with bombs and were sent to attack targets such as railway bridges and enemy airfields.

During May and June, we’ll be tweeting summaries which show how the 78th Fighter Group built towards D-Day operations, what they did on 6 June 1944 and how they supported the fighting in France.

Follow@historicduxford to read these summaries fromthe 78th Fighter Group diaries and look out for related posts on our Historic Duxford blog at www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-duxford/historicduxford

In our Historic Duxford exhibition, you can find out what life was like for the American servicemen who were based at RAF Duxford during the latter stages of the Second World War. See interviews with American pilots who took part in D-Day and see the A2 flying jacket which belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence ‘Larry’ Casey.

Casey was an American fighter pilot who flew fromRAF Duxford. On 11 June 1944, he was shot down over France. With the help of the French resistance, he was able to avoid capture andmake it back to Britain. Casey later flew missions in the Pacific and he stayed in the United States Air Force after the Second World War.