Posts Tagged ‘Duxford Imperial War Museum’

Top five things to see and do at the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow

Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 September 2019
Tickets from £35; kids go free*

The Battle of Britain Air Show returns to IWM Duxford this weekend, with the site transforming into a film set in commemoration of the 1969 Battle of Britain film. Visitors can expect a mass Spitfire flypast, historic film screenings and vintage makeovers.

Here are the top five things to look out for over the epic weekend:

1. Gaze up at original Second World War fighter aircraft
From Hawker Hurricanes to a Bristol Blenheim, the Battle of Britain Air Show will showcase an array of fighter and bomber aircraft in daring flying displays. The air show will culminate in a mass flight of 18 Supermarine Spitfires, synonymous with the Battle of Britain in 1940.

2. Watch historic Duxford footage from Imperial War Mumseums’ film archives
Visitors can watch rarely seen films from IWM’s archives, include amateur footage taken by Prince William of Gloucester at the Battle of Britain (1969) film set a RAF Duxford. Second World War footage taken during King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1941, and of the US Air Force’s fighter pilots based at Duxford, will also be screened.

3. Have a vintage makeover and enter the ‘best dressed’
A wardrobe department will be on hand with aviation-themed costumes to help visitors look the part in IWM Duxford’s film set. Hair and makeup gurus Pretty Me Vintage will demonstrate how to create 1940s victory rolls, while traders will be offering an array of garments, from bomber jackets to boiler suits.

4. Get lost in the Land Warfare Hall
The costume and props worn by American soldiers in the exhibition hall were originally costumes in Spielberg’s D-Day classic Saving Private Ryan, and the Tiger Tank featured in the film. Further along the Normandy Experience trail, visitors can spot General Montgomery’s campaign caravans, used during Operation Overlord in 1944.

5. Pick up a Spitfire souvenir
Air show visitors can browse through IWM Duxford’s shops, and pick up anything from a Spitfire keyring to a RAF Irvin flying jacket.

www.iwm.org.uk

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