Posts Tagged ‘February’

Second World War aircraft restored using original doping techniques

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

Lysander at London

A Second World War Westland Lysander III (SD), the only surviving Special Duties variant of its type has been restored to its former glory and will be on display at RAF Museum London.

The aircraft has undergone conservation work including a new fabric outer skin and complete repaint in the Museum’s Michael Beetham Conservation Centre. Formerly displayed at the Museum’s London site in No. 225 Squadron markings, the Lysander is now painted in No. 161 Squadron Special Ops colour scheme, reflecting its service towards the end of the war in non-operational special transport services.

Beginning in November 2016, the aircraft underwent an in-depth inspection and condition assessment followed by a few minor structural repairs. The airframe’s damaged fabric covering was replaced while a team of volunteers cleaned and lubricated mechanical systems back to a functional state.

The aircrafts biggest transformation comes from the recovering of its airframe in a traditional Irish linen fabric, hand sewn by the Museum’s Surface Finish Technician and then strengthened using original doping techniques.

RAF Museum, Surface Finish Technician Clive Roberts said:
“Thousands of stiches were made attaching the linen to the fuselage, wings and tailplane followed by six coats of doping, a UV microwave protection layer, primer and then finally painted in its 161 Squadron Special Ops colour scheme. It’s a slow process but essential to preserving the aircraft for as long as possible. We sought the help of a Lysander expert based in Switzerland, who provided us with original photographs and technical drawings to help with the paint scheme. One of the photos shows that during R9125’s service with 161 Squadron the cooling gills were incorrectly fitted so the camouflage no longer lined up. Since this has been documented we will change ours to match that.”

The Museum’s example, serial number R9125 first became operational with No. 225 Squadron in 1940 as a coastal patrol and photo reconnaissance aircraft, based along the south coast of England. It took on the Special Duties role with No. 161 Squadron in 1944 and was operational for a further two years until they became obsolete from the RAF in 1946.

The Lysander was originally designed for Army Co-operation duties including artillery spotting and reconnaissance. However, its lasting fame is not in this role, but as a Special Duties aircraft ferrying Allied agents in and out of enemy occupied Europe. Despite some notable successes, the Army Co-operation units suffered extremely high casualties – over 170 Lysanders were sent to France in 1939 and only 50 came back. Following their withdrawal from France, Lysanders patrolled the coastal areas of south and east England as an anti-invasion reconnaissance measure and later, began air-sea rescue duties in the Channel and North Sea.

Visitors to the RAF Museum London will get the first glimpse of the aircraft in Hangar 5 this Spring.

2022 Air Shows go on sale as IWM Duxford announces bumper flying season

Monday, February 7th, 2022

IWM Duxford Airshows

Running from May through to October, IWM Duxford’s flying season brings the historic airfield to life and, this year, a jam-packed programme of events promises plenty of thrilling aerobatics, roaring Spitfires and entertainment on the ground. Tickets to all flying events for 2022 will be on general sale from today.

Returning for 2022, the Duxford Summer Air Show will be taking place on 18-19 June promising fun for all the family with fast-flying, all-action aerobatics and spectacular sights in the air and on the ground. The annual Battle of Britain Air Show will return on 10-11 September offering visitors an immersion into the 1940s when RAF Duxford played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain, helping to defend the United Kingdom against Nazi air attacks. Expect plenty of Spitfire nostalgia as history is brought to life across the site for this much-loved weekend of flying entertainment.

Thanks to our friends at Aerial Collective, we are thrilled to be able to offer an exclusive prize of an unforgettable flight in a Spitfire. Any visitor who books a ticket to either Air Show before midnight on Tuesday 8 March will be automatically entered into the prize draw.
In addition to these two fantastic weekend events, the IWM Duxford Air Show team will also be welcoming visitors to its Duxford Flying Evening on 27 August to catch spectacular aircraft in flight as dusk descends over the airfield. Whilst Duxford Flying Finale on 8 October will bring together highlights from the year as we say farewell to another fantastic season of flying.

IWM Duxford’s flying season wouldn’t be complete without Flying Days and there will be six of these taking place between May-October 2022. From commemorating D-Day to celebrating the 25th anniversary since the American Air Museum opened at Duxford, each of these individually themed events will present aerial displays and specially curated ground activities.

IWM Air Show Event Manager, Phil Hood, said “Last year, our Air Shows were the biggest in the country and we were thrilled to welcome thousands of visitors back on site for these two fantastic weekends. For 2022, we have been working hard behind the scenes to create even more events to pack into our six-month flying season. Over the coming months there will be more announcements, including display acts and showground content, but we can say for certain that it will be a flying season to remember.”

RAF Museum celebrates Jewish and Indian Hidden Heroes

Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Hidden Heroes

On Thursday evening the Museum invited guests from the Indian and Jewish communities to commemorate the immense diversity within the RAF in its 100+ years.

The RAF Museum is committed to sharing the RAF story with everyone and the evening included a Jewish Hidden Heroes talk by the Jewish author and historian Joshua Levine, and an Indian Hidden Heroes talk by the Indian journalist and author Shrabani Basu, both Ambassadors for the RAFM. Special guest AVM Simon Edwards (ACAS) was also in attendance, along with a group of RAF officers from the both the Jewish and Indian communities.

The event was sponsored by Advinia Healthcare (Main Sponsor), Mizrahi Tefahot Bank and the Asian Jewish Business Network.

The RAF Museum Jewish Hidden Heroes project gathers and shares untold stories, both online and in our galleries, of the Jewish personnel in the RAF during the Second World War. The project is supported by Roman Abramovich and the CFC Foundation for its Say No to Anti-Semitism Campaign.

• Joshua Levine, RAFM Ambassador – Jewish, bestselling author who has written seven critically acclaimed histories. Most recently he worked as Historical Consultant on Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dunkirk. His book, Dunkirk: The History behind the Major Motion Picture spent five weeks at the top of the Sunday Times bestseller list.

• Shrabani Basu, RAF Museum Ambassador – Indian journalist and historian who is a Sunday Times best-selling author which include the critically acclaimed: ‘Victoria and Abdul: The Story of the Queen’s Closest Confident’ (an Oscar nominated film starring Dame Judy Dench and Ali Fazal) and ‘Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan’.

RAF Museum acquires Goodman medals

Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Benny Goodman medals

Expert Medal Auctioneers, Dix Noonan Webb have arranged the sale of the Second War campaign group of six awarded to Lancaster pilot Squadron Leader L. S. ‘Benny’ Goodman to the RAF Museum. Goodman, who died in July 2021, aged 100 and his memorial service will be held at St. Clement Danes Church, this Friday (February 4, 2022) was the last surviving RAF pilot of 617 (Dambuster) Squadron to attack the German battleship Tirpitz. He went on to be one of the few pilots to drop the 22,000lb ‘Grand Slam’ bomb, the heaviest ever dropped by the Royal Air Force, and by the end of the war he had flown on 30 bombing operations.

The medals were sold with Squadron Leader Goodman’s brown leather Irvin flying jacket, five Royal Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Books plus several photographs and photographic images of the recipient as well as a variety of books.

Christopher Mellor-Hill, Head of Client Liaison (Associate Director), Dix Noonan Webb commented: “DNW are pleased to have facilitated the sale of “Benny” Goodman’s medals and memorabilia to the RAF Museum by mutual agreement before the auction. They will be part of a major exhibit being planned by the museum.”

Squadron Leader Goodman’s son, Robert, also added: “I’m very pleased that my father’s medals and artefacts will be purchased by the RAF Museum with the proceeds of the sale benefitting the Royal Air Force No 617 Squadron Association. I’m sure that he would have been thrilled that his legacy will be kept alive for the nation and shared with the world at the RAF Museum while giving back to No 617 Squadron, with which he fought so valiantly during the Second World War.”

Dr Peter Johnston (Head of Collections and Research, the RAF Museum) explained: “The Museum is delighted to have acquired this wonderful piece of history which enables us to tell a unique part of the Royal Air Force story. “Benny” Goodman had a fantastic relationship with the Museum and was featured in the Jewish ‘Hidden Heroes’ project that was launched in 2018. We are planning that his medals and log book will go on display in the Bomber Command Hall as part of its redevelopment in 2023.”

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.”


Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

RIAT 2021 Cancelled

This summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo, which was due to take place at RAF Fairford, in Gloucestershire on July 16-18, has been cancelled by organisers, the RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises (RAFCTE).

RAFCTE Directors concluded that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 meant there were too many risks associated with pressing ahead with the airshow. It is the second year running the event has been unable to take place.

Air Tattoo CEO Paul Atherton said he and his team had been working hard during the past six months to explore ways in which the Air Tattoo could take place against the backdrop of the pandemic but, with five months to the event, there still remained too many unknowns.

“If we knew, with some degree of certainty what the situation would be in the summer,” he said, “we’d be able to plan ahead but, the truth is, we simply don’t know. We have reached a point where, to plan further, would involve us committing large sums of money to secure the event infrastructure. Without any insurance being available this year, this money would be lost if the airshow had to cancel nearer the time. It was simply too big a risk to take.

“I know how disappointed all those who are involved in the airshow will be, from our incredible army of volunteers and loyal ticketholders to our valued corporate guests, suppliers, traders and sponsors, as well as the many military air arms from around the globe, but I also know they will understand and support our decision. Public safety is paramount, and we also have a duty to protect the future of RIAT. By making this decision in a timely and controlled manner, we will be in a far stronger position to bounce back in 2022.”

Mr Atherton added that it was particularly disappointing to have to announce the cancellation of the airshow this year, the Air Tattoo’s 50th anniversary.

He said: “Everyone was looking forward to marking the Air Tattoo’s 50th at RAF Fairford in July and we had some great ideas as to how best to celebrate the incredible achievements of this much-loved event since it was first staged in 1971. We remain determined to identify new opportunities to mark this important milestone this year, both by building on the success of last year’s inaugural Virtual Air Tattoo as well as other exciting activities, where possible.”

All ticketholders for this summer’s Air Tattoo will be contacted by the end of February and offered either a refund or the opportunity to roll over their tickets to the 2022 Air Tattoo, which will take place on July 15-17.


Monday, February 8th, 2021

RAF Cosford Air Show

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, and the resulting short-term uncertainty for mass events, the RAF Cosford Air Show team have taken the difficult decision to postpone this year’s event, which was to be held on Sunday 13th June 2021.

Whilst the Air Show Team is disappointed to be in this position once again, they are already reviewing options to create a smaller, socially-distanced event across the weekend of the 11th and 12th September 2021. Further details will be announced through Air Show social media and the Air Show website once the position for mass events is clearer.

Air Show Director, Mr Clive Elliott, said, “The health and well-being of our visitors and serving personnel is always our top priority. The team is working hard to develop an event which will include many of the familiar Air Show highlights whilst keeping our visitors safe.”

Customers who have held onto their 2020 tickets can request a refund at or they will remain valid for the next Air Show event.


Friday, February 5th, 2021

Yeovilton Air Day Cancelled

With great regret, we must announce that the Royal Navy International Air Day (RNIAD) will not take place this year as scheduled at RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, on Saturday 10 July.

Due to the ongoing uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and currentgovernment policy on large outdoor gatherings, the risks associated with hosting a large-scale international event in July is too significant for all parties involved. It is therefore with great disappointment that the Royal Navy has had to make the difficult decision to cancel their flagship public event.

The annual airshow welcomes over 35,000 visitors from across the UK and aviation enthusiasts from around the world as well as many aircraft from allied nations to participate in the extensive flying and static displays. The Royal Navy and AHA Events Ltd would like to take this opportunity to thank them, along with sponsors, exhibitors, service providers, station personnel and the many other stakeholders, for their continued support to the RNIAD and hope to welcome them back in 2022.

Swiss Air Force to Wow the Crowds at The RAF Cosford Air Show 2020

Friday, February 28th, 2020

Cosford Air Show tickets now on sale

On Sunday 14th June 2020, the Swiss Air Force will be sending their elite PC-7 Team to perform in the skies over Shropshire.

Named after the nine PC-7 Pilatus training aircraft which they fly in breath-taking formation, their display programme has been continually refined over the years, with some exciting new elements like multiple crossings and mirror flights.

Formed in 1989, the Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team has become a true ambassador for the Swiss Armed Forces. This will be the second time the Swiss Air Force PC-7 Team have displayed at RAF Cosford, performing an exhilarating and elegant flying display demonstrating Swiss precision at its best. Indeed their last performance at Cosford was so good it won them the coveted Hartree Trophy for best display.

Air Show Director, Mr Clive Elliott, said,” We are extremely pleased to welcome our friends from the Swiss Air Force back to RAF Cosford and excited to see another award-winning display from the PC-7 Team.”

The RAF Cosford Air Show attracts over 50,000 visitors. The event will again be an Advanced Ticket Only event, with standard adult tickets priced at £32 and accompanied under 16s are free.

For more information about the displays planned at the Air Show, and to purchase your admission tickets, visit the Air Show website:

In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Graham Sutherland Camouflaged Bombers

Date: 27 March 2020 – 28 March 2021
Cost: Free entry

A collection of work exploring artists’ responses to the Battle of Britain and the Blitz (July 1940 – May 1941) as they represented evolving machinery, communications, and urban landscapes, shaped by what was an unprecedented ‘war in the air’, is set to go on display at the Royal Air Force Museum London next month.

The exhibition entitled ‘In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz’ will open to the public on Friday 27 March 2020 from 10.00am until 5.00pm daily. Visitors can view over sixty works of art, several of which will be on display for the first time as part of this exhibition. Entry is free and visitors to the RAF Museum will have until 28 March 2021 to view the work.

As sky battles unfolded across the South and East of England in the summer of 1940, followed by cities’ bombardment in proceeding months, artists produced a pictorial record of the war, many of their works commissioned and purchased by Sir Kenneth Clark’s War Artists’ Advisory Committee (WAAC).

The exhibition features works by Official War Artists, including Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Carel Weight, Anthony Gross, Richard Eurich and Eric Kennington. Yet it extends beyond the prominent male members of the British School, championed by Clark, to reflect the full range of war artists’ contributions. It seeks to bring together the stories and perspectives of artists from diverse backgrounds, highlighting the best of collection works from the period.

Comprising around half of the curated selection, the exhibition celebrates the works of women war artists, most of whom were overlooked for commissions, whose pictures were typically purchased by the patriarchal WAAC or produced for independent projects. They include Laura Knight, Doris Zinkeisen, Eve Kirk, Olga Lehmann, Rachel Reckitt, Mary Viola Paterson, Enid Abrahams, Elva Blacker, Elsie Gledstanes and Lilian Buchanan. Unofficial war artists, many involved with the relief effort of the Blitz, also contributed significant works on themes of civil defence and devastation.

Modernist artists drew inspiration from the formidable forms of fighter and bomber aircraft, representing them in themes of manufacture, repair, camouflage, and aerial operations. As the ‘personalities’ of modern warfare, planes became new portrait subjects. If ever more powerful aircraft inspired artists to evoke an ‘automative’ war, so too were they excited by the expressive possibilities of other new apparatus. The barrage balloon was an alluring subject for figurative artists, an ungainly behemoth, incongruous to the landscapes of everyday life, seemingly mightier than its human operatives.

But the human presence in this war was far from overlooked. Beyond the carapaces of their machines, pilots and crew of Fighter and Bomber Commands were famed in portraits promoting the achievements of the RAF. Furthermore, artist members of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force naturally documented the familiar people and spaces of the RAF stations they served. And with the onslaught of the Blitz, artists addressed domestic themes such as the Air Raid Precaution and fire services, ambulance and rescue work, and communal sheltering.

Alongside shelter, the blighted landscape became a major propagandist subject, to be reproduced across the world to proclaim Britain’s plight and fortitude. In updating the ruin scene, suggestive of a Romantic past, artists enshrined the memory and persistence of British culture. German exile Walter Nessler’s Premonition (1937) foretold a London Blitz, presenting an uncanny, dystopian vision of St Paul’s Cathedral rising from an inferno of twisted girders, shattered buildings and scattered buses.

RAF Museum Curator of Fine Art, Julia Beaumont-Jones said:
“As the exhibition will reveal, artists’ interests to interpret this war of ‘air and fire’ were diverse – influenced by the exigencies of employment; excited by new subjects to represent; and driven by a will to express experiences both shared and personal. Seeing these works together offers a rare insight into the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of war artists – from the prominent members of the British School who were officially commissioned, and the formerly overlooked contributions of women artists, to the work of the ‘civil defence artist’, the exiled artist, and the amateur ‘outsider artist’.”

Complementing the exhibition is a Mezzanine Gallery display of related work by Fine Art and Printmaking students from Middlesex University. For more information visit