Posts Tagged ‘London’


Thursday, May 17th, 2012


On display: 31st May 2012 – 31st May 2013

Entrance: FREE

The Royal Air Force Museum invites its visitors to turn on, tune in and take off with the revolutionary aviation artist David Bent.

His fans include international air force pilots, art collectors, Chiefs of Staff, captains of industry and even the legendary Red Arrows – with whom he has collaborated as Artist in Residence.

Considered as challenging, thought provoking and innovative, David Bent’s art combines the technological with the spiritual and compels the viewer to stop and take notice.

Inspired at an early age by his father’s passion for aviation, David has dedicated his life to his art and love of aviation and travelling. All of his work references aspects of his life’s journey and offer a personal glimpse into his unique world view. Each composition demands time for re-examination as details, previously hidden when first viewed are revealed anew forcing multiple re-interpretations.

Big, bold and captivating, whether wittily subverting the destructive power of nuclear arms race, celebrating the sheer joy of pilots in flight or enticing the viewer to work out the hidden imagery contained within his art, David Bent’s style is considered by many to be a breath of fresh air for aviation art.

Combining both the traditional and avant garde, David Bent presents the Royal Air Force in a way that you have not thought of it before. His view is, so to speak, through an unfamiliar prism, at times humorous, at times fantastical and at times linking his admiration for the shapes of the natural world with his interest in aeronautical structures.

Andrew Cormack Keeper of Visual Arts, Medals and Uniforms at the Royal Air Force Museum:
“The RAF Museum is delighted to host an exhibition of the work of aviation artist David Bent. He brings a new look to the subject, at times witty and charming, at others subtly menacing, but imbued with a deep respect and affection for the Royal Air Force and for all who conduct their business in the heavens”.

David Bent:

“As an artist in love with aviation, I am honoured that such a historic and brilliant place as the RAF Museum is hosting this exhibition of my work.”

The exhibition will also be supported by a series of activities and trails enabling unique opportunities for children and young people to interact and to be inspired by the Art and the stories behind it.

Further details on these activities will be posted on the Museum’s website during the next couple of months.

Entry to Fresh Air is free of charge to visitors; as is entry to the Museum. The exhibition will be shown daily from 10am to 6pm until May 31st 2013. For further details please visit or dial 020 8205 2266.

Brick by Brick – Rebuilding Our Past

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

BBC2, 9pm Friday 6th April

The Grahame-White Watch Office at The Royal Air Force Musem London is the subject of an hour long documentary on BBC2 this Friday.

On Good Friday at 9pm BBC2 will be showcasing the Royal Air Force Museum’s Grahame-White Watch Office Restoration Project in a documentary that explores the building’s dismantling brick by brick from its original site, the salvaging of its original materials, its relocation to the Museum’s site and its final restoration to its full 1915 glory. A task made all the more difficult by the 25 years of vandalism and decay the building suffered since closing to the public in the mid 1980s.

During the course of this restoration process architectural engineer Charlie Luxton will guide viewers through this vast and complex three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle as it is pieced back together; whilst exploring the traditional crafts necessary to restore the dilapidated Grahame-White Watch Office; and discovering the challenges that the building’s original construction created for the restoration team. At times, things are not quite what they seem, and rather than correcting the mistakes of the past both architects and the restoration team adhere to the original drawings and errors to reconstruct the building as it actually was during its hey-day.

At the same time, architectural historian Dan Cruickshank investigates the building’s history, discovering the incredible stories it has to tell of the people who worked, slept, played in its environs.

People such as Richard Thomas Gates, the Grahame-White factory’s first manager and the first serving pilot to die defending London from aerial attack during the First World War ; female workers such as Miss Pilkington for whom working at the factory was an escape from the day to day drudgery of unskilled labour offered to women at the time; and of Claude Grahame-White, a man very nearly written out of the pages of history by an Officer and Upper Class who showed him little or no respect for his achievements in the defence of the realm and his plans to turn Hendon into a major aviation hub, with the site that the Royal Air Force Museum currently occupies becoming the world’s first international airport.

This programme is the first in a series of three that explores the incredible stories of historic buildings as they are rescued from the bulldozers and meticulously resurrected in completely new locations; and will be broadcast on Friday 6th of April at 9pm on BBC2. After viewing the programme members of the public are welcome to examine the work of the restoration team for themselves.

The Claude Grahame-White Watch Office and Hangar is open daily to the public from 10am to 6pm and like the rest of the Royal Air Force Museum site is free for members of the public to visit. For further details about the restoration project, and the aircraft of the Grahame-White Watch Office and Hangar, please visit


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Through the Eyes of A Service Child

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Free to Enter Photography Competition for U.K. Service Children.

1st of March 2012

Following the success of the 2011 ‘Through the eyes of a Service Child’ Art competition, the Service Children Support Network in association with the Royal Air Force Museum is proud to launch their 2012 ‘Through the eyes of a Service Child’ photographic competition; the winning entries of which will be displayed in an exhibition at the Museum’s London site later this year.

The children of all personnel currently serving in any of the United Kingdom’s three Armed Services (Navy, RAF or Army) and their Reserve Units are invited to submit a photograph that reflects their experience as a Service Child. Entries are by age category: Aged 5 and Under; Age 6 to 9 years; Age 10 to 13 years; and age 14 to 18 years – with each child able to submit a maximum of 3 photographs per entry.

The Royal Air Force Museum will be awarding a generous selection of prizes from its shop to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed winners in all four categories with all 12 winners invited to a Prize Giving Ceremony at the Royal Air Force Museum London, to take place this summer, where they will be able to view their photographs on display to the public. These winning images will then be published in the Service Children Support Network’s calendar for 2013 raising valuable funds for the charity.

Keith Ifould, Director of Commercial Services at the Royal Air Force Museum comments:

‘For some service children it can be very unsettling when either their mother or father is away from the family home on active service. This can, in some instances, lead to children of Service Personnel facing added challenges in terms of their educational attainment or fitting in with their classroom peers who may have difficulty understanding the worries that Service Children have. The Service Children Support Network provides valuable support to educational professionals who work with Service Children, enabling such children to reach their full potential in the classroom whilst at the same time providing practical help and advice to the partners of active serving personnel.

Accordingly, I am very happy for the Royal Air Force Museum to lend its support to the Service Children Support Network in the promotion of its annual photography competition, and the subsequent creation of its 2013 calendar, in support of the charity’s work.’

For full details of how to enter the competition and its rules please go to:

The competition itself will run from 1st March 2012 until 15th May 2012, with judging of the competition taking place in June.

The Royal Air Force Museum operates at two sites. One London and Cosford, Shropshire. It is open daily from 10am to 6pm and admission is free of charge. For further details about the Museum and to find out when the Service Children Support Network’s Photography Exhibition will be shown at the Museum’s London site, please visit

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The Glove Fits for RAF Photo Competition Winners

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

The winning images from the annual Royal Air Force Photographic Competition will be on view to members of the public at the RAF Museum London from 15th January 2012.

The Royal Air Force is celebrating the superb achievements of its photographers following the judging of the annual RAF Photographic Competition. The winning entries are to be displayed at a unique exhibition at the RAF Museum in North London which opens on 15th January.

Subject categories range from ‘The Operational Experience’, an image that reflects the Royal Air Force conducting vital work on operations or training in support of operations, through to the ‘Equipment’ category which gives photographers the exciting opportunity to display their skill photographing the Service’s world-class equipment. The 2011 RAF Public Relations Photograph of the year was taken by Sgt Pete Mobbs of RAF Coningsby. His photograph ‘If the Glove Fits’ captured a 3 Squadron Pilot climbing into the cock-pit of a Royal Air Force Typhoon operating from Gioia del Colle in Italy in support of Operation Unified Protector, as part of the NATO-led, UN-mandated coalition to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 calling upon coalition forces to successfully protect the people of Libya from attacks made upon them by the regime of the late Colonel Gadaffi.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton presented the winners with their awards. He said ‘The competition entries this year are once again of the highest quality and showcase not only the professional abilities of our Royal Air Force Photographers but also the tremendous diversity and adaptability of our people and equipment. These dynamic images reflect the extensive breadth of Service life and the critical contribution that our personnel have made to global operations, in particular our support to operations in both Libya and Afghanistan.’

For 22 years, the Royal Air Force has held a photographic competition in recognition of the skills and high standard of work of their trained photographers and to highlight that the Royal Air Force remains a global force and is on operations around the world. The Royal Air Force’s successful mission in Libya alongside its continued commitments to operations in Afghanistan, the Falkland Islands, and the continued protection of UK air-space provided significant subject matter for RAF photographers during 2011.

Consequently, a large number of the entries in this year’s competition reflect the broad range of operational and pre-deployment training activities that are undertaken by the Service: such as Chinook and Merlin helicopters that provide essential mobility, moving personnel and equipment and undertaking medical evacuations crewed by Royal Air Force medical teams; those aircraft necessary for the successful supply of UK forces abroad; and the mission critical protection provided by the RAF Regiment.

Warrant Officer Mick Gladwin, who is responsible for the Photographic Trade Group said:” Royal Air Force Photographers have superb technical ability and take great pride in their work. As reflected in the entries this year, they strive to achieve the highest standards in areas as diverse as aerial reconnaissance, portraiture and video as well as completing tasks in support of the police, post crash management, engineering, medical and dental branches in their day-to-day duties.”

In excess of 900 images were entered in the competition which made the selection of winners extremely difficult. Judging this year was conducted by Air Cdre (Ret’d) Barry Doggett, Mr Andy Whittle (Retired Warrant Officer Photographer), Mr Colin Inglis Commercial Business Manager for Jacobs Digital.

All were unanimous in their appreciation of the very high standard, quality and diversity of work produced by both Service and civilian photographers.

The photographs will be on display in the RAF Museum, electronically beamed onto glass screens located in the ‘RAF Today’ area of the Milestones of Flight Gallery. The exhibition will be on show at the Museum’s London site until 15th April when it will then transfer to the Museum’s Cosford’s site in Shropshire.

Entry to the Royal Air Force Photographer of the Year Exhibition is free of charge to visitors; as is entry to the Museum. The exhibition will be shown daily from 10am to 6pm until April 15th. For further details please visit or dial 020 8205 2266.

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Interactive gallery to receive £25,000 upgrade

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The Royal Air Force Museum is pleased to announce it has received a grant from the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust for the purpose of upgrading its interactive gallery for children.

The grant comes soon after the Charitable Trust supported the successful upgrade of the interactive gallery at the Museum’s Cosford site earlier this year, which refurbished the older exhibits and also added updated ones.

Between July and September 2012 Aeronauts will be transformed, widening the range and number of visitors able to take part in activities. The revamp will also create a new teaching space for school visits to the Museum.

The upgrade will create a new interactive activity area for younger visitors and families and allow the Museum to develop advanced scientific information displays for older visitors.

New exhibitions will include a balance machine to test pilot aptitude, an ultrasonic radar table and lifesized model aircraft for younger children to explore.

The Aeronauts Interactive Gallery in London was opened in 1998 by members of the popular BBC Children’s show ‘Blue Peter’. It currently contains over thirty ‘hands on’ exhibits which teach children about the scientific aspects of flight and aircraft design.

The gallery was designed for children aged from 7 – 12 years and is popular with both school parties and the general public. It is divided into 7 fascinating areas, each focusing on a specific flight related topic. Visitors can walk through the cloud wall into a world of flying machines, experience a Dakota that flew on the D Day operation or discover whether they have the “Right Stuff” with our pilot aptitude test. Technophiles can enter the “Hangar” to learn about engineering, or feel the thrust of a propeller and propel themselves down a track. Or, daredevils who are really ready for action can take their place in the “Mission”.

Andy McGlynn, the Museum’s Head of Fundraising:

“We are delighted that the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust is supporting the transformation of the Aeronauts Gallery. These changes will improve the experience we are able to offer visitors of all ages and create exciting new ways to discover the science of flight.”

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Polish & Czech RAF Veterans Honoured

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Brothers in Arms:

Poles and Czechs in the Battle of Britain & Beyond.

Free Exhibition – 16th of September to 4th March 2012

During the Battle of Britain one fifth of Fighter Command’s aircrew came from overseas with 16 nations represented in its many squadrons. Arguably the RAF’s most prolific and successful pilots of the campaign were the dispossessed Polish, Czech and Slovak pilots who had fled their homelands to fight, as brothers in arms, against the tyranny that dominated most of Continental Europe. The Royal Air Force Museum will honour the efforts and sacrifice of these selfless individuals in a new multi-media exhibition, ‘Brothers in Arms’, which will be on display to the public in the Museum’s new temporary exhibition Gallery from 16th September onwards.

In this exhibition, created in association with the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, visitors will be invited to explore through drawings, archive film footage and sculpture the bravery of the men of No 303 Polish Squadron and individuals such as Czech Fighter Pilot Josef Frantisek. Sadly, many of those who survived the war were later deemed criminals and outcasts in Poland & Czechoslovakia for fear that they might oppose the new communist regimes of Eastern Europe

As well as historic uniforms, personal documents – including original combat reports and private diaries – and other artifacts, the Museum will also have on display the remains of the first German aircraft shot down by No 303 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, as well as exhibition panels created by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance.

To engage younger visitors, a giant board game commemorating the role of No 303 Polish Squadron, the top scoring squadron of the Battle of Britain, will be on display in the Museum’s Reception Area. Created by Dr Tomasz Ginter & Karol Madaj from the Institute of National Remembrance’s Public Education Office in Warsaw the game’s aim is to engage children with the history of No 303 Squadron through play – inspiring them to learn further about all the nationalities who contributed to the Royal Air Force during World War 2.

Peter Dye, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum stated, “It is important to remember that the ‘Few’ contained many nations, including pilots from across occupied Europe. These brave men died defending their adopted country while those that survived were often unable to return home and, if they did, found themselves treated as criminals. It is vital that their efforts and sacrifices are not forgotten and that their example continues to inspire a new generation to work together in defence of democracy and our shared values. The Royal Air Force Museum is honoured to host this exhibition and to recognise the debt owed to those thousands of Polish, Czech and Slovak veterans who fought for Britain in its darkest hour.”

As a companion piece to this exhibition, the Museum has also created an online exhibition ‘For Your Freedom and Ours’ which narrates the History of 303 Polish Squadron and other Polish Pilots who served with the Royal Air Force during World War 2 together with a Polish language podcast on this topic. Polish & Czech RAF Veterans, their families and friends are invited to contribute to their stories to this exhibition through an online form. To visit this online exhibition please go to

The Royal Air Force Museum London is open daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm with last admission to the Museum being at 5.30pm. Admission to the Museum, and to ‘Brothers in Arms’, is free of charge. For further details about this exhibition please call 020 8205 2266 or visit

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Sir Richard Branson Helps To Kick Start RAF Museum Fundraising Campaign

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The Royal Air Force Museum has launched a fundraising campaign to rescue the sole surviving example of the WWII Dornier Do-17 aircraft.

The Museum is now appealing to the public to raise the remaining £250,000 to complete the recovery and restoration project. The public fundraising campaign is also endorsed by Sir Richard Branson who is a supporter of the Museum.

Sir Richard Branson: “The discovery of the Dornier is of international importance. Please support the RAF Museum’s appeal to save this unique aircraft as a tribute to the loss of life on both sides of the Battle of Britain.”

The German wartime bomber was shot down during the height of the Battle of Britain exactly 71 years ago and has since then been submerged in the waters of the Goodwin Sands. It is currently at risk from tidal forces, the effects of salt water corrosion and is exposed to looters. Therefore it is imperative that the aircraft is recovered and conserved urgently.

With a crew of four, and loaded with 2000lb of bombs, the aircraft, a twin-engine Dornier Do-17 – known universally as ‘The Flying Pencil ‘- was part of a large enemy formation intercepted by RAF fighter aircraft at midday on 26 August 1940 as they attempted to attack airfields in Essex.

The aircraft is in remarkable condition – considering that it was damaged in air combat and has spent so many years under water. Other than marine concretion, it is largely intact, the main undercarriage tyres remain inflated and the propellers clearly show the damage inflicted during the aircraft’s final landing.

Since the Dornier emerged from the sands two years ago, the RAF Museum has worked with Wessex Archaeology and English Heritage, as well as Imperial College London and the Dornier Museum, to complete a full survey of the wreck site in preparation for the aircraft’s recovery and eventual exhibition.

Work to conserve and prepare the Dornier for display will be undertaken at the RAF Museum’s award-winning conservation centre at Cosford. Here the Dornier will be placed alongside the Museum’s Vickers Wellington which is currently undergoing long term restoration.

Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye, Director General of the RAF Museum said that “As a survivor of the Battle of Britain, the Dornier Do-17 is a unique aircraft of national and international importance and our long term plan is to conserve it for display at the Museum. We very much hope that this exciting and unique project will receive support from the public and become the focus for a collaborative effort by apprentices from across the world.”

Other major donors to this project include EADS (£7,500) and the RAF Museum Society of Friends (£6,000).

Public donations can be made at:

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Special delivery flight to mark 100th Anniversary of the first Air Mail Letter

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

One hundred years ago Claude Grahame-White launched the World’s First Aerial Post, flying mail from Hendon to Windsor to celebrate the Coronation of King George V.

On September 9th this year The Royal air Force Museum takes part in the centenary celebrations for the first ever Air Mail flight with a commemorative flight and letters to Her Majesty The Queen!

In a world before emails, texts and social networking the first ever Air Mail flight in the world took place between the London Aerodrome in Hendon North London to Windsor on September 9th 1911.

The historic 15 minute flight was piloted by Gustav Hamel in a Bleriot aircraft and as well as letters from the general public it also carried a number of official ones to reigning monarchs, emperors and world leaders.

Today the Royal Air Force Museum stands at the grounds of the original London Aerodrome and on 9th September, a commemorative helicopter flight will leave the Museum at 1100 flying over the original 1911 route to Windsor Great Park. It will be carrying mail, anniversary cards and covers produced by Buckingham Covers. Air Marshall Sir Ian Macfadyen, the Constable and Governer of Windsor Castle will be on board and it is hoped that a Bleriot will fly again in the park at Windsor (weather permitting), piloted by Henk van Hoorn.

Also in attendance at Windsor, will be Eric “Winkle” Brown who holds the record of the largest number of aircraft flown) and Tony Iveson – the only Battle of Britain pilot to have won a medal as Bomber Captain (Tirpitz).

The Museum is also inviting its younger visitors to write a brief message to Her Majesty the Queen, telling her what they like the most about growing up in 2011. Letters should be brought to the Royal Air Force Museum where there will be a special post box and all letters posted there will be carried by helicopter to Windsor on Friday 9 September.

Letters can be written on site at the Museum on a special letterhead and placed in a postbox at the London site.

The Royal Mint will also be issuing a miniature sheet of stamps, Tower Mint have struck a commemorative medallion and Buckingham Covers are producing commemorative presentation packs and covers.

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Car Parking charges at Royal Air Force Museum London

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

From 1st April 2010, a small car parking charge will be payable by visitors to the Royal Air Force Museum’s London site. The income generated will be used to assist in meeting the costs of maintaining the Museum’s national collection and of operating its sites.Free admission to the museum will continue as normal.

The fees for vehicles will be introduced on the 1st April 2010 and will be £2.50 for up to 3 hours parking and £3.50 for 3-6 hours.

The RAF Museum London houses a collection of 100 aircraft in 5 hangars and is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of Battle of Britain aircraft, which is housed in the site’s Battle of Britain Hall. The museum also offers an interactive gallery for children, Aeronauts as well as an hourly sound and light show ‘Our Finest Hour’ plus 3D cinema.

The museum is located just off Junction 4 on the M1 and also enjoys good public transport links with the 303 bus providing a regular direct service to the Museum from Colindale Underground Station (take the bus from directly outside the station to Edgware) or from Mill Hill East Thames Link Station (take the bus directly to Colindale).

For more information on the Royal Air Force Museum, please visit the Museum website or call 020 8205 2266. Alternatively, if you require assistance during the course of your journey, please visit our mobile phone website The Museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm (last admission 5.30pm). Entry to the Museum is FREE of charge.

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