Posts Tagged ‘May’

Bournemouth Air Festival feels the need for speed on eve of Top Gun Maverick release

Friday, May 27th, 2022

Bournemouth Air Festival

Tom Cruise may have the shades and the swagger, but Bournemouth Air Festival has the full package this Jubilee year, say festival organisers on the eve of the new Top Gun film.

The Red Arrows, who have just finished their season’s training, will have a special colourful seven-aircraft formation celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The team behind the RAF Typhoon, which moves faster than the speed of sound at Mach 1.8 or 1381.08 mph – the same as the new F/A-18F Super Hornets used in Tom Cruise’s latest film – also has a classified surprise in store set to take the crowd’s breath away.

If you want to become your own Maverick, head up to the STEM marquee, which will be 50 per cent bigger this year and aims to inspire the next generation of engineers with a range of exciting stalls and speakers.

There will be lots of things on the ground to keep your mini-Mavericks entertained this year, with fun fair rides, trade and food stalls as displays from the RAF and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight planes soar overhead.

Jon Weaver, festival director, said: “Top Gun may have the glamour, but we have the UK’s best free air, land and sea show right here on our award-winning blue-flag beaches – like Slider says, there’s no points for second best.

“We have some surprises up our sleeves too. With the mix of fast jets, acrobatic aircraft, parachuting teams and heritage aircraft our festival will this year give those on the ground goosebumps.

“So, round up your wingmen and women, stick the date in your diary and watch this space!”

Typhoon Flight Lieutenant Adam O’Hare said he looked forward to showcasing the mind-blowing display of speed, power and agility of the Typhoon aircraft.

He said: “I’m delighted to say this year RAF Typhoon display team will be coming to beautiful Bournemouth. We cannot wait to see you all there!”

The new 20-minute Red Arrows display is created and choreographed by Squadron Leader Tom Bould, who is Red 1 and in his second year as Team Leader.

His team will perform one particular move the ‘Double Goose’, which sounds like Maverick’s wingman in the 80s blockbuster, where the Synchro Pair fly head-on towards five aircraft, then pull-up through a pyramid shape.

He said: “It is with great pride and privilege the Red Arrows have opportunity to join with countless individuals and communities, across the United Kingdom and further afield, to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, by performing a display full of creativity and excitement.

“The new show features lots of loops, rolls and shapes with our trademark patriotic red, white and blue trails, marking this important year and the very best of British.

“Bournemouth Air Festival is certainly one of our favourite UK venues to perform at and we can’t wait to make a return!”

Meanwhile up in the sky, the Merlin Mk 2 helicopter from 814 Naval Air Squadron (The Flying Tigers), which is the world’s most potent submarine hunting helicopter, will be doing a flypast.

Out at sea, a Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate, which is the real work horse of the Royal Navy, will be casting an impressive sight from the ocean’s horizon throughout the event.

Cllr Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Vibrant Places, said: “We’ll never lose that loving feeling for our fantastic Bournemouth Air Festival!

“It’s always wonderful to see families and children having a good time, either at the fun fair, at the STEM marquee, or staring in wonder at the magnificent RAF planes.

“This summer it will be taking place in our Queen’s Jubilee year, so it will be extra special – we can’t wait to see you all there!”



Two Fund Raising Campaigns Launched at Newark Air Museum

Friday, May 20th, 2022

Vulcan XM594 at Newark Air Museum

In the last twenty-four hours the museum has launched two fundraising campaigns to assist on major projects on two of our Avro airframes, Shackleton WR977 and Vulcan XM594.

In December 2021 the museum took ownership of Shackleton WR977 and this was undertaken in the knowledge that some significant structural repairs were required on both main undercarriage structures.

Until this work has been completed we are unable to re-open this particular aircraft for our fabulous cockpit tours. So that we can undertake this work in a safe and secure manner we need to construct two concrete jacking plinths; one under each aircraft wing. Design work has been undertaken for these plinths; so much so the excavation work and pouring of the concrete is due to be taken before the end of May.

In addition to this civils engineering work, we also need to fabricate jacking pads/heads to fit on the jacks that we purchased last autumn. We have tried to source these amongst the aviation community but without success. The construction of the jacking plinths is due to take place during the week commencing 23rd May 2022; followed by the fabrication of the jacking pads/heads. Support for this project can be made via this weblink:

Also during week commencing 23rd May, 2022 scaffolding will be erected at the nose and on the starboard wing of Vulcan XM594, which was also acquired in December 2021. This will allow museum Painting Teams to move onto the aircraft to carry out some much needed refurbishment and repainting work during the summertime.

It is anticipated that this work will take up to ten (10) weeks and on certain occasions it could limit the public access to the aircraft. In the coming days we will be introducing a short fund raising campaign to support this vital restoration work, which will help secure the long-term future of this particular exhibit.

This work should not interrupt the external tours of XM594, which have been a regular feature of our weekend opening sessions. These are led by former Vulcan crew members and provide a fascinating insight into Vulcan operations during the Cold War. Support for this project can be made via this weblink:

IWM Duxford marks 80 years since the Avro Lancaster entered service with events and appearances this summer

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

IWM Lancaster

This year will mark 80 years since the most successful British heavy bomber of the Second World War, the Avro Lancaster, entered service with the RAF and IWM Duxford will be giving the visitors the chance to delve into its fascinating history, see one in flight over the airfield at the annual Duxford Summer Air Show and enjoy a special screening of the new documentary feature film, Lancaster, with the chance to meet the filmmakers.

IWM In Conversation: Lancaster Filmmakers | £40 | 25 June, 9.45am – 4:30pm

Join the filmmakers behind the new feature length documentary, Lancaster, for a talk and Q&A session followed by a screening of this new film release and a guided tour of Duxford’s Lancaster KB889 with the chance to climb inside. Hear behind the scenes insights, including how the team worked with veterans to highlight stories of courage, friendship and the complex moralities of war. During the film you will see incredible footage from the IWM archive as well as scenes shot at the site. Lancaster is produced by Haviland Digital, Trevor Beattie Films and British Film Company.

The Inside View: The Lancaster | £10 | Every Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am and 2:30pm

Visitors can join an expert IWM guide as they grant access behind-the-ropes to explore the iconic 4-engine monoplane, including the chance to enter the iconic aircraft. Learn about the design of the aircraft by Roy Chadwick and its illustrious history in the celebrated Dambusters Raid as well as the heroism of the young men in Bomber Command who would have formed the Lancaster’s crew and the harsh conditions they faced in combat.

Duxford Summer Air Show | £45/£15 | 18 June

For one day only, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster Bomber visits IWM Duxford for a spectacular flying display at this year’s Duxford Summer Air Show. The rest of the weekend is packed with all the thrills and spills you’d expect from with fast-flying, all-action aerobatics, and spectacular sights in the air and activities for all the family to enjoy on the ground.

RAF Museum Extends Relationship with Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

RAF Museum staff

The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce the renewal of its official association with the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust.

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been formally signed between the Royal Air Force Museum and the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust, in the presence of the Museum’s CEO Maggie Appleton MBE and Graham K Clarkson, Chairman of the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust

The MOU will see the RAF Museum and Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust continue their partnership and further develop the interests of both parties through collaborative programmes focused around the Museum’s Short Sunderland flying boat – which was originally located at Pembroke over 50 years ago.

RAF Museum CEO Maggie Appleton says:
We are delighted to continue our partnership – and friendship – with the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust. As a National Museum, we are committed to inspiring people with the RAF story right across the UK. This relationship supports that aim and underlines our joint commitment to share our expertise and experience with each other.

Graham K Clarkson, Chairman Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust added: “I am very pleased to have signed the MOU on behalf of the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust and look forward to our continued co-operation with the RAF Museum on many points of mutual interest. We are particularly looking forward to working together on special projects for the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre which relate to our long RAF history. I am sure that the MOU will be the basis of many joint ventures and co-operation in the future which will to be the benefit of both parties and to visitors to both centres.”

Spitfire takes off on tour of the Midlands

Sunday, May 1st, 2022

Spitfire PR XIX

A Spitfire from the Royal Air Force Museum Midlands will go on tour this summer, visiting regional towns and cities as part of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

The iconic aircraft will visit four locations across the Midlands in May, June and July, touring some of the region’s popular landmarks, highlighting and celebrating the area’s rich RAF heritage.

A tour of the rare blue reconnaissance Spitfire PR. XIX will be stopping off in Coventry, Leicester, Shrewsbury, and Telford for a weekend of engagement with families, shoppers, commuters, and festival goers in the heart of each location.

Families are invited to get up close to the aircraft and hands-on with the interactive activities on the ground. Don a battledress uniform, wartime flying jacket, pilot helmet and goggles before taking a seat inside a replica cockpit for an authentic Spitfire experience, perfect for a Spitfire selfie! Museum ground crew will showcase a collection of wartime props, while sharing local RAF stories and details of the exciting aircraft displays, experiences and events visitors can enjoy at the Museum.

Look out for the Spitfire ‘flying’ into a town or city near you on the following dates:

• Telford on 14–15 May, Southwater
• Coventry on 18–19 June, Millennium Point (Coventry Food Festival)
• Shrewsbury on 25–26 June, Quarry Park (Shrewsbury Food Festival)
• Leicester on 16–17 July, Jubilee Square

Barry Smith, RAF Museum Director of Visitor and Commercial Development said:
‘This year the RAF Museum Midlands is celebrating 50 years of sharing RAF stories, and what better way to celebrate this than to take one of our most iconic aircraft out on tour. The RAF has a long history in the Midlands, and we’re excited to share these stories within the community, and with new audiences who may not have visited the Museum before.’

The Midlands is steeped in RAF history, during the Second World War it was home to the largest Spitfire factory in the UK. RAF Castle Bromwich in Birmingham produced 11,939 Spitfires by 1945, more than half of the 20,000 produced across the UK. Thousands of people from across the Midlands have a connection with the RAF story, from the many men and women who served in the RAF, to members of the public who came together and supported the war efforts through Spitfire Funds.

Visit the Spitfire on tour this summer and pick up your free Spitfire virtual reality experience voucher code, redeemable on your next visit to the RAF Museum Midlands (Terms and Conditions apply). Tag #RAFMuseum in your #SpitfireSelfie to be in with a chance of winning one of five prize bundles worth £50 (Terms and Conditions apply) Entry to the Museum is free, simply pre-book your arrival time online at

Jack Berry to Visit Newark Air Museum

Monday, May 24th, 2021

Jack Berry

On Monday 31st May, 2021 Newark Air Museum is proud to be hosting a visit to its Gateway Aviation Site from young artist Jack Berry, who has recently had a book of his aviation art published by Mention The War Publications. Released earlier this year the book is entitled ‘Flying High In The Sunlit Silence’ and it is being sold to raise funds for various service charities and organisations.

A display of Jack’s paintings is now going to be unveiled in Display Hangar 2 at the museum, in a location close to several of Jack’s favourite aircraft, notably Jetstream XX492 and Sea Harrier ZA176.

To mark this event, Jack’s family have been made honorary members of the museum, which will coincide with Jack taking up a voluntary role as Teenage Artist in Residence at the museum. Building on this role the museum trustees are looking forward to displaying more of Jack’s inspirational aviation art at future museum events.

The Berry family will be at the museum between 11.00am and 3.30pm, where Jack will spend some time in Hangar 2 painting new artworks amongst the museum aircraft and displays that have captured his vivid imagination. Jack will also be available to sign copies of his book and the family have purchased some new sticker inserts that can be added to copies of the book that any visitors may have purchased already. Copies of the book will also be available to purchase on the day.

It is anticipated that Jack will want to explore the wider museum site, so we hope that anyone who visits hoping to see and meet Jack, will respect his desire to go off and explore. Most of Jack’s supporters will understand that he is autistic and opts to remain mute, however Jack conveys his feelings through his creative artworks. The trustees hope that everyone will give Jack the space and time that he needs to enjoy his second visit to Newark Air Museum.

Normal museum admission rates will apply, but if visitors say “We Are Team Jack” when they arrive at the museum admission kiosk, we will give them a fifty pence discount off their admission ticket. It is hoped that some former service personnel may also be visiting and willing to sign relevant pages in Jack’s book for aircraft that they may have served on.

Towards the end of October 2020, just before the second lockdown I was privileged to host Jack Berry’s first visit to the museum”, commented museum trustee, Howard Heeley, he continued, “I had made contact with Jack through the museum’s Twitter account and on Twitter Jack had been sharing some imaginative aircraft pictures.”

He concluded, “During that first visit I made a connection with Jack and I have been looking forward to Covid regulations lifting so that we can host another visit to the museum. I am looking forward to welcoming our new Teenage Artist in Residence back to the museum.”

Freedom Fighters: Diverse Identities in the RAF

Monday, May 24th, 2021

Freedom Fighters at the RAF Museum

This new RAF Museum workshop explores the lives of African, Caribbean, South Asian and Irish volunteers who served in the RAF despite being opposed to British rule in their home countries.

Speakers will include Sunday Times best-selling author Shrabani Basu and RAF Museum Curator Peter Devitt, and the event will explore and celebrate the stories of key individuals from diverse backgrounds who served in the RAF and connect their experiences to the story of wider participation in the British armed forces during the Second World War.

As well as exploring the diverse nature of those who served in the RAF the panel will also critically examine the motivations of those who fought in the RAF and identify a complexity that is marginalised in British Military History.

The event is moderated by Dr Harry Raffal, who says: “Freedom Fighters takes place within the context of the rapidly evolving debate about Britain’s imperial past, with the issues of slavery, the growth of nationalism and the cultural legacy of empire under close examination. The event is timely as it comes shortly before landmark anniversaries in the histories of Indian, Caribbean and Irish independence.”

Three volunteers will be considered in detail: Noor Inayat Khan from India; Errol Walton Barrow from Barbados; and Irishman Robert Gregory. The speakers will examine their individual motives for joining up, their treatment by British colleagues, and how they reconciled military service to the Crown with their political beliefs. These individual experiences will be set into wider context by two papers considering the experiences of Indian personnel and refugees and émigrés in the RAF during the Second World War.

Our Panel:
• Sunday Times best-selling author Shrabani Basu will speak about Indian SOE agent Noor Inayat Khan GC, executed at Dachau concentration camp on 13 September

• RAFM Curator Peter Devitt will deliver a paper about Major Robert Gregory MC, immortalised in W.B. Yeats’ ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’ in 1918.

• Early Career Researcher Session (Second World War): Papers will include ‘Flying Officer Errol Walton Barrow: Navigator, Prime Minister’, ‘Indian service in the RAF’,
and ‘Refugees and émigrés at war’.

Tiegan Byrne, RAFM Access and Learning, will read the Yeats poem and selected quotations from Noor Inayat Khan and Errol Barrow.

• Roundtable discussion of the issues raised by the presentations, moderated by RAFM Historian Dr Harry Raffal.

Museum welcomes Stanley Johnson to view his father’s medals

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

Stanley Johnson at RAF Museum

The RAF Museum, which reopened to the public this week was delighted to host Stanley Johnson, father of the Prime Minister, with his friend Paul Newman (601 Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force) on Wednesday 19 May.

The purpose of Mr Johnson’s visit was to view his father’s medals, which he recently very kindly loaned to the Museum, and which are now on display as part of the RAF 100 exhibition in Hangar 1 of our London site.

Mr Johnson’s father, Flight Lieutenant Wilfred Johnson, served as an RAF Coastal Command pilot from 1942 to 1944. He flew Wellington GR.XIV aircraft on patrols over the Atlantic Ocean and attacked several German submarines. On 17 August 1944, Wilfred returned early from a patrol due to a radio fault. His Wellington then suffered an engine failure shortly before landing. He faced the difficult and dangerous task of flying low at night on one engine, in a heavy aircraft still loaded with high-explosive depth charges. Wilfred dropped these weapons in a safe place, avoiding nearby villages, and returned to RAF Chivenor – but he was seriously injured in a crash-landing on the airfield. Following his selfless action, Wilfred was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for ‘skill and coolness in emergencies’ and ‘his hard work, thoroughness and keen sense of duty’ as an RAF pilot. Wilfred’s DFC, along with a congratulatory letter from King George VI and his Medal Group of Four, are now displayed in Hangar 1 at the Museum.

Stanley Johnson, Wilfred’s son, said:
“My sisters and I, as well his eight grandchildren, are absolutely thrilled that the wonderful RAF Museum at Hendon has chosen to display our father’s medals so brilliantly in the new exhibit, including the DFC, and the letter from King George VI. Though my father didn’t talk much about his wartime service or about the crash which ended his flying career, I know that in many ways my father’s years as a pilot with RAF Coastal Command, based at Chivenor, in North Devon, were the high point of his life. The years he spent at Chivenor were pivotal in another way, since after the war Wilfred became a hill-farmer on nearby Exmoor, in a rugged steep-sided valley on the River Exe where, seventy years later, my family and I are still privileged to live!”

Ian Thirsk, Head of Collections and Research, said:
‘It is an absolute privilege to display Wilfred Johnson’s medals at the RAF Museum, Wilfred’s story is an inspirational one which we are both honoured – and delighted – to share with our visitors. Wilfred’s medals will help us to emphasise the largely unsung role of RAF Coastal Command during the Second World War’.

RAF Museum welcomes new Head of Collections and Research

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Peter Johnston

The RAF Museum is pleased to announce that we have appointed our new Head of Collections and Research: Dr Peter Johnston.

Dr Peter Johnston is a military historian and Museum professional. Most recently he was the Head of Collections Research and Academic Access at the National Army Museum. He joined the Museum in 2014 as the Collections Content Manager, responsible for running the curatorial team working on the new displays, before becoming Head of Collections Development and Review in 2017. He spends the majority of his time conducting research and working with academics and the military. He has acted as an expert and accompanying academic on battlefield tours from Flanders to the Falklands, as well as regularly appearing across media channels. His first book, British Forces in Germany: The Lived Experience, was the authorised history of the British forces in Germany from 1945-2019, and published by Profile Editions in October 2019. He has also published on recruitment propaganda and museum collections.

Peter studied History and Modern History for his Undergraduate and Masters degrees at the University of Durham, and completed his PhD at the University of Kent, focusing on recruitment and culture in the British Armed Forces. He has previously worked as an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Kent, Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, and as a researcher in social policy.

Says Peter: ‘I’m thrilled to be joining the RAF Museum at this exciting time. The Museum has big, ambitious plans and I’m looking forward to getting involved and playing my part in taking these forward. The history of the RAF has shaped not only our country, but our world, and it continues to have a relevance to each and every one of us. It really is a privilege to be a part of. The Museum has a unique, world-class Collection, and a great team, and I cannot wait to get started.’

Peter will officially start at the Museum on Monday 7th June.

Yorkshire Air Museum to Re-open Celebrating Aviation as Yorkshire’s Greatest Invention!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Halifax and Oliver






The Yorkshire Air Museum is reopening to the public on Saturday 22nd May, 115 years to the day after the Wright Brothers were granted a patent for “new and useful improvement in Flying Machines”.

As the Yorkshire Air Museum bursts back to life after long months of forced closure due to the pandemic, a season of celebration of Yorkshire engineering ingenuity and Aviation will start this Saturday.

Taking centre stage within the museum’s enormous aircraft hangar will be the Cayley Glider, the very first manned flying machine, surrounded by a collection of unique aircraft ‘Made in Yorkshire’.

Museum Director Barbara George explains: “This year, we have decided to celebrate Yorkshire aviation. Very few people know that Scarborough born Sir George Cayley designed the very first glider strong enough to carry an adult in 1853. He was a visionary and made history with amazing advance in aviation which earned him the deserved title of ‘Father of aviation’. The Wright Brothers themselves rightfully credited Sir George’s work for inspiring them when they began to experiment with their own glider models in the 1900’s.”

This summer, visitors will be able to see up close life size replicas of the amazing Cayley Glider and Wright Flyer along with iconic Yorkshire designed aircraft, such as the Blackburn Mercury and the Buccaneer as well as museum’s large collection including the museum’s own unique WWII Halifax Mk. III bomber, “Friday the 13th”. The Halifax also has a link with Yorkshire, being named after the most successful Halifax which flew from its Yorkshire base at RAF Lissett near Bridlington.

Much work has been achieved over the past few months to get the museum ready for visitors. With 22 acres of land, large areas of lawn, outdoor and indoor displays, the museum team hope that the safety measures they have put in place combined with the reimagining of the amazing collection on display will encourage many people to visit for the first time.

“We are delighted that D-Day veterans Doug Petty, Sid Metcalfe and Ken Cooke, who all saw action in the sky or on the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day invasion campaign that led to the Liberation of France and Europe, will be with us to celebrate our reopening. They will be joined by 9 year-old Yorkshire Air Museum Ambassador Oliver Vaines. It means a lot to us that we can connect young generations to their heritage. We hope to inspire them by learning about the experience of their ancestors”, comments Ian Richardson, Head of Memorials and Heritage.

Oliver’s passion for history started after his father took him to the museum when he was about 5 years old. “I made it my obligation to make sure he understood the sacrifices made by everyone during the war” his father Darren recounts. “I remember the first time he walked into the hangar and saw the Halifax, he just connected with its presence, the illumination on his face was of epic proportion”. Last year Oliver was inspired by Sir Captain Tom Moore and he started fundraising for the Children’s heart surgery in Leeds. Oliver himself has a rare heart condition. His efforts were rewarded when Sir Tom who sent him a special message to thank him.

The Yorkshire Air Museum was awarded funding last year to help it surmount the covid pandemic via the National Heritage Lottery Funding, through it Emergency Fund, and the Arts Council Recovery Grant. The Funding has been used to conduct essential maintenance and refurbishments, review its long term business plan as well as maintain employment.

The museum’s mission is to Honour, Educate and Inspire.

Normandy Veterans Information.
Douglas Petty (98), flew as Flight Engineer with RCAF 429 Squadron from RAF Leeming. Flew 31 missions, 29 of them in the Handley Page Halifax. Converted to the Lancaster for final operations.

Sid Metcalfe (98). Driver / Mechanic in the Royal Armoured Corps ( Reconnaissance). Captured by Germans and as. POW worked in a copper mine in forced labour. Freed by American Forces.

Ken Cooke (95) Private, Green Howards. Went ashore on Gold Beach on D Day and received serious injury fighting his way into Germany. Repatriated in a Dakota.