Posts Tagged ‘RAF Museum Cosford’

The Air Defence of the UK in the last 20 Years of the Cold War: Defence on a Shoestring

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Phantom

Date: 15 December 2017
Time: 12.30pm
Cost: FREE
Location: National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre at RAF Museum Cosford

On 15 December, the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be hosting the next Cold War Lunchtime Lecture with a talk entitled ‘The Air Defence of the UK in the last 20 Years of the Cold War: Defence on a Shoestring’. In this talk, Dr Kenton White from the University of Reading will look at the conventional defence planning of the UK during the Cold War.

Within this lecture, Dr Kenton will question whether during the Cold War, did Britain really have the means to defend itself, in the event of a shooting war? This lecture analyses the conventional defence planning of the UK, its relationship to the policy, and the possible and actual execution. In 1979 Britain committed almost the entire Royal Air Force to NATO’s defence of Western Europe. 100,000 troops were assigned to Home Defence, and Britain would act as a staging post for foreign troops on their way to the front.

Deterrent plans were aimed at the perceived threat: planning for the manifestation of that threat, and implementing those plans. These plans relate intimately to NATO’s “Flexible Response” strategy and the desire to raise the nuclear threshold enabling NATO to stop a WTO attack by conventional means. Analysing the plans for mobilisation, and comparing them to the forces and facilities available, this lecture seeks to understand if the UK fulfilled its obligation, not only to NATO, but to the Armed Forces and British public.

Professor Kenton White is a Sessional Lecturer in Politics, International Relations and Strategic Studies at the University of Reading, and also works with the University of Portsmouth at RAF Cranwell. He has a PhD in Strategic Studies, researching British defence policy and practice during and after the Cold War. He studies military history and defence policy from the Napoleonic Wars to today. Prior to entering academia he was the Managing Director of a computer animation company.

This FREE lecture will be held in the museum’s National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre at 12.30pm on Friday 15 December, lasting approximately one hour. As spaces are limited, organisers advise visitors to book their tickets in advance via the Museum’s website to avoid disappointment.

The Cold War Lunchtime Lectures form part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme . ‘The Air Defence of the UK in the last 20 Years of the Cold War: Defence on a Shoestring’, is the final lecture taking place at Cosford this year, with more lectures planned for 2018. The programme also consists of the Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies and the First World War in the Air Lunchtime Lectures, which are held at the University of Wolverhampton, the Royal Aeronautical Society in London and the RAF Museum in London respectively.

For further information about the Museum’s research programme or to book your FREE ticket to the lecture, please visit the Museum website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford. The Museum is open daily from 10am and entry to the Museum is FREE of charge.

Remembrance Sunday Service to be held at Cosford

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

RAF Cosford Remembrance Service

Date: Sunday 12 November
Time: 10.45am

On Sunday 12 November, the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will hold a Service of Remembrance, paying respect to those service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during their tours of duty.

Visitors who wish to pay their respects and reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave service men and women are invited to join the service, led by the Station Chaplain at RAF Cosford. Those attending will also be treated to renditions from the Cosford Military Wives Choir, who will perform for visitors on arrival and during the service.

The service will take place in the Museum’s Hangar 1 and visitors are politely requested to assemble no later than 10:30am ready for the Service to commence at 10.45am. As well as readings from Museum volunteers, there will be hymns and the sounding of ‘The Last Post’ performed by a bugler, followed by a two minute silence. Students from Muxton Primary School in Telford will also be in attendance, reading a poem they have written especially for the service.

RAF Museum Cosford Events Executive, Nathan Davis said:
“The RAF Museum is a fitting location for this poignant occasion and we hope that local residents will choose to join us on Remembrance Sunday so we can remember together. I would like to thank the Station Chaplain and the Cosford Military Wives Choir for their involvement in this years’ service. I’m sure visitors will enjoy the special service we have planned as well as the performances from the choir.”

During the service, wreaths will be laid by representatives from RAF Cosford and the Museum in honour of those who have fallen in the line of duty. Following the service visitors are free to explore the Museum at their own leisure.

If you would like to find out about Service Personnel who fell serving in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force during the Great War of 1914 to 1918, or to dedicate a digital poppy, please visit the RAF Museum’s online story vault: www.rafmuseumstoryvault.org.uk

The Museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm and entry to the Museum is FREE of charge. For further information please visit www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

Rare aircraft on show during Open Week

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Hampden Fuselage

Date: 13-18 November 2017
Time: 10:15am-1:00pm
Cost: £5.00 per person

A rare example of a Handley Page Hampden being restored at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be one of the highlights at the Conservation Centre Open Week taking place on 13-18 November 2018.

The Handley Page Hampden’s forward and rear fuselage sections will be placed in line for aviation fans to view during the behind the scenes week. Since it was last viewed by the public almost 12 months ago, the forward fuselage and cockpit section has been completed, manufactured entirely from scratch by one of the Museum Technicians, using pre-production drawings. The new section also includes some original components from the P1344 Hampden and aviation fans will be able to get up close to view the progress during the forthcoming Open Week. Work is continuing on the aircraft fuselage section and it is hoped that work will be completed sometime in 2018. Once complete, the aircraft at Cosford will be one of only two examples and one nose section in existence from a total of 1,430 built.

Other aviation treasures on show to visitors will include the Vickers Wellington, one of only two complete examples anywhere in the world, out of 11,461 built. This popular aircraft is a favourite with aviation fans and has undergone work to treat small amounts of corrosion to its famous geodetic framework, both wings and fuselage, since its arrival at Cosford in June 2010. Now free of corrosion, both wings have been painted in a protective layer and one has already been re-covered in Irish linen, doped and painted in its Bomber Command Night colour scheme. Work is now underway to repeat the process on the aircrafts second wing and eventually the fuselage.

The Westland Lysander III, the only surviving Special Duties variant of this aircraft (which were used to ferry allied agents in and out of enemy occupied Europe). The aircraft which has undergone an in depth inspection and condition assessment over the last six months will also be on display to visitors. This project is being run by the Museums team of Volunteers and work over the next few years will include replacing its fragile linen outer skin.

Another aircraft spending a short period of time in the Conservation Centre is the Hawker Siddeley Gnat T1 – the first aircraft used by the RAF Red Arrows, superseded by the current aircraft, the Hawk in 1979. The aircraft was previously on public display at Cosford and is destined to move to the Museum’s London site before the end of the year. The Open Week in November is a last chance for Red Arrow fans to see the aircraft in the West Midlands. As the aircraft is being prepared for transportation by road, it is also a chance to see it in a partial stripped condition.

RAF Museum Conservation Centre Manager, Darren Priday said:
“It’s that time of the year again when the Conservation Centre opens its doors to the public. The Open Week has become a firm favourite with the aviation enthusiasts and local people who have been regular attendees over the years. This year we are highlighting the Westland Lysander, a WW2 aircraft that was used on SOE ops amongst other things. The aircraft will be in a stripped condition allowing visitors to view the usually closed up areas in detail. If you want a day out with a difference, why not come along and see what we are doing.”

Visitors will also be able to view the continuing progress on the Range Safety Launch, a project being run by a team of Volunteers, plus see a glimpse of the Dornier Do 17 smaller objects including propellers and engines. The First World War German LVG aircraft will also be on display to visitors along with some more unusual objects including the Skynet satellite and a missile collection, which are both being prepped ready for a move down to the Museum’s London site in preparation for the new centenary plans in 2018. Museum Technicians, Apprentices and Volunteers will be available throughout the week to speak with visitors about their work and answer any questions they may have.

The Conservation Centre will open from 13-18 November between 10.15am and 1.00pm each day and admission is £5.00 per person (children under 16 are free and must be accompanied by an adult). The Museum’s other hangars will be open from 10am until 5pm and entry to the Museum is free of charge. For further information, please visit the Museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford or call 01902 376200.

PLUS…in addition to the open week, visitors will also have the exciting opportunity to climb on board the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod R.1 XV249 during daily tours running from 13-18 November. Tickets are available to purchase online via the Museums website http://www.rafmuseum.org/cosfordor on the day, subject to availability.

Flight simulation event heads to Cosford

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Flightsim at Cosford

Date: 7 October 2017
Time: 9:30am to 5:00pm
Cost: £8 in advance / £10 on the door

Aviation fans can experience the virtual skies in Shropshire next month as the Flight Sim 2017 event heads to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford for a fifth consecutive year. Taking place on Saturday 7 October, aviation enthusiasts will enjoy a day packed with all the latest flight simulation software and the chance to test out their virtual flying skills.

After four very successful shows held at the RAF Museum, the UK’s largest Flight Sim show will be returning to Cosford for an even bigger and better event. Just Flight, one of the UK’s leading flight simulation software publishers, will be hosting this major gathering in association with PC Pilot magazine to show visitors the very best in desktop flying. Building on the success of previous events, organisers are anticipating in excess of 1,500 visitors will attend the one day show.

With 34 exhibitors at this year’s event, visitors will be able to get hands on and fly the latest flight simulation aircraft, preview ‘in development’ projects, check out the latest hardware and chat with leading developers, publishers and other enthusiasts. The line-up also includes nine brand new exhibitors who will be joining the show for the first time this year.

This show will take place in the Museum’s Hangar 1 from 10am until 5pm, giving visitors plenty of time to enjoy the wide range of entertainment on offer. So whether you’re a veteran desktop pilot, flight simulation novice, or someone thinking of getting airborne in the virtual skies for the first time, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Visitors attending the Flight Sim 2017 event this autumn will experience the best of both, the virtual world and the real world of aviation, as they explore the world class collection of aircraft and exhibitions on display at the RAF Museum Cosford.

Advance tickets for Flight Sim 2017 are now on sale online for just £8 per person and can be purchased up until 5 October, with free entry for under 16s accompanied by an adult. Advanced ticket holders will also receive a free goody bag on arrival!

Tickets purchased on the day cost £10 per person. For further information on the event or to purchase your tickets in advance, please visit the show’s website www.flightsimshow.com.

To cope with the additional visitors, a free park and ride will operate from Cosford train station with regular pickups throughout the day. Entry to the Museum is free of charge and on-site parking is available (charges apply). Entry into Hangar 1 on Saturday 7 October will be for Flight Sim 2017 ticket holders only.

75 years on – the story behind Hampden P1344’s final flight

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Hampden Bomber by Peter Arnold

Date: 5 September 2017
Time: 7.00pm / aircraft viewing following the lecture
Cost: £7.50 per person

The Handley Page Hampden Bomber P1344 (PL-K), currently undergoing conservation at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be subject of a lecture taking place on Tuesday 5 September 2017. The lecture will be presented by the Museum’s Conservation Centre Manager who has personal experience working to restore the aircraft and with former crew and family members. The evening lecture will include details of the dramatic story behind its final flight, which took place exactly 75 years earlier, plus a behind the scenes look at how the aircraft looks today!

The RAF Museum Cosford will be holding a lecture examining the aircraft’s known history, its final flight and what happened to the crew who survived the crash landing. The talk will be held in the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre, commencing at 7.00pm and tickets are limited to just 200 visitors. Special guests will include relatives of the Hampden crew members, who, over the years have visited the Museum to view progress and to share information.

Following the lecture, attendees will be invited to the Conservation Centre to get up close to the aircraft, currently being restored. This exclusive after-hours access to the aircraft, in an area which is not usually open to the public, will give those attending the lecture the chance to speak directly with the team working on it.

RAF Museum Conservation Centre Manager, Darren Priday said:
“The Hampden was my first project when I started with the Museum back in 2005 and that’s where my interest started in the aircraft. Compared to other Bomber Command aircraft it is not a very well-known one but it certainly played an important role during the Second World War. My talk is a chance for the audience to learn more about the type and the brave young men who flew them followed by a visit to view the restoration at the Conservation Centre, on the 75th anniversary of its last flight”.

The Hampden is one of the Museum’s longest running conservation projects, which has progressed considerably over the last year. As one of only three examples of the type remaining, the significance of this project is huge. Work carried out onsite at Cosford has included manufacturing a forward fuselage and the aircraft tailplane, incorporating some existing fixtures and fittings from the original aircraft which suffered severe damage during its crash landing. Over the coming months work will progress on restoring and re-building the tailboom and once that work is complete, there will be a complete fuselage.

Places at the lecture cost £7.50 per person and parking on the night is free of charge. Tickets for the lecture are now on sale via the Museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

Museum Publishes Smuts Report

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

On 17 August 1917 General Jan Smuts presented his recommendations to the War Cabinet for the creation of an Air Ministry to control and administer all matters in connection with air warfare of every kind.

Smuts report specified that the new ministry should proceed to work out the arrangements for the amalgamation of the two (Air) services; the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and for the legal constitution and discipline of the new Service.

The report stated that ‘the day may not be far off when aerial operations with their devastation of enemy lands and destruction of industrial and populous centres on a vast scale may become the principle operations of war, to which the older forms of military and naval operations may become secondary and subordinate.’

This report laid the foundations for the creation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 and may be read in full online via the RAF Museum’s website: https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford/whats-going-on/news/museum-publishes-smuts-report/

Forged in the crucible of the First World War, the story of the Royal Air Force has shaped the modern world. By inspiring technological development, pioneering cultural change and pushing the boundaries of human achievement, the RAF has touched the lives of millions around the globe.

With the services 100th anniversary approaching next year, the RAF Museum is hard at work preparing for the historic occasion by delivering a £26m RAF Centenary Programme at its London site, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The new exhibition halls at London will be opening in Summer 2018 as part of the wider calendar of national RAF events. Until then it’s business as usual at both RAF Museum sites, open daily from 10am and admission is FREE.

Grab your wingman….Top Gun is heading to Cosford!

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Date: 23 September 2017
Time: Gates open 7.00pm / film starts 8.30pm
Cost: £10 per person in advance / £15 on the gate (subject to availability)

Jumpsuits…check! Aviators…check! Pilots…engage screen!

One of the most iconic aviation movies of all time ‘Top Gun’ will be showcased on a giant inflatable screen at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on Saturday 23 September 2017. This 80’s cult classic military movie is the first to be shown in the Museum’s new outdoor event which will take place in the spacious grounds, against a backdrop of aircraft.

Film buffs can enjoy watching Maverick under the moonlight in what is the perfect setting for a film about flight. This evening event will see a huge 24ft inflatable screen erected alongside the VC10 and Hercules aircraft, including digital projectors and sound equipment for a true cinematic experience. No movie would be complete without popcorn and for one night only, the Museum will be transforming an aircraft into a popcorn bar where visitors will be able to step on-board to purchase their essential movie snacks.

It’s been over 30 years since ‘Top Gun’ first graced the big screen but the magic of characters Maverick and Goose will be flying high during this special evening event at the RAF Museum Cosford. This American romantic military action film stars Tom Cruise as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a hotshot fighter pilot who’s reckless attitude puts him at odds with his fellow pilots. The film follows Maverick and his Radar Intercept Officer Nick “Goose” Bradshaw’s journey to refine their elite flying skills, coupled with fighting for the attention of the beautiful flight instructor. Packed with plenty of flying action and romantic comedy, ‘Top Gun’ is a timeless classic suitable for film lovers aged 12 and over.

In the build up to the movie, why not take advantage of some of the tasty hot food and beverages on offer. The Ironbridge Catering Company will be joining the event, serving a delicious selection of American inspired street food, all served from their converted yellow American School Bus. Then why not enjoy some themed cocktails or a glass of fizz courtesy of Champavan who will be serving drinks throughout the evening from their converted VW Campervan. For those who prefer a hot beverage, Drink Up will be serving hot drinks and snacks from ‘Hank’, their converted American Dodge Van.

Film fans are encouraged to bring picnic chairs and blankets for their own comfort as the film will be screened outdoors on a grassed area – there is no allocated seating, so arrive early to get the best spot! Visitors are also welcome to bring their own food and drink on the night, all drinks must be in plastic bottles or cans and no BBQ’s are permitted.

Ticket holders will also have exclusive after-hours access to the Museum’s Hangar 1 when gates open at 7pm. There will be plenty of time to enjoy some of the tasty street food, a cocktail or two and of course stock up on your popcorn, before you settle down to watch the movie at 8.30pm (film start time may alter slightly, depending on light conditions). The running time is approximately 105mins and the movie is certified 12 years and over, under 16’s will not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Manager, Abi Betteridge said:
“We are excited to be launching our first ever outdoor cinema event here at the RAF Museum Cosford with the screening of ‘Top Gun’. It’s such an iconic film and so fitting for us as a venue – where else can you watch a military movie surrounded by real military aircraft? We hope that a great movie, combined with the unique setting and all the added extra’s like our aircraft popcorn bar will create an enjoyable and memorable cinema experience for our visitors. Plus, if visitors have any suggestions as to what film they want us to screen next time, we would love to hear their ideas.”

If you feel the need…..the need for speed, head to the Museum’s website where tickets are now available to purchase in advance www.rafmuseum.org/cosford priced at £10 per person. Tickets will also be available on the evening priced at £15 per person, subject to availability. Parking for ticket holders is free of charge.

Wolverhampton built Defiant is highlight of Open Cockpits Evening

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Boulton Paul Defiant

Date: 15-16 September 2017
Time: 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Cost: £12.50 per person

The Wolverhampton built, Second World War British Battle of Britain fighter aircraft, Boulton Paul Defiant Mk1 will be one of the highlights at the forthcoming ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 15-16 September 2017.

The Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1 joined the aircraft display at Cosford only a few short months ago and with just 300 tickets available per evening, organisers are anticipating the event will be hugely popular with aviation fans eager to get the first close look inside (no internal access). The aircraft is the last surviving example of its kind, built by Boulton Paul at its Pendeford, Wolverhampton factory in 1938. This two-seat turret fighter, operated with mixed fortunes during the Battle of Britain period but found its niche as a night fighter during 1940-42.

The RAF Museum’s example, serial number N1671 was operated by the newly formed No 307 (Polish) Squadron RAF, who became operational in December 1940. It was painted in its all black night fighter colour scheme the following January and carried out 15 patrols before moving to No 285 (Anti-aircraft Co-Operation) Squadron in June 1942, its last operational user.

RAF Museum Cosford Curator, Al McLean said:
“After four decades on display at the RAF Museum London, the sole surviving intact Defiant example of its type was transferred to Cosford for aviation fans in the Midlands to enjoy. The new arrival has been added to the list of aircraft open at the September Open Cockpits Evening, making this the first time enthusiasts will be able to view inside the cockpit of this iconic British fighter.”

Also new to the ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ line-up is a former frontline fighter the Gloster Gladiator 1 – the first enclosed cockpit and last biplane fighter introduced into RAF service. Although Gladiators saw operational service at home it was most successfully employed overseas particularly in the defence of Malta. At the outbreak of the Second World War, four home based RAF fighter squadrons equipped with Gladiators were sent to France and after just ten days of hard fighting, all the aircraft had been lost. In a desperate attempt to provide fighter cover for the ‘little ships’ involved in the Dunkirk evacuation, a detachment of home based aircraft known as ‘G’ Flight was formed at RAF Manston, Kent. They were quickly deployed to assist with the rescue of more than 338,000 British and French soldiers trapped on the beaches.

During the early war years, Gladiators were used by the RAF in several other overseas operations including; Norway, Greece, North Africa and the Middle East. The Museum’s example, serial number K8042 was also used for gun trials and experiments, whereby an additional pair was fitted under the top wing, giving a total of six guns instead of the usual four. Like the Defiant it’s displayed alongside, the Gladiator is also a new addition to the aircraft display at Cosford and the September event is the first opportunity for aviation fans to view the interior (no internal access).

Other highlights for visitors on the night will include the Fairey Delta 2 (FD2) – one of only two FD2S ever built, devised in response to Britain trailing behind in supersonic aircraft design during the late 1940s. Plus, the Saunders-Roe SR53 – this interceptor used a rocket motor to climb rapidly to high altitudes and reached Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound) at high altitude during trials.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Manager, Abi Betteridge said:
“Visitors will also be able to view inside the rear fuselage of the Avro Lincoln B2, never before opened to the public. Just too late to see service during the Second World War, the Lincoln became the mainstay of Bomber Command post-war, but was destined for a short front line career as the Cold War and the jet age brought the shortcomings of its performance into sharp relief. It’s one of our most popular aircraft and this is the first time it’s been included in the event, we hope visitors will enjoy the rare opportunity to take a look inside the fuselage.”

Ticket holders will also have exclusive after-hours access to the Museum from 6pm to 9pm to experience what it feels like to sit inside a military aircraft that’s seen action around the world and marvel at the advanced technologies on unique airframes. A total of 15 aircraft will be available on the night and to make sure visitors get the most out of the event and access as many cockpits as possible, there will be a large team of Volunteers manning each aircraft to answer any questions from visitors.

Tickets are now available to purchase through the Museum’s website http://www.rafmuseum.org/cosford and cost £12.50 per person which includes parking. Minimum height restrictions of 1.07 metres will apply. The Museum will close at 5.00pm both days; however the Visitor Centre and Refuel Restaurant will remain open for ticket holders and will be serving a special ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ menu.

Modellers gear up for flying weekend

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Model Aircraft Rally

Date: 15-16 July 2017
Time: Gates open 8.30am
Cost: £8.00 in advance / £10.00 on the gate

The Large Model Aircraft Rally is returning to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford next month for a weekend of spectacular flying displays. Taking place on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July, this air show in miniature is set to entertain thousands of aviation and modelling enthusiasts with two full days of flying and family fun.

Aircraft heading to the show have all been designed and built by members of the Large Model Association, who have dedicated years into making them a perfect replica of the real thing. Gates open at 8.30am and with a full day of flying displays including mid-air dog fights, plus a static aircraft line up, crowds are guaranteed to be wowed from 9am through to 5.30pm both days.

This year’s event will have a Cold War flying theme with model aircraft including a 20ft Vulcan bomber (courtesy of the shows organiser) taking to the skies. The Vulcan model will be joined by fellow Cold War aircraft including; a Victor, Lightning, Canberra and Javelin……all of which can be viewed in full size inside the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition. Plus, a Russian Bear and Mig 29 will also be joining the line-up. The event will also showcase bi-planes from the early days of aviation through to the modern jets of today, both on the ground and in the air!

The Large Model Aircraft Rally promises to be a great day out for modellers and families alike with more than 60 exhibitors signed up to showcase some of the latest model kits and aviation accessories. NEW to the event this year is a craft fair selling a range of items including jewellery and books.

Families are guaranteed to enjoy the fun-filled lined up which includes a children’s entertainment area packed with bouncy castles and inflatable slides. Plus, keeping visitors fuelled for the day, there will be a fantastic range of food and drink on offer including a beer tent and visitors will have access to the RAF Museum where they can view many of the aircraft flown during the show in full size. A free bus service will take visitors from the event to the Museum throughout the day, making getting around the site even easier.

Anyone wishing to attend the event can save money by purchasing tickets in advance at a discounted rate by visiting www.largemodelassociation.com. Advance tickets are also on sale at the RAF Museum Cosford, priced at just £8 per adult. Tickets purchased on the gate cost £10 per adult and children under the age of 16 are FREE.

Exclusively for the Large Model Aircraft Rally, visitors are able to camp on site, meaning you can make the most of the weekend’s flying and activities by being at the centre of all the action. On site camping, including entrance to the show both days is only £40.00 in advance (until 1 July) or £45.00 on the gate and any visitors interested in camping should email public-camping@largemodelassociation.com or call 07827 675665.

Museum lecture series continues with two new RAF talks

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Indian Air Force pilots

Academics, military enthusiasts and interested members of the public are being invited to attend two FREE forthcoming lectures this month focusing on two very different RAF subjects. The lectures form part of the 2017 series of lectures from the Royal Air Force Museum’s Research Programme and will explore the expansion of the Royal Indian Air Force during the Second World War and the RAF strategic thinking during the latter Cold War years.

‘The Expansion of the Royal Indian Air Force in World War II, 1939-46’
Date: 8 June 2017
Time: 6.30pm
Cost: FREE
Location: University of Wolverhampton, MC001, Millennium City Building, Wolverhampton Campus

The first of two lectures is being held on Thursday 8 June at the University of Wolverhampton and is a continuation of the joint partnership between the University’s Department of War Studies and the Royal Air Force Museum. This evening lecture commencing at 6.30pm will examine how the establishment of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 1933 was a consequence of the colonial Government of India’s policy of handing Indians token military control to forestall popular calls for greater Indian control of the Indian armed forces. The lecture entitled ‘The Expansion of the Royal Indian Air Force in World War II, 1939-46’ will be presented by Aashique Iqbal, a DPhil candidate in History at the University of Oxford.

In this lecture, Aashique will explore how the outbreak of the Second World War led to the reversal of earlier policies and saw the tenfold expansion of the IAF. Though the Indian Air Force would go on to perform well in the war, earning the prefix ‘Royal’ in 1945, the suddenness of wartime expansion had severe consequences. Plagued by a shortage of equipment and personnel the RIAF struggled to expand. Though equipment shortages were eventually overcome by Allied wartime production, personnel shortages remained a problem throughout the war. The RIAF responded to these in a variety of ways including drawing on foreign personnel, lowering recruitment requirements, increasing pay and embarking on the largest recruitment propaganda programme launched by any wing of the Indian military during the Second World War.

The rushed expansion of the RIAF would have two key consequences. First, it would result in the RIAF strikes of 1946. Coming on the heels of the RAF strikes, the Indian National Army trials and the Royal Indian Navy mutiny, the strikes had a destabilising effect on British military control in the subcontinent. More critically it revealed the divide between Indian officers and ranks that had emerged during the war. Further, the process of ‘Indianisation’ or the replacement of foreign personnel with Indians remained incomplete as it became increasingly difficult for the RIAF to tap India’s limited pool of educated labour. This would have significant consequences, not the least of which was independent India’s reliance on British personnel to command the RIAF long after the achievement of formal independence.

‘RAF Strategic Thinking and Doctrinal Vacuum, 1970-1989’
Date: 16 June 2017
Time: 12.30pm
Cost: FREE
Location: RAF Museum Cosford, National Cold War Exhibition Lecture Theatre

On Friday 16 June, Dr Viktoriya Fedorchak, a graduate of the University of Hull (PhD) will be presenting the second 2017 Cold War lunchtime lecture, being held in the lecture theatre at the RAF Museum Cosford at 12.30pm. Entitled ‘RAF Strategic Thinking and Doctrinal Vacuum, 1970-1989’ Dr Viktoriya Fedorchak will look at the development of RAF air power thinking in the late Cold War period.

The Royal Air Force has a long history of using doctrine in its practice. The first RAF doctrine Confidential Document (CD) 22: Operations Manual, Royal Air Force was published in July 1922. This document introduced the concept of strategic bombing and key principles of cooperation with the Army and the Navy. The Air Power (AP) 1300 series followed. The first edition of AP1300 was published in July 1928, followed by a further three editions (1940, 1950, and 1957). However, after 1957, AP1300 was reissued a few times without any substantial changes, thus paving the way to stagnation of strategic thinking and doctrinal vacuum.

Within this lecture, Dr Viktoriya Fedorchak will examine how until 1971, the service was not only without a conceptual framework but also lacked creative and strategic thinking on air power. For the service to get a second life, it required stimulation of intellectual thinking on air power. The starting point was 1977 when the position of the Director of Defence Studies (DDefS) for the RAF was established by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Neil Cameron. The role of this post was ‘to be responsible for reviving and maintaining an interest in the study of present and future uses of air power in its various military applications.’

The first DDefS was then Group Captain Tony Mason. The primary aim of this talk is to look at the reasons why strategic thinking declined in the 1960s, and why the RAF had to establish the position of the DDefS. A connection is made between strategic thinking, the significance of a conceptual component for organisational development and the future of the service. In this talk, institutional scepticism of formalised conceptual framework in the studied time frame is also addressed.

Dr Ross Mahoney, RAF Museum Aviation Historian said:
“In June, as part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme, we have two fascinating talks looking at different aspects of the RAF’s history. Aashique Iqbal’s talk on the Royal Indian Air Force offers an examination of a much forgotten organisation in British imperial history while Viktoriya Fedorchak’s lecture will highlight some of the challenges faced by the RAF in the late-Cold War period concerning how it thought about the employment of air power. Both talks will be insightful and through our Research Programme, the RAF Museum is pleased to give a platform for emerging and early career scholars to disseminate their research to a wider public audience.”

As spaces are limited to both lectures, organisers advise visitors to book their FREE tickets in advance via the Museum’s website to avoid disappointment www.rafmuseum.org/cosford. Additional information about both lectures and the Museum’s Research Programme is also available online.