Posts Tagged ‘RAF Museum’

RAF Museum apprenticeship scheme vying for top business award

Friday, July 1st, 2022

RAF Museum Apprentices

The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce that we are a finalist in the Nachural Summer Business Ball and Awards for Promoting Apprenticeships. Winners will be announced at the awards event in Wolverhampton on 8 July.

The Nachural Summer Business Ball and Awards programme recognises the achievements of individuals and companies from across the West Midlands region, in all business sectors. Judges at this year’s awards acknowledged our excellence as a Museum and the work of our Michael Beetham Conservation Centre and Apprentice programme.

The RAF Museum apprentice scheme was launched in 2005 at our Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC), with a vision of preserving heritage aviation skills. The scheme ensures that apprentices are trained in subjects such as Heritage Aircraft Conservation & Restoration, Aircraft Carpentry and Welding & Fabrication. Since then, the scheme and its participants have gone from strength to strength, with local and national recognition and awards and the MBCC is now listed as one of the country’s Top 100 Apprentice Employers in the UK.

The Michael Beetham Conservation Centre, located at our Midlands site, is responsible for aircraft and large 3-D artefacts in the Museum and those on loan. A world centre of excellence, its primary function includes care, conservation, and restoration of the National Collection along with the movement or suspension of aircraft or large exhibits. Current projects include long term restoration of the Wellington, the Hampden, and the Dornier.

Darren Priday, Manager, Michael Beetham Conservation Centre:
“I am proud that our Apprenticeship scheme is being recognised by the Nachural Summer Business Ball and Awards. It is acknowledgement for all the hard work put in by the mentors in developing the skills of the apprentices, along with the desire of the apprentices to learn and better themselves for their future careers.

There are not a lot of Apprenticeship schemes where one minute you are restoring an undercarriage door from a Bristol Brigand, and preparing aircraft for exhibitions, and the next minute you’re building a Spitfire in the middle of the Shrewsbury food festival, such is the diverse work they get involved with, all with a smile on their faces.”

Winners will be announced at the prestigious Nachural Summer Business Ball & Awards 2022 being held at Wolverhampton Racecourse on Friday 8 July.

www.rafmuseum.org

 

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.”

www.rafmuseum.org

RAF Museum celebrates Jewish and Indian Hidden Heroes

Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Hidden Heroes

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.rafmuseum.org

RAF Museum acquires Goodman medals

Sunday, February 6th, 2022

Benny Goodman medals

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

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

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

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

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

www.rafmuseum.org

Soar into 2022 with the Vulcan Challenge

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Vulcan Challenge at RAF Museum

Date: Registration now open, challenge finishes on 14 April 2022
Cost: £20 per person / £15.00 Armed Forces entry

Soar into the new year with the Royal Air Force Museum’s Vulcan Challenge, and walk, run, or cycle your way to reach the 100km, 250km or even 500km distance! The Challenge commences on Friday 14 January and advance registrations are now open.

Celebrating 70 years since the Vulcan’s first flight, participants will have until 14 April to complete the Challenge and be rewarded with a bespoke medal featuring the iconic aircraft. And if you’re completing the challenge with your furry four-legged friend, there’s even a pet tag medal for them too.

Whether your new year’s resolution is to be more active, or you’re feeling the need to walk off the Christmas calories, this virtual race can be completed anywhere in the world, at a time and pace to suit you. This could be daily walks with the dog, cycling to work, weekend hikes or even rowing your distance in the gym, it could even be a combination of them all.

To redeem the exclusive Vulcan Challenge medal, participants simply need to record their 100km, 250km or 500km distance in the downloadable logbook and submit their total at the end of the Challenge. Medals will be posted to participants after the challenge closes on 14 April.

Online registration is now open at www.rafmuseum.org, entry costs £20 per person and all proceeds will go towards supporting the RAF Museum charity (registered charity number 244708) to enable the Museum to continue sharing the story of the RAF and the thousands of service men and women who served in it.

RAF Museum London Public Events Manager, Ella Hewitt said:
‘We are excited to kick start the new year with the Vulcan Challenge, celebrating 70 years of arguably the most famous of Britain’s three V-bombers, operated by the RAF. Participants can select the distance that best suits their ability and complete it anytime, anywhere, individually, or with friends and family. Support from our Challengers enables us to keep the doors of our Museums open for all generations to enjoy.

The Challenge’s bespoke medal features the Vulcan, and just like the real aircraft, the medal is huge! In previous Challenge events, we’ve seen hundreds of dogs taking part with their owners, so this year we have introduced a new Vulcan pet tag, a mini version of the main medal, so they are rewarded for their efforts too.’

The Vulcan first flew in 1952, and along with the Valiant and Victor, it provided part of Great Britain’s nuclear deterrent force for fifteen years. In 1970, following their withdrawal from the nuclear deterrent, Vulcans switched to the conventional bomber role in support of NATO forces in Europe. The Vulcan’s range could be greatly increased by in-flight refuelling which was used to good effect in the long-range attacks on the Falkland Islands from Ascension Island in 1982. The last Vulcans retired from operational service in 1984. Both RAF Museum London and Cosford have a Vulcan on public display.

Participants can stay connected and make new friends as they complete the Challenge by joining the RAF Museum Virtual Running Group on Facebook. Meet other Challengers, share your progress and ask fellow participants for advice, as well as enjoying exclusive Vulcan content during the course of the Challenge. If you’re posting updates on your social media, don’t forget to tag @rafmuseum or #VulcanChallenge2022.

Limited edition Vulcan Challenge T-shirts and Hooded Sweatshirts are also available to purchase when registering online. The souvenir T-shirts and Hoodies cost £15.00 and £30 respectively and will be delivered with your medal following the end of the challenge. Sizes range from Extra Small to XX Large.

Or why not consider fundraising for the RAF Museum, pledge to raise £100 and receive your Vulcan Challenge t-shirt for free. Starting your fundraising could not be simpler, select the sponsorship option when signing up online and head to our Vulcan Challenge JustGiving page. Once your JustGiving page is set up, our team will be in touch with some handy tips to kick start your fundraising.

To register for the Vulcan Challenge visit www.rafmuseum.org. Entry costs £20 per person (£15.00 Armed Forces entry), additional booking and postage charges apply for overseas participants. The Challenge is open to participants of all ages, but we recommend under 16’s are accompanied by an adult.

Spitfire from Santa: a gift that really takes-off!

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

RAF Museum Xmas Gifts

This Christmas, give your loved ones a gift with a great story! Adopt an Artefact from the Royal Air Force Museum and choose from more than 60 historic objects, to select a unique gift for the hard to buy for individual who has everything! Your adoption will support the preservation, conservation, educational and storytelling work of the RAF Museum far beyond gift exchanges on Christmas day.

Whether that’s a uniform or medal bar, a personnel’s lucky mascot or escape and evasion items, there is a wide range of unusual objects to choose from, each with their own incredible story to tell. The artefact adoption process is quick and simple, browse the objects available and order your adoption pack online at rafmuseum.org.

Give the gift of adoption and make your money go a little further by supporting a charity. These alternative gifts are not something you see in your average Christmas stocking, where else can you adopt the most famous and iconic aircraft in history!

The Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb adoption is guaranteed to wow any aviation fan on Christmas morning! One hundred and forty RAF squadrons operated the type and it served on all battlefronts including gunfire support for naval units on the D-Day beaches of Normandy. This legend of the sky is sure to make your gift a hard one to beat!

If you’re in need of a little festive inspiration take a look at the Christmas Gift Box. No Christmas is complete without a flashing red nose! These items are from a Christmas Gift Box sent to RAF personnel serving in Iraq in 2004. An idea created by Princess Mary in 1914 to send every serving member of the UK armed forces a special gift at Christmas. A thoughtful gift to send someone you can’t be with on Christmas day.

Or how about adopting one of the Museums most famous and treasured artefacts, Percy the Penguin. Flight Lieutenant Stan Chapman was the bomb aimer in Halifax HX333 ‘J Jane’ which was hit by flak over Berlin on 29 January 1944. ‘J Jane’ was badly damaged and, tucking his lucky mascot Percy the Penguin inside his flying jacket, Stan bailed out. Percy was confiscated when Stan was taken prisoner but was later returned by his captors. Percy and Stan returned home together when the war ended. This brave and adorable penguin is now enjoying a well-earned rest at the Museum’s Cosford site.

If your Christmas day tradition includes hours of playing games with family, our Playing Cards with Hidden Maps would make the ideal adoption for the one who always finds a sneaky way to win! Used by RAF prisoners of war in Germany during the Second World War, playing cards were often used to smuggle maps into prison camps. Unsurprisingly, these cards have been one of the most popular adoptions since the programme launched last year.

Inspire the next generation of pioneers by adopting the Amy Johnson Fabric Doll. Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930. If you look closely on her sash, you will see some of the record-breaking flights she went on to perform. The perfect adoption for any budding pilot or record breaker!

Those adopting an artefact in the run up to Christmas will receive a Christmas card and the option to add a bespoke RAF Museum gift for just £7.50. Choose from a Tally ho-ho-ho tea towel, Christmas mug, Festive fudge, Seasonal shortbread, or Festive tote bag. All adoptions with the additional gift placed by the 20 December are guaranteed to arrive in time for you to present your loved one with their card and gift on Christmas Day.

Make your gift stand out this year. Adopt an Artefact in the name of someone you love, and know that your gift will keep on giving, as support from adoptees will help the Museum to continue sharing the RAF Story.

Starting at £25.00, adoptions last for 12 months starting from 25 December. All adoptees will receive a digital adoption certificate and photo of their adopted artefact, along with exclusive updates and information on your chosen object throughout the year. Recognition of your adoption will feature alongside the object on the Museum’s Collections Online, where you can add a dedicated message along with the name of adoptee. For more details on how to Adopt an Artefact and to browse the items available, visit www.rafmuseum.org.

The RAF Museum will be open throughout the Christmas period, except 24-26 December and 1 January. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Pass on something wonderful

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

RAF Museum - Remember a Charity 2021

This year’s Remember A Charity Week (6-12 September), the Royal Air Force Museum is offering a free Will writing service for supporters who wish to leave a gift to the Museum in their Will.

After taking care of your family and friends, even a small legacy donation can make a huge impact, assisting the Museum, a registered charity, in its vision of inspiring future generations with the RAF story.

No matter how big or small your gift is, supporters can access free advice and a Will writing service through the Museum’s partnership with Bequeathed, an accredited legal firm.

Charities and museums underpin so much of community life in the UK and bring people together. Now more than ever, the RAF Museum is relying on gifts in Wills from supporters to help conserve the nations RAF heritage.

The last 18 months have prompted many of us to reflect on the things that matter the most – family, friends, and the causes close to our hearts. We’ve also been reminded of the value of planning for the future, to help look after the things we care about most.

Aimee Pitchford, Legacy Manager at the RAF Museum says:
‘Remember A Charity Week, from 6 to 12 September, is the perfect opportunity to consider passing on something wonderful by leaving a gift in your Will. By leaving a gift in your Will to the Royal Air Force Museum, your gift can reflect your own interests and passions, inspiring others through our collections and exhibitions as we continue to inspire everyone with the RAF story, the people who shape it and its place in our lives.’

The RAF has been responsible for some of the greatest stories ever told…not just of the heroism of the Battle of Britain that took place over the skies of Britain 80 years ago, but also of the RAF today. Underpinning these stories is a collection of more than 1.3 million objects, ranging in size from aircraft to lapel badges, and spanning more than a century of aviation history.

If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift to the RAF Museum in your Will, please visit www.rafmuseum.org.

#RememberACharityWeek

Adoptions help keep the RAF Museum flying

Monday, July 19th, 2021

RAF Museum Fighter Fund

Within its first year, the Royal Air Force Museum’s Adopt an Artefact initiative has helped raise more than £65,000 to help keep the Museum flying, with over 200 adoptees supporting the Museum in one of the toughest years faced by visitor attractions.

‘Adopt an Artefact’ highlights a selection of iconic and unusual objects from the Museum collection which span more than a century of aviation and RAF history. It’s also a unique opportunity for everyone to be part of the RAF’s story while raising funds for the Museum.

To celebrate the first anniversary, the Museum is introducing five new objects for people to adopt, each with their own fascinating story to tell. The new objects joining the list of over 60 already available to adopt include a flying car, dog lead, RAF Cosford hospital tag, fighter fund card and even a toothbrush. These five new items have all been specially selected from the Museum’s collection of more than 1.3 million items and can be adopted online at rafmuseum.org.

The NEW Anniversary artefacts available for adoption include the Nylon Halex toothbrush. But this is no ordinary toothbrush and concealed within the handle is a small, magnetised compass swinger. This is an example of the work of Section 9 of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (MI9). One of MI9’s specialities was smuggling escape aids into prisoner of war camps in otherwise unremarkable looking objects. It’s the perfect adoption for any budding spies and can be spotted on display at the Museums London site.

The RAF Cosford Hospital Key Tag for the female nurses’ quarter is a poignant adoption for the medical staff who worked there. Opened in 1940 and housed in a series of inter-connected wooden huts, the RAF Cosford hospital treated more than 42,000 patients during the Second World War, including returning prisoners of war and burns victims. Following the war, the hospital’s remit was widened to include care for the local population, and thousands of military and civilian patients were treated at the hospital before its closure in 1977. Visitors to the Museums Cosford site can view the tag on display.

The sky’s the limit with Handley Page HP120 Flying Car adoption! Developed in 1950s when there was considerable interest in the concept of a flying car, this model was built for wind tunnel testing. Before building full-sized prototypes, designers often use large accurate models to observe the behaviour of proposed new aircraft under simulated flight conditions. Powered by a jet engine and fitted with folding wings and a moveable tail, this flying car concept never went beyond the wind tunnel model stage. Adoptees can view this unique item on display in London.

Calling all dog lovers…the heavy-duty Dog Lead used with patrol dogs at RAF Scampton in the 1970s is the perfect adoption for you. RAF police dogs have their own RAF service numbers and non-commissioned ranks. This sometimes means that the dog will outrank its handler! The RAF Police have used dogs in the protection of airfields and military installations since 1945. RAF police dogs are trained in two distinct roles, either patrol and guarding or as specialist search dogs. This object, which recognises the important contribution of service dogs, is proudly on display at Cosford.

The Fighter Fund Card of Honour now available for adoption is an example of the many Fighter Funds established in 1940 to raise the £5,000 required to purchase an RAF fighter aircraft which was then named after an individual, business, town or city. They enabled ordinary people to contribute to the war effort and brought communities and Allied counties together. Savings cards encouraged the public to donate a small but regular amount to a Fighter Fund. Stamps could be purchased for a penny and, on completion of the card, the owner was issued with a large Stamp of Honour. Eighty years on, you can help support the Museum’s public fund by adopting the Fighter Fund Card of Honour! Look out for this artefact next time you visit the Museums Cosford site.

Adopt online at www.rafmuseum.org, where you can discover more about the new artefacts and browse through more than 60 items up for adoption, including everything from a Red Arrows flying suit, to lucky mascots, and even a commemorative beer mat, there really is something for everyone! Adoptions can be made on an individual or corporate basis; join Mars and Chelsea FC by adopting one of our amazing aircraft!

Starting at £25.00, adoptions last 12 months from the date they are adopted. As recognition for their adoption, all adoptees will receive a digital adoption certificate and photo, exclusive updates, and the option to include a dedicated message along with the name of the adoptee alongside the object on Collections Online, the Museum’s digital collections system.

Abi Betteridge, Individual Giving Manager RAF Museum said:
‘Since we launched Adopt an Artefact last year, dedication messages from adoptees have continued to flood our web pages. We have seen many personal tributes to loved ones, like Twinkletoes the Cat who was adopted in memory of someone’s father, a wartime Hurricane pilot and cat lover. One of the more humorous dedications we have seen was for the Elsanol Chemical Toilet Fluid, it read ‘Lest we forget all the little underappreciated jobs that make the world go around’. There have also been messages of reflection, encouragement and support, it is very moving to read through them.

Adopting an artefact can help make a real difference to the services we continue to deliver. The money raised through adoptions could help fund places for students on our three-year engineering Apprenticeship in the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre, or provide our Access and Learning team additional members of staff, enabling them to deliver our amazing learning programme to even more learners.’

Edward Sharman, Head of Development RAF Museum, said:
‘As a result of the pandemic, the Museum has seen a reduction in our self-generated income of over £3m. By adopting one of our amazing objects in the collection, support from our adoptees is helping the Museum continue inspiring everyone with the RAF story. It is also a fantastic opportunity for individuals and organisations to be part of the RAF’s history and to receive something unique in return for their support. We hope adoptees have enjoyed being part of Adopt an Artefact and will consider continuing to support us and adopt for another year.’

All adoptees can view their adopted artefact during a visit to the Museum, where each object can be found on display at either the Museum’s Cosford or London site.

The Museum is open daily from 10.00am and admission is free, simply pre-book your arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford. Then it’s chocks away as you explore the Museum’s vast collection of aircraft, vehicles, artefacts and the fascinating story of the RAF!

WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OUR FORCES

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

#FootstepsOfOurForces

PUBLIC ASKED TO MARK THIS YEAR’S ARMED FORCES WEEK BY WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OUR FORCES

• The National Museum of the Royal Navy, National Army Museum, Royal Air Force Museum and Commonwealth War Graves Commission are marking this year’s Armed Forces Week by launching a virtual walking event, In the Footsteps of Our Forces
• The four organisations are appealing to the public to take inspiration from Captain Sir Tom Moore and get active; by participating in a 5,10 or 25K walk around historic sites in their local community, reflecting on the incredible contribution of our service personnel
• Participants can choose their distance and join hundreds of others across the country to walk in honour of those who serve. As a virtual walk they can participate and complete the challenge from anywhere in the world and all will receive a medal for their achievement

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), National Army Museum (NAM), the Royal Air Force Museum (RAFM) and Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) are delighted to announce the launch of a country-wide celebration of our service personnel in conjunction with this years Armed Forces Week (21 – 27 June). All four organisations have come together to host a virtual walk event In the Footsteps of Our Forces, and are appealing to the public to reflect on and celebrate the role of our Armed Forces today and in the past.

The virtual walk will kick off on Monday 21 June, Armed Forces Week, and will end on Sunday 4 July. The public will have two weeks to complete their chosen distance of either 5, 15 or 25K. They will also be able to download one of the suggested routes which will take then around museums, war graves, memorials, historical sites and places of remembrance. All of those who complete the walk will be awarded a commemorative medal to mark their achievement

Entry for the In the Footsteps of Our Forces walk is £18 and the money will go towards the three museums, and the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation (CWGF), which are all registered charities. A discounted ticket of £15 is offered for the Armed Forces Community (including veterans, cadets and serving personnel). If five or more friends or family members enter, they will be eligible for a 10% discount on tickets. If a group of 10 or more enter then a 15% discount will apply. Tickets must be purchased in a single transaction, and medals will be posted to one address.

All four charities preserve the history of the Armed Forces and inspire with stories of sacrifice and courage and have seen visitations to their sites severely impacted in the last year. The money raised will support each organisation in helping to continue to tell the stories of those who served and are still serving in the Armed Forces today.

Amongst the suggested routes includes the routes around historic Hendon, the home of the RAF Museum or through the streets of military Chelsea, the home of the National Army Museum. You can explore the historic docks of the Navy in Portsmouth or use the War Graves app to discover the War Graves and memorials on your doorstep.

The four organisations who worked together last year in creating virtual programmes to commemorate the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ Day and have been nominated for a Museums and Heritage Award for best Partnership and, are excited to working together again.

Dominic Tweddle Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy says: “Only last week in Portsmouth alongside Admiral Nelson’s Flagship, HMS Victory, we bid farewell to the Strike Carrier Group as it undertook its deployment. This was the largest concentration of maritime and air power to be deployed from the UK in a generation and demonstrates the scale of the UK’s military commitment still today. It is proof that our role as a museum continues to be connecting the work of our service personnel today, with the experience of those 100, 200 and 300 years ago and we hope that that is something that participants in this walk will reflect on.”

Justin Maciejewski, Director of the National Army Museum says “Last Summer we were all humbled at the incredible efforts of Captain Sir Tom Moore as he celebrated the work of our NHS through a personnel walking challenge. Inspired by this spirit and determination we hope the public will undertake their own walking challenge in support of the heritage organisations that celebrate and commemorate the work of our Army, Navy and Air Force and perhaps pay a visit to Captain Sir Tom’s Portrait now proudly on display in our Chelsea Museum.”

Maggie Appleton, CEO of the Royal Air Force Museum continues: “The pandemic has required us to think again about the way we commemorate important anniversaries and events. Last year’s incredibly successful VE and VJ Day virtual events in collaboration with our partners, has driven us to seek more ways in which we can work together and it is wonderful to be commemorating the work of our three services together with our colleagues at the other service museums and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.”

Claire Horton, Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission says: “We think that this walking challenge is a fantastic opportunity to get people out and exploring the war graves and memorials in their local areas and to connect those with the stories of historic and modern service personnel told at our partner museums. Working together in this way helps us all to illustrate the evocative, inspiring and poignant stories we all seek to highlight throughout our work.”

Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said: “Our Service Museums and the CWGC do vital work in keeping the story of our Armed Forces and their sacrifice alive for future generations. I hope that during this Armed Forces Week, service personnel and members of the public can reflect upon their incredible contribution through this endeavour.”

For further information on how to get involved in In the Footsteps of Our Forces please visit one of the partner websites www.nmrn.org.uk, www.nam.ac.uk, www.rafmuseum.org.uk, www.CWGC.org.

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
1944.

• 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.

www.rafmuseum.org