Posts Tagged ‘RAF Museum’

Commemorating Battle of Britain 80 at the RAF Museum

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Battle of Britain Commemoration

2020 is the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (BoB) which is recognised as the country’s finest hour. The Royal Air Force Museum is inviting the country to remember this significant story of bravery, international alliances and ingenuity both at the Museum and online.

On the evening of Thursday 17 September, the RAF Museum London held a small, private and socially distanced ceremonial event commemorating Battle of Britain 80 and the opening of the new Battle of Britain display and art exhibition.

Full precautions were in place to ensure the small group of guests at the ceremony, adhered to the social distancing laws. In attendance were Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston CBE ADC Chief of the Air Staff (CAS); Air Marshal Andrew Turner CB CBE MA MSC BA FRAES CCMI RAF DCOM Cap; Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, KCB, CBE, DFC, ADC; Malcolm Brecht CB CBE – Director C-17 International Field Services at Boeing Global Services; Maggie Appleton MBE (RAF Museum CEO) and Sir Andrew Pulford GCB CBE DL RAF Museum Chair).

The ceremony featured QCS, Sunset Ceremony and a flypast by a BBMF Spitfire. To conclude the evening RAF veteran Benny Goodman was presented with an early birthday present ahead of his 100th birthday by RAF CAS and the Chelsea Football Club Foundation.’

The London Museum is home to the most complete set of Battle of Britain aircraft in the world including the ‘fighter four’: Spitfire, Hurricane, Messerschmitt 109 and Fiat CR42, all participants in the BoB. This year they will be supported by new displays telling the wider BoB story, including an enigma machine, Dowding and Goering’s busts and medals, and Newall’s uniform. Complimenting the new display will be stunning year-long art exhibition: In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. The exhibition will present over 50 works of art created in response to the war in the air by acclaimed artists such as Nash, Kennington, Laura Knight, Graham Sutherland, Nessler, Nevinson and Olga Lehmann.

The RAF Museum is FREE to enter and has sites at both London and the West Midlands. With wide open spaces both inside and out, the Museum is a great and safe day out for all the family and will be commemorating BoB 80 with a series of special events and exhibitions.

www.rafmuseum.org

Untold Battle of Britain Podcast to be launched on Battle of Britain Day

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Battle of Britain podcast

The National Archives, the RAF and the RAF Museum will release a collaborative bonus episode of On the Record at The National Archives to mark Battle of Britain Day on 15 September.

Listen to the trailer here.

80 years on from the conflict, this episode focuses on lesser-known figures from the Battle of Britain to highlight the variety of people who contributed to the military campaign.

Vicky Iglikowski-Broad (The National Archives) reveals the bravery of three women who kept contact lines open while their airbase was under fire. Lucia Wallbank (RAF Museum) tells the story of Mahinder Singh Pujji and Vincent Bunting, two of the many pilots from overseas who enlisted to fight, while Mandy Singleton (RAF) highlights the engineers who maintained the planes and kept pilots safe.

www.rafmuseum.org

Commemorate Battle of Britain 80 at the RAF Museum

Sunday, August 30th, 2020

Battle of Britain 80 at RAF Museum Cosford

2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, widely recognised as the country’s finest hour. The Royal Air Force Museum is inviting the country to remember this significant story of bravery, international alliances and ingenuity both at the Museum and online.

The RAF Museum is FREE to enter and has sites at both London and the West Midlands. With wide open spaces both inside and out, the Museum is a great and safe day out for all the family and will be commemorating Battle of Britain 80 with a series of special events and exhibitions.

LONDON:
The London Museum is home to the most complete set of Battle of Britain aircraft in the world including the ‘fighter four’: Spitfire, Hurricane, Messerschmitt 109 and Fiat CR42, all participants in the Battle. This year they will be supported by new displays telling the wider Battle of Britain story, including an enigma machine, Dowding and Goering’s busts and medals, and Newall’s uniform. A new interactive will explain in an engaging way how the Dowding System worked, challenging the visitors to help detect the raids that happened on the 15 August 1940.

Complimenting the new display will be stunning year-long art exhibition: In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. The exhibition will present over 50 works of art created in response to the war in the air by acclaimed artists such as Nash, Kennington, Laura Knight, Graham Sutherland, Nessler, Nevinson and Olga Lehmann. Many of these works have never been shown to the public.

COSFORD:
Home to the world’s oldest Spitfire, the Cosford Museum houses a collection of both British and German aircraft from the Battle of Britain era. The Spitfire forms the centerpiece of the new display, where the RAF’s frontline fighters, the Spitfire, Hurricane, Gladiator and Defiant are face to face with their German rivals the Me 109 and Ju88, to tell a coherent story. Previously unseen objects from the Museum’s collection including a Rhino suit worn by Defiant pilots, Dowding’s jacket, artefacts from the plotting rooms and medal bars, will share the stories of the people who helped win the Battle, in the air and on the ground. A highlight of the new display is James Nicolson’s flying jacket and medal bar containing his VC medal, the only VC awarded during the Battle. Nicolson also flew the Spitfire on display at Cosford.

ONLINE:
To ensure that everyone across the country is able to commemorate this historic occasion, the Museum has a number of online events as below.

Livestreamed Event
The Museum will be livestreaming a talk with Jim Nicolson’s Nephew; and a talk from the Air Historical Board.

Untold Battle of Britain Podcast
An exclusive podcast created in conjunction with The National Archive and the RAF, which looks at a range of untold and unheard stories from the Battle of Britain.

The Battle of Britain Bake
The Museum is inviting master bakers and baking novices alike to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain by taking part in The Battle of Britain Bake, with a prize bundle worth £80 up for grabs. Make and bake your own Battle of Britain inspired cookies, cupcakes or cakes, and get creative with the decoration. Share a photo of your Battle of Britain inspired baked goods on social media and tag @rafmuseum to be in with a chance of winning. The winners of each category (Under 10s / 10-18 years / Over 18s) will receive a Battle of Britain prize bundle worth £80 from the RAF Museum Shop. Competition closes on Tuesday 15 September and winners will be announced on Sunday 20 September.

Virtual BoB celebrations
The Museum is also commemorating the Battle of Britain virtually this year with the Spitfire 10K and Spitfire Family Run. Complete 10K any time between the 29 August and 15 September, wherever and however you choose – running, cycling, rowing, or even walking the dog! Participants will then be rewarded with one of the highly sought after 2020 Spitfire 10K medals! Find out more and register online at rafmuseum.org.

Adopt a Battle of Britain Artefact
Support the Museum by adopting a Battle of Britain artefact. With several objects up for adoption including RAF flying ace Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader’s Logbook, entries record Bader’s flights and victories in wartime Britain as a Hurricane pilot, plus a selection of objects from the new displays including a Sector Room Clock and Aircraft Recognition Cards. For more details on how to Adopt an Artefact and to browse the items available, visit www.rafmuseum.org.uk/support-us/adopt-an-artefact.

For more information on Battle of Britain 80 anniversary activities at the RAF Museum visit www.rafmuseum.org.

The Museum is now open daily with a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Tri-Service Museums mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day

Friday, August 7th, 2020

RAF Museum celebrates 75th Anniversary of VJ Day

TRI-SERVICE MUSEUMS AND COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION MARK THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF VJ DAY WITH VIRTUAL EVENTS PROGRAMME ‘VJ75: NEVER FORGOTTEN’

• Tri-Service museums join forces to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day from 14 – 16 August 2020
• A series of free virtual events will pay tribute to those who fought against the Japanese in the Far East Campaign
• ‘Never Forgotten’ a live debate will discuss how the conflict was fought on land, sea and air and how it continues to be commemorated today

Following the success of their VE Day Festival in May, The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), National Army Museum (NAM) and Royal Air Force Museum (RAFM) together with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), are coming together in a unique collaboration to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day with a series of free virtual events for the public to engage with from the safety and comfort of their home.

Taking place from Friday 14 August to Sunday 16 August 2020, the ambitious commemorations will feature a variety of online talks and events which will explore the contribution of the British and Commonwealth forces during the Far East Campaign in the closing months of the Second World War.

Although victory had been declared in Europe, the gruelling fight against Japan continued. From 1941 to 1945, the British Commonwealth Forces alongside the allies fought a bitter campaign in Asia. The fighting took place over challenging terrain, from the jungles of Burma to the remote islands of the Pacific, and always against a tenacious enemy. Despite the extraordinary nature of the far eastern element of the conflict, it remains less well known or recognised than the European elements of the war.

The programme of online events will begin on Friday 14 August and will see the tri-service museums introduce the Far East Campaign and explore its vast geographical spread. They will also share the rediscovered stories of individual service personnel who fought during this period. These online videos will be available to view via the museums’ individual digital channels.

The programme continues Saturday 15 August, the date of Japan’s surrender and the end of the Second World War, with ‘Never Forgotten: The War in the Far East and Modern Memory’. This exciting debate hosted by journalist and author Dr Shrabani Basu sees historians from the three museums and the CWGC discuss how the Far East Campaign was fought on land, sea and air and how it continues to be commemorated today. After the debate members of the public are invited to get involved in a live Q&A. This is a free event that will be broadcast on Crowdcast on Saturday 15 August at 2pm.

The final day of the commemorations on Sunday 16 August will see the three museums and the CWCG come together for the last time to discuss the popular cultural legacy of the war in the Far East. It will address topics such as why so many of our war films are only focussed on the war in Europe, and how the war is remembered today. Like the previous debate, this is also a free event that will be broadcast on Sunday 16 August at 2pm.

The full events programme can be found on the websites of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission by Monday 10 August 2020.

The museums are encouraging those joining to share pictures on social media with the hashtags #VJDay75 #NeverForgotten

www.rafmuseum.org

Chocks away for the Virtual Spitfire 10K race!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

RAF Museum Spitfire 10K

Date: 29 August – 15 September 2020
Cost: Standard entry – £22.50
Discounted entry – £20.50 (Armed Forces Community including Veterans, Personnel and Cadets)
Family Run entry – £10.00
(booking fee applies, additional fees apply for entries from abroad)

The popular Spitfire 10K held annually at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford and London is going virtual this year!

The RAF Museum starts the Battle of Britain commemorations with the annual Spitfire 10K event, but in a slightly different format. Ordinarily, the event would see runners racing across the airfield at Cosford and through the streets of north London, but with the health and wellbeing of participants in mind, organisers are making the 2020 Spitfire 10K event a virtual one and online applications are now open.

Participants of the Virtual Spitfire 10K are invited to join others in a virtual race across the country over the August bank holiday at 10.00am on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 August, the original race days, for the real race experience. Trophies and prizes are up for grabs, and runners who submit their times will appear on the leader board.

Or, why not complete the 10K at a more leisurely pace and tailor the racing experience to fit your schedule and ability, by splitting the distance into a few runs or walks. The virtual race gives participants the opportunity to complete the 10K any time between the 29 August and 15 September, wherever and however they want – running, cycling, rowing, or even walking the dog!

The Virtual Spitfire 10K challenge will end on 15 September, the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Participants will then be rewarded with one of the highly sought after 2020 Spitfire 10K medals, an absolute must for any runner’s medal collection!

The Museum is delighted to announced that the “RAF Spitfires” (RAF Rugby 7s Team) will be taking part in the Spitfire 10K. The team members will be running the race, raising funds for the RAF Museum and will be sharing their tips and tricks on how to get ready for the race with other runners on social media.

Any families with younger children who would like to join in the fun can sign up for the Spitfire Family Run, a shorter 1km race suitable for all ages, and participants will be rewarded with a medal upon completion.

RAF Museum Public Events Manager, Ulrike Stuebner said:
“It’s great to see that more than 1,000 runners have decided to support the RAF Museum by transferring their entry from the physical race to the virtual challenge. We’ve also had more than 500 new sign ups since tickets opened and there is still plenty of time for people to register. The great thing about the virtual race is that it can be completed anywhere, and participants will each receive one of our spectacular bespoke medals, which are guaranteed to be popular. Some exciting new additions for the virtual race include a Spitfire 10K Facebook community group, where you can read tips to motivate yourself to get moving, share photos, running routes, hikes and dog walks, it’s a great opportunity to talk to like-minded runners. We also have a brand-new technical running t-shirt and vest again this year, and have created a running playlist to help keep you motivated when completing the 10K.”

The Spitfire 10K is held to commemorate the Battle of Britain and the Royal Air Force personnel who defended Britain’s skies during the summer of 1940. Participants will each receive a roll of honour card with the name of a Battle of Britain Pilot to wear as they complete their 10K, sharing the story of those who served in this pivotal aerial campaign with a new generation.

Help us honour those who defended our skies during the Battle of Britain by fundraising for the RAF Museum and pledging to raise £80 for the 80th anniversary and receive your race day t-shirt for free.

Spitfire technical t-shirts (£10.00), running vests (£12.00) and cotton family run t-shirts (£5.00) can be purchased when registering for the Virtual Spitfire 10K. If purchased before the 1 August, t-shirts will be posted with the race packs, all purchases after this date and overseas participants will receive their t-shirts with their medal.

All those who enter the virtual race will get a head start for the 2021 Spitfire 10K by receiving advanced notice of the race entry details at both museums.

Register for the Spitfire 10K Virtual race online at www.rafmuseum.org. Entry costs £22.50 per person (UK entries), a discounted rate of £20.50 is available for the Armed Forces Community. A booking fee and additional fees for entries from abroad will apply. All proceeds from the event will go towards the RAF Museum, registered charity number 244708.

The Museum is now open daily with a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Adopt a piece of RAF history!

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Adopt an Artefact at RAF Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum has announced an exciting new programme which offers members of the public the opportunity to adopt one of over 50 objects within the Museum’s collection.

Adopt an Artefact’ is a unique opportunity for everyone to be part of the RAF’s story, while raising funds for the RAF Museum. With a collection of more than 1.3 million items, spanning more than a century of RAF history, Adopt an Artefact highlights a selection of iconic objects, each with their own fascinating story to tell.

Adopt online at rafmuseum.org, where you can explore the Museum’s unique collection and browse through more than 50 items up for adoption, including everything from lapel badges, lucky mascots and a Red Arrows flying suit, to aircraft and even fragments of the Möhne Dam and an Operation GRAPPLE commemorative beer mat, there really is something for everyone! Available to adopt across three tiers (Standard, Enhanced and Exclusive), starting at £25.00, adoptions last 12 months from the date they are adopted. Adoptees can make their adoption go even further by opting to add Gift Aid which will increase their donation by 25% for no extra cost.

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 Collections Online, the Museum’s new digital collections system. If purchased as a gift, or in memory of a loved one, you have the option to include a dedicated message along with the name of adoptee. Artefacts can be adopted on an individual or corporate basis and those adopting one of the Exclusive tier items will receive additional benefits tailored to their adoption.

Within the Standard tier, objects can be adopted by several people and include many unusual items such a pack of Playing Cards with Hidden Maps. Used by RAF prisoners of war in Germany, during the Second World War, playing cards were often used to smuggle maps into prison camps. Or how about the small but mighty Twinkletoes the Cat, the lucky charm of Arthur Whitten Brown. Twinkletoes flew alongside Brown and Captain John Alcock on the first ever non-stop transatlantic flight in a Vickers Vimy in 1919, quite an adventure for a pocket size cat. A Chocolate and Sugar Confectionery Coupon Card is the perfect guilt free chocolate adoption for anyone with a sweet tooth – thank goodness sugar rationing ended in 1953! If accessories are your thing, step into the world of RAF 1940/50s sweetheart fashion by adopting an RAF Evening Bag, there’s not a Prada or a Gucci logo in sight but the opportunity to adopt a one-off adorned with a pair of pilot’s wings on fabric from the skies. Other items in the standard tier include a Jamaica Uniform Badge, Burma Star and even Powdered Egg!

Items in the Enhanced tier are exclusive to one adoptee and include the Uniform of Avis Hearn. After refusing to leave her post at an RAF radar station while under devasting attack by German dive bombers, her actions were to see her awarded one of only six Military Medals given to WAAFs during the Second World War. Or how about adopting a small dish containing links to one of the most infamous Second World War stories, The Great Escape. Sand from Stalag Luft III Parade Ground, The Great Escape, is a small but fine testament to the 76 Allied prisoners, the majority RAF aircrew, and their legendary feat of engineering. Other artefacts in the Enhanced tier include a Red Arrows Flying Suit, RAF flying ace Douglas Bader’s Log Book and a Fordson Balloon Winch.

The Exclusive tier consists of thirteen aircraft, each available to only one adoptee and includes aircraft such as the Hawker Siddeley Gnat T1, previously flown as Red 3 by the world-famous Red Arrows, thrilling crowds with their precision formation aerobatics! The Gnat T1 was the RAF’s standard advanced training aircraft for some time, and the initial equipment of the Red Arrows until replaced by Hawk T1s in 1980. Or how about adopting something with a royal connection? The Westland Sea King HAR3 was flown in 2011 by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, while serving as a Search and Rescue pilot at RAF Valley. It was the very first in RAF service, providing search and rescue cover for both military and civilian personnel across the UK, and only retired in 2015. Other aircraft in this tier include the Panavia Tornado GR1B, Avro Lancaster 1 and Boulton Paul Defiant I.

To celebrate the launch, the Museum is offering up to 20 people the chance to adopt the iconic Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb. Ordinarily, this item would feature within the Exclusive tier, however for the launch of Adopt an Artefact, you can adopt this item for £200 within the Standard tier, the ultimate gift for any aviation fan.

View your 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, with the exception of just one – Douglas Bader’s Log Book. Stored in the archives, a private viewing of the log book can be arranged for the adoptee of this item.

Edward Sharman, Head of Development RAF Museum, said:
“Support from adoptees will help the Museum continue sharing the RAF Story, past, present and future, to engage, inspire and encourage learning for current and future generations. Whether you’re adopting an artefact for yourself, as a gift for an aviation fan, or someone currently serving in the armed forces, it may even be a personal tribute to honour and remember a loved one, this is a fantastic opportunity to be part of the RAF’s history and to receive something unique in return for your support.

Each item tells its own fascinating RAF story, whether it’s a cute stuffed toy with an adventurous past, clothing that tells more than just a fashion statement, from tiny badges with major honours to large iconic Battle of Britain aircraft, there is something to inspire and connect everyone. Support the RAF Museum and adopt today, and share your special adoption story.”

For more details on how to Adopt an Artefact and to browse the items available, visit www.rafmuseum.org.uk/support-us/adopt-an-artefact

The Museum is now open daily with a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Online fans assist RAF Museum with reopening plans

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

RAF Museum Poster Competition Winners

As the Royal Air Force Museum prepares to open its doors to visitors for the first time in more than three months, they have enlisted the help of their social media fans to help get the message out.

Posters designed by members of the public are being used by the Museum through their online platforms to promote the Museum’s reopening on Monday 6 July.

Over May half term the Museum launched a poster competition through its social media channels, calling on members of the public to design a poster to be used by the Museum during the reopening phase. 100 entries were received across three age categories – Over 18s, 10-18 Years and Under 10s.

The three winning designs now feature on the Museum’s website home page and social media accounts, and along with six runners up designs, will be displayed at both the Cosford and London sites for a period over the summer. A photo gallery and video of all the entries received can now be viewed on the RAF Museum’s Facebook page.

Winners will each receive a £100 prize bundle from the RAF Museum Shop, kindly sponsored by The Art Society Wrekin and six runners up get an RAF goody bag thanks the RAF Youth & STEM Team. Entries were received from across the country with two of the winners being local to RAFM London in Borehamwood and High Barnet, and two of the runners up local to RAF Museum Cosford in Telford and Birmingham.

Michelle Worthington, RAF Museum Communications Manager said:
“We were blown away with the response we received to the Poster Competition, across all age categories. It’s been wonderful to see the huge effort people have put into their designs; we have been really impressed with the creativity shown and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing them all. We are thrilled to be showcasing the winning designs online as we prepare to reopen, and we look forward to seeing them on display within the Museum soon.”

The Museum will be reopening its doors on Monday 6 July with a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org

RAF Museum at Cosford and London to reopen Monday 6 July

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

RAF Museum Cosford

RAF Museum welcomes back visitors to a great and safe day out

Following recent advice from the Government and Public Health England, the RAF Museum is pleased to announce that we will be re-opening our doors to visitors on Monday 6 July.

With the health and safety of visitors and colleagues in mind, the Museum will now be asking visitors to pre-book their arrival time at www.rafmuseum.org. While still offering free entry to all, the new timed ticket approach will guarantee the space needed for a safe an enjoyable day out.

The Museum has been working hard behind the scenes to prepare new social distancing measures in preparation for re-opening, a one-way visitor flow and a limit of the number of people in each building will be in place when the Museum reopens on 6 July. Hand sanitiser will be available at the entrance to each hangar and throughout each building. Hand washing facilities are also available in all Museum buildings. We also encourage visitors to act in a manner that respects the safety of others.

The RAF Museum is unique in terms of our size, we offer wide open spaces – both inside and out, and a range of exhibits that will engage the whole family. Both sites have large green spaces, ideal for a summer picnic and we are also offering take-away food at our restaurants. Onsite parking is available, and the Museum shop will also be open and take contactless payment.

Barry Smith, Director of Visitor and Commercial Development, RAF Museum:
“We are incredibly happy to welcome our visitors back and have implemented a range of measures across both sites to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. Our friendly staff are also committed to creating a considerate and respectful environment for all our visitors. With our expansive spaces and engaging exhibits, we are the ideal day out for the summer.”

www.rafmuseum.org

RAF Museum Spitfire marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

RAF Museum Spitfire VE75

The world’s oldest Supermarine Spitfire Mk1 on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford is illuminated red, white and blue to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The Spitfire is the most famous British fighter aircraft in history and a symbol of victory. Its groundbreaking design and superior specifications gave the British a decisive advantage over their rivals. The Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than any other British combat aircraft before or since the War.

The Royal Air Force Museum, the National Army Museum and the National Museum of the Royal Navy are joining forces to host their first tri-service celebration with a Virtual VE Day 75 Festival taking place online from 7-9 May 2020, bringing to life the stories of those who helped deliver Victory in Europe.

Find out more about the Virtual VE Day 75 Festival at www.rafmuseum.org.

National Military Service Museums join forces to bring nation together (at home) in Virtual VE Day Festival

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

VE Day Celebration

•  Tri-service museums host Virtual VE Day 75 Festival from 7-9 May 2020
•  Joint Command? Debunking the myths behind the Navy, Army and Air Force roles as they vied for victory 75 years ago
•  Free virtual events bring WW2 to life, for the nation at home

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 – The three historical institutions of the British Armed Forces invite the public to ‘stand with your services’ to celebrate 75 years since VE Day on Friday 8 May. The National Museum of the Royal Navy, National Army Museum and Royal Air Force Museum are hosting their first tri-service celebration with the Virtual VE Day 75 Festival taking place online from Thursday 7 May to Saturday 9 May 2020, inclusive.

In a way that the British do so well, the three museums of the Armed Forces will keep calm and carry on with their Virtual VE Day 75 Festival to replace individual pre-Covid ambitions for marking this important anniversary. The service museums encourage members of the public to come together, while staying at home, in conjunction with the government’s communications to ‘stay home and save lives’.

The virtual programme kicks off on Thursday 7 May, the date of Germany’s unconditional surrender, with ‘Vying for Victory: Britain’s Navy, Army and Air Force in Myth and Memory’. Chaired by historian and broadcaster, James Holland, this will see each museum fight their corner, discussing the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force’s respective roles during the closing stages of the Second World War. This free event will be broadcast on YouTube at 5pm on Thursday 7 May, followed by a live Q&A on CrowdCast at 7pm.

The Second World War was the first major conflict which saw the implementation of a truly joint operations and command. This involved three different services with three different sets of traditions, cultures and experiences. Leading military historians, Matthew Sheldon (National Museum of the Royal Navy); Dr Peter Johnson (National Army Museum) and Dr Harry Raffal (Royal Air Force Museum); will explore how each of the services has cemented its own contribution in myth, tradition and popular culture and question the accuracy of that representation via the highs and lows of this unique working relationship.

On Friday 8 May, members of the public are invited to get their gardens and homes decorated and prepare for a VE Day party. Enjoy learning about life on the Home Front, get thrifty with a Make Do and Mend session, and learn how to dig for victory. Discover some of the experiences of Women in War with poignant stories from the each of the museums’ archives. Such as that from Dorrie Thomas, who served as a Telegraphist in the Women’s Royal Navy Service and sent news of peace in Europe to members of the British Naval Fleet.

Historian and author, James Holland will speak to the National Army Museum’s Dr Peter Johnston at 2pm in a live webinar discussing ‘Why the Allies Won’, just before the nation tunes into the BBC to hear Churchill’s famous VE Day broadcast at 3pm. Victory celebrations commence at 4pm with a live Swing Dance Class followed by a sing-along concert with the Bluebird Belles.

Saturday 9 May brings living history to living rooms with reenactors sharing stories from real service personnel during the Second World War. Dr Peter Johnston takes a live webinar with historian Dr Jonathan Fennell on ‘Fighting the People’s War’, and an immersive walk-through of HMS Alliance will provide an insight into the extraordinary self-isolation experience of submariners as the rest of Europe celebrated.

Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said, “As plans for VE Day 75 have been forced to change hugely due to the pandemic, this imaginative and innovative virtual festival will provide a much-needed distraction in these uncertain times. This is a chance to rediscover the Second World War and will be a poignant reminder for us all of the sacrifice our Armed Forces made in honour of King and country.

“The cooperation of these three historic institutions is a fantastic achievement and will ensure that all generations are aware of the importance of VE Day and the unforgettable impact of events which took place 75 years ago.”

The museums are encouraging those joining to share pictures on social media with the hashtag #StandWithYourServices

www.rafmuseum.org