The Royal Air Force Museum, London

The Royal Air Force Museum, London Our purpose is to tell the story of the Royal Air Force through its people and collections.
(1845)

Operating as usual

Peter Thomas was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1915. Thomas decided to fight for freedom by joining the RAF. He travelled fr...
25/10/2020

Peter Thomas was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1915. Thomas decided to fight for freedom by joining the RAF. He travelled from Nigeria to the UK to enlist and, on 17 September 1942, he became the first Black African to qualify as a pilot and the first to be commissioned as an officer.

He was a popular officer, liked by his comrades for his courtesy and good humour and respected for his strong religious faith. On 12 January 1945, while serving with No. 4 Radio School at Madley, Flight Lieutenant Peter Thomas was killed in a flying accident in bad weather. The thirty-year old Nigerian is buried in Bath Cemetery.

Discover his story and those of other Black RAF Personnel this #BlackHistoryMonth at https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/online-exhibitions/pilots-of-the-caribbean/heroes-and-sheroes/liberator-flight-lieutenant-emanuel-peter-john-adeniyi-thomas.aspx

Christmas is just around the corner. If you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a donation to the Royal Air Force Muse...
24/10/2020
Support Royal Air Force Museum by shopping at smile.amazon.co.uk.

Christmas is just around the corner. If you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon will make a donation to the Royal Air Force Museum. So you can now find that perfect gift for a loved one in the run up to the Festive Season and help us continue to tell the story of the RAF during this challenging period. Better yet it won't cost you any extra. You just pay the price of your Amazon purchase. To learn more, please click on the link below:
https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/244708-0

When you shop at smile.amazon.co.uk, Amazon will donate to Royal Air Force Museum. Support us every time you shop.

This Emma Bridgewater Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary mug is now available and only from the Royal Air Force Museum S...
23/10/2020

This Emma Bridgewater Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary mug is now available and only from the Royal Air Force Museum Shop at special offer price of £20 plus postage and packing

https://www.rafmuseumshop.com/bob-80th-anniversary-mug-by-e…

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the sacrifices and bravery shown by The Few, we commissioned Emma Bridgewater to create an exclusive mug for the Royal Air Force Museum.

Emma Bridgewater pottery is made from cream-coloured earthenware in their factory in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of British pottery.

The mug depicts RAF fighter pilots at readiness, awaiting the call to scramble. The pilots wear fur lined flying boots designed to protect against cold temperatures at high altitude. They are also wearing life preservers, nicknamed the ‘Mae West’ after the famous actress, in case of being shot down over the sea. Once in the air they were directed by ground controllers to intercept the enemy raiders. Mass dogfights would ensue with aircraft weaving and diving, creating the spectacle of swirling cloudlike trails of vapour across the sky - an image that has come to symbolise the air battles over England during the summer of 1940.

“Never before was so much owed by so many to so few" is written on the inside rim of the mug.

All profits will go back to the Museum. To purchase yours please visit: https://www.rafmuseumshop.com/bob-80th-anniversary-mug-by-emma-bridgewater.html

22/10/2020
Polish Embassy UK

Our thanks to the Polish Embassy UK for giving us the opportunity to host Michael and Jowita earlier this summer. Both our staff and visitors enjoyed their performance on the day and we would like to thank you for it. Kind regards, RAFM.

It's time for some 40s downtime dancing with The Greatest Dancer winners Michael & Jowita! Let them show you how #BoBPoles spent their free time during the Battle of Britain 🇵🇱💃🕺 #BoBPoles80

Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force Museum, London Imperial War Museum London Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej BBC One

21/10/2020
Museum calls for personal Acts of Remembrance

The Royal Air Force Museum is inviting the public to remember service personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice during their tours of duty, by contributing a personal act of remembrance, either a poem, short story, or by designing a poppy, that will feature in a virtual display at both RAF Museum London and Cosford over the remembrance period.

Write a poem or short story about remembrance and share it with RAF Museum audiences. All the entries received will feature in a digital display within the Museum’s hangars in London and Cosford, and the two best entries will be incorporated into the services being held at the Museum on Remembrance Sunday.

For further details on how to assist us, please visit:

https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/whats-going-on/news/raf-museum-calls-for-personal-acts-of-remembranc/

#London: We have reconnected the water supply to Hangars 3,4,5 and are carrying out some final checks. These galleries  ...
20/10/2020

#London: We have reconnected the water supply to Hangars 3,4,5 and are carrying out some final checks. These galleries will be open to the public from 12 noon onwards. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused our visitors today. Kind regards, RAFM

Good morning, Hangars 3,4,5 in London will be closed today while we repair the water supply to these galleries. We would...
19/10/2020

Good morning, Hangars 3,4,5 in London will be closed today while we repair the water supply to these galleries. We would like to apologise for any disappointment that this may cause. We will post again on this page when we are able to open them again. Kind regards, RAFM.

Did you know that people who volunteer live longer, healthier and happier lives? Yes really! The scientific research is ...
15/10/2020

Did you know that people who volunteer live longer, healthier and happier lives? Yes really! The scientific research is there.

I'm Eleanor Hazlewood, Volunteering Manager at the RAF Museum. From a personal point of view, I can confirm the benefits of volunteering: I have been volunteering (on and off) since I was 15. I have been a Brownie leader, and a fundraiser for Marie Curie. I have been an Advisor at the Citizens Advice Bureau, and plastered the ceilings of a school in Bolivia. I have helped children of working parents with their homework, and handed out audio guides to visitors of Apsley House. And I currently volunteer as a Tour Guide at Highgate Cemetery, a beautiful Victorian cemetery in North London.

All of these experiences, in their very different ways, have been beneficial to me as well as (I hope!) to the organisations. I have made new friends. I have added new skills to my CV and opened career doors that might otherwise have stayed shut. I have learnt things about myself – what I enjoy and what I do not; what I value and what causes I am #passionate about supporting; what are my strengths and what are my limitations.

Volunteers will always have a special place in my heart because they are not there to pay the bills, but because they really want to be. That is why I love my job as a manager of volunteers.

And I hope that, through my own experiences on both sides of the fence, I can ensure that volunteering at the RAF Museum is a rewarding and beneficial experience for our volunteers as well as for the Museum.

If you are interested in volunteering, have a look at our website https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/support-us/volunteering/volunteering-at-the-raf-museum.aspx
#MuseumPassion

While doing our usual research, we sometimes across an image which makes us pause and look again. Something unexpected t...
15/10/2020

While doing our usual research, we sometimes across an image which makes us pause and look again. Something unexpected that instantly captures our imagination and feeds our passion for our collection and the history it tells.

One such image is the one you see here. A Native American sitting in a contraption that hardly resembles an aircraft as we know it today. And yet, this is an integral part of British aviation history and the history of the RAF.

The man behind the ‘Indian’ is the flamboyant American showman Samuel Franklin Cody. He had made his name appearing in Wild West shows in America. He arrived in Britain in 1890 with his Wild West show 'The Klondyke Nugget' which became immensely successful.

It is hard to imagine that this big Texan, dressed in cowboy clothes and a stetson hat, with shoulder length hair and an extravagant moustache, would herald in the birth of aviation in Britain.

He started by experiments with man-lifting kites, which in 1904 were purchased and used by the British military. As such, recognised as an authority in aeronautics, he was tasked by the British army to build an aircraft, derived of that of the Wright brothers.

On 16 October 1908, his British Army Aeroplane No.1 took off at Laffan’s Plain and covered a distance of 424 metres (1400 feet) before crashing. This humble start was the first officially verified powered flight in the United Kingdom.

Riding the wave of aviation frenzy, the Michelin company announced several prizes for long distance aero flight. The 1910 British Empire Michelin Cup specified a flight around a closed circuit, made up of two or more markers, and a minimum distance of 61 km (38 mi).

Samuel Cody designed a new aircraft, which we see on this image. To have a ‘chief’ in the aircraft reinforced Cody’s carefully sculpted image of the self-made American cowboy and daredevil.

Flying his new aircraft, Cody won the Cup with a flight of 298.47 km (185.46 mi) staying airborne for 4h 47m, an incredible feat at the time.

Cody kept designing and flying new aircraft but in 1913 his luck turned when his latest aircraft collapsed in mid-air. Cody's body was buried with full military honours in the Aldershot Military Cemetery; the funeral procession drew an estimated crowd of 100,000.

It is just one of the many examples of gems in our collection which tell an often forgotten story, igniting our passion for the history of the RAF and its people. #MuseumPassion

For assistant curator Clare Carr one of the absolute joys and privileges of working with museum objects is being able to...
15/10/2020

For assistant curator Clare Carr one of the absolute joys and privileges of working with museum objects is being able to share their stories with our visitors:

'One of the absolute joys and privileges of working with museum objects is being able to share their stories with our visitors. The RAF Museum’s collections consist of thousands of items large and small, from matchboxes and photographs to huge aircraft and even boats. Sometimes smaller items have fascinating tales to tell, and here I would like to share the stories behind three lucky mascots which we are passionate about and honoured to look after.'

Percy, a cute cuddly penguin toy, was carried in Halifax bombers with his bomb aimer owner, Flight Lieutenant Stan Chapman. In January 1944, Stan’s aircraft, nicknamed ‘Jane’ by the crew, was hit by flak over Berlin. With a severely damaged tail section, ‘Jane’ was nursed as far as Holland before the crew had to abandon her. Stan tucked Percy into his flying jacket, and then the two of them took to their parachute and jumped from the stricken aircraft.

All of ‘Jane’s’ crew survived their jumps and were taken prisoner, and initially Percy was confiscated by the camp guards in case he contained contraband goods. Later returned to Stan they saw out the remainder of the War in a German POW camp. In his memoirs, Stan attributed his crew’s survival to the good luck brought by Percy. He wrote ‘Like many others on active service a mascot answered some unexplained need. The word “lucky” is always associated with such items and it can, perhaps be born out on our surviving the night of January 28/29 1944’.

Teddy bear Teddy Cooper was similarly carried on a tour of operations by his owner, Flight Sergeant Frederick Cooper, a flight engineer on the Liberator bombers of No. 160 Squadron based in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In Fred’s words:

‘Teddy Cooper (date of birth 25th December 1925)
Early in his tour, Teddy was the source of much ribald comment. Then came the day when Flight Sergeant Cooper's crew discovered that Teddy was not on board as they taxied into position for take-off. They insisted that their skipper, F/Lt Leo Davidson, return to the hard standing from where F/Sgt Cooper was sent in a truck to collect Teddy. The crew then took off to raid Singapore. There were no more adverse comments about F/Sgt Cooper's companion!’

Our final mascot may be a face familiar to some readers as a former star of breakfast television. Roland Rat, he of breakfast television and ‘Rat Rapping’ fame, is here dressed as a Wing Commander fresh from service as the mascot of No. 16 (Reserve) Squadron.

No. 16 (Reserve) Squadron trained crews on the Sepecat Jaguar at RAF Coltishall until it was disbanded in 2005, since when Roland has been enjoying his retirement at the RAF Museum Cosford.

If you like these lucky mascots, why not support the Museum by adopting these artefacts?
https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/support-us/adopt-an-artefact/default.aspx?PageNumber=2

In this story for #WorldMentalHealthDay Sergeant Paul Twitchell talks about how participating in a rescue helicopter fli...
10/10/2020

In this story for #WorldMentalHealthDay Sergeant Paul Twitchell talks about how participating in a rescue helicopter flight negatively effected his mental well-being, something which eventually lead to him developing PTSD for which he sought help https://www.rafstories.org/story/raf-wp-12830

Michelle Partington worked as a RAF paramedic, during which time she treated trauma patients on the battlefield. This re...
10/10/2020

Michelle Partington worked as a RAF paramedic, during which time she treated trauma patients on the battlefield. This resulted in her suffering from PTSD. She reached out to #SSAFA who put her on the road to recovery. #WorldMentalHealthDay . https://www.rafstories.org/story/raf-wp-8163

Philip Louis Ulric Cross was born on 1 May 1917 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. After high school, he worked on Trinidad’s r...
09/10/2020

Philip Louis Ulric Cross was born on 1 May 1917 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. After high school, he worked on Trinidad’s railways, but his real love was aviation. With the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, and the Fall of France the following June, Ulric Cross saw the situation demanded action:

“The world was drowning in fascism and America was not yet in the war, so I decided to do something about it and volunteered to fight in the RAF.”

Cross arrived in Britain in November 1941 and trained as a navigator. He was commissioned as an officer and then posted to 139 (Jamaica) Squadron at RAF Marham. This unit was so named because it flew bombers paid for by the people of Jamaica.

Pilot Officer Cross excelled as a navigator and was selected to join the élite Pathfinder Force. These crews had the difficult and dangerous task of marking targets accurately for bombing raids. Cross was promoted to Flying Officer and, in June 1944, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). In 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his “fine example of keenness and devotion to duty” and his “exceptional navigational ability.” Cross twice refused to be rested from flying and by the end of the war he had completed 80 missions against targets in occupied Europe and Germany.

Cross left the RAF as a Squadron Leader in 1947 and practised law in Ghana and Tanzania. He later became a High Court Judge in his native Trinidad. In 1990, he was appointed High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago in London.

Ulric Cross passed away at the age of 96 on 4 October 2013.

Discover the stories of other Black RAF Service Personnel at: https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/online-exhibitions/pilots-of-the-caribbean.aspx

Now available at 50% off from our RAF Museum Shop an exclusive collection of Fine Bone China featuring the official 80th...
09/10/2020

Now available at 50% off from our RAF Museum Shop an exclusive collection of Fine Bone China featuring the official 80th anniversary Battle of Britain logo and platinum colour gilding. See more at https://t.co/yVSHQQK8bu #BattleofBritain https://t.co/88KPC1sECv #Sale #Bargain

07/10/2020

RAF Museum calls for personal acts of Remembrance

Lilian Bader (née Bailey) was born in Liverpool on 18 February 1917. Her father was a Barbadian who had served in the Ro...
06/10/2020

Lilian Bader (née Bailey) was born in Liverpool on 18 February 1917. Her father was a Barbadian who had served in the Royal Navy and her mother was Irish. Orphaned at the age of nine, Lilian was brought up in a convent. With the outbreak of war in 1939, she worked briefly in a Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) canteen, but was forced to leave because she was Black.

On 28 March 1941, Lilian Bader volunteered to join the WAAF and chose to train as an Instrument Repairer. During her training, she received the news that her brother Jim, who was serving in the Merchant Navy, had been killed at sea. She nevertheless passed her course ‘First Class’, becoming one of the first women in the air force to qualify in that trade. Posted to RAF Shawbury, Lilian worked long hours checking for faults in the instruments of the aircraft based there. She was good at her job and was promoted to Acting Corporal.

In 1943, Lilian met and married Ramsay Bader, a Black tank driver. She fell pregnant and was discharged from the WAAF in February 1944. After the war, Lilian studied for a degree at London University and became a teacher. Her younger son flew helicopters in the Royal Navy and later became an airline pilot.

Discover more histories of Black RAF Personnel in our online exhibition Pilots of the Caribbean https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/online-exhibitions/pilots-of-the-caribbean.aspx

#BlackHistoryMonth #BHM

Address

Grahame Park Way
London
NW9 5LL

The Royal Air Force Museum, London is a 7 minute walk from Colindale Tube Station. There is a regular bus service from directly in front of the Station, which drops you off right outside of the Museum. To do this, take the 303 heading to Edgware.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 18:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:00
Thursday 10:00 - 18:00
Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 18:00
Sunday 10:00 - 18:00

Telephone

020 8205 2266

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Our Purpose and Vision

Our purpose is to share the story of the Royal Air Force, past, present and future – using the stories of its people and our collections in order to engage, inspire and encourage learning.

The Royal Air Force has shaped our nation and our society. It has influenced how we live our lives today through its impact on world events, society and technology.

The Royal Air Force Museum was established as a legacy of the RAF’s fiftieth anniversary, opening our London (Hendon) site in 1972. From 1979, the Museum also managed the Cosford Aerospace Museum for the MOD, which had also been in operation since 1972. This was renamed the RAF Museum Cosford in 1998 when it formally became part of the Museum portfolio. The Museum also has two external stores, one in Stafford and another within RAF Cosford.

The Royal Air Force Museum is a National Museum, a Government non-departmental public body (NDPB) and a registered charity. Our collection is central to everything we are and do and comprises around 1.3m objects which we hold in trust for the people of the UK. Our RAF Centenary transformation in 2018 enabled the Museum to bring an additional 500 objects from our stores to share with our visitors – most of which had never been displayed before.

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Comments

Hi, we are visiting tomorrow (Monday26th), we believe there is a very special photograph on site taken by my husbands Grandfather whilst he was an official photographer for the RAF, it a a photo of the Three Kings. Are you able to confirm if you have a copy on display and where we might find it please. We would be delighted to show our daughter
Hi, I was going through some of my fathers (departed) photos and found this one. I am trying to find out about it, any information would be great. I have been lead to believe that the HE162 in the foreground is on display at the London museum, its id No. from what I can make out is 120227. Any info would be great about the event, where, when etc. it does look like an air show after WWII or the Lancaster bomber. Thanks
Mi Amigo The mission was to Denmark Not the best weather for flight The target, a German Luftwaffe base On a bitter cold February night The Albourg target couldn't be found Thick fog covering everything around Three Flying Fortresses lost that day The Mi Amigo managed to get away But with engines hit it wasn't clear If they could fly the Bomber home Hoping at least for somewhere near To Chelveston Aerodrome Their route took them over Sheffield Where they knew they had to land Endcliffe Park came into view With nothing else to hand The American crew saw as they flew over the ground Kids in the park, running around They waved in the hope they'd all move clear But they just waved back, as the plane circled near They didn't recognise the danger Above them in the sky They saw the airmen waving But didn't realise why The pilot and the crew so brave Thought only of the lives they could save With children, houses and roads below There was only one place they knew they could go The crippled plane hit the hillside beyond All crew perished, but created a bond With one who was there unknowing, at play Whose life was saved on that fateful day Tony Foulds had seen those waving arms Never thinking they would come to harm He vowed to remember what he saw, wide eyed The bravery of the ten who died At the time this happened, he was aged just eight But he understood the sacrifice was great He was not to let this action fade away And has marked their passing to this very day Visit the park and he can be seen Attending the site, keeping clean The memorial placed in '69 Making sure it's a worthy shrine Dan Walker, with dog on a route unplanned Spotted Tony with a brush in hand Stopping for a chat he learned the story How he didn't do it for any glory How it was a duty from which he'd never wilt Born of respect and a strange kind of guilt Now decades later his greatest hope A flypast, but far beyond his scope It would mean so much nearing 75 years Since the day of the first shedding of tears Dan said "Just leave it with me" Although he didn't have a clue Could he make this work Would he just look a berk There was just so much to do Within really no time at all Of making his first telephone call Offers just came flooding in From everywhere it seemed, all that he'd dreamed Just left his head in a spin Two weeks later Tony was told To look up to the skies As the reality dawned That the flypast was on There were tears in everyone's eyes Endcliffe Park filled that day So many marking in their own special way The memory of those brave men For every one of those selfless ten So many memories made that day Let's not let them fade away Remember we are in their debt Tony remembers Lest We Forget. Bill Clayton ©2020
On the evening of the 25th September 1940, Colindale Station was destroyed during a Luftwaffe attack on RAF Hendon. 14 people were killed, 5 members of London Transport staff, 1 police officer and 8 civilians. In memorial, lest we forget.
Me and my son visited on Monday and we loved it, my son loved it that much that he hasn't shut up all week at nursery telling them all about it, I hope to visit again and I have been recommending people to go :) staff were all so so lovely and helpful 😍
Looking for advice regarding my late father in laws DFC. The family would like to get a copy of his DFC Citation if possible. We do not know who could provide it. Thanks in advance.
When this UFO Sighting becomes known ,and change the way we travel, new Energy, etc. Will you all ask how was this allowed to be put to one side? 16 years ago,our time. Once on here, facebook I wrote thousands of reports asking questions of the Government, each time they refused to answer, even lied to me when they did answer.Told me this and that, more lies. The Government told Facebook to delete all and any to do with the Sighting. Facebook shut down the account. WHY? most can be seen for free from Amazon books called MASSIVE VIMANA UFO tells all. After all this time I realize that this type of new Energy would be sort after with deadly consequences, Space Travel at speeds our instruments can't even detect, at this moment in time. They will not put their hands up to knowing of what my wife and I saw. How could they? A force and technology far more superior than anyone would believe. WW3 waiting to happen? So yes lets keep this Sighting on the funny side, i agree. But for how long? Soon all accross the world the Archives for that Morning at that time all around the World will get investigated by every Country. One of them, hopefully all of them will re-inact the DATA taken. Space travel, New enegy, for all. for the future of our children. What will blectchly park do with this UFO sighting? Nothing, Pass it on? I always wonder this, because they could not detect it they stopped looking. I'm confidant we got caught up in their time which was travelling at speeds uninmaginable. Did they look for data recorded instruments with this in mind? BIG QUESTION Could bletchley park ask this question? Yes it could? Maybe this is all thats needed. Maybe this is it's time. Step back here, just think of the massive change in this world with access to this Energy,Travel. Make no smirks here, what we saw that morning is saturated in Archives you just need to find them. Because this UFO came here to help, and showed itself to me and my wife without harming us. This belongs to mankind, our childrens children. Please look.michael lewendon.
For those who would like to join online and say goodbye to a true RAF hero. Lancaster tail gunner shot down over France and hidden by the French resistance for months until liberated by the Americans.