RAF Museum, London
Thursday, 27th April 2023
The Royal Air Force Museum London is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome in the north London Borough of Barnet. It includes six hangars containing over 100 aircraft covering the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force.
Tony looking up at a World War I RAF De Havalin Biplane. The plane is suspended from the ceiling of Hanger 1 at the RAF Museum in London. It had a crew of two and first came into service in 1918. This particular plane was captured by the Germans in October 1918 after being forced down during a bombing raid over Germany. It then ended up in a museum in Germany, before being captured by Soviet forces during World War Two. In the 1960s it turned up at an air museum in Krakow, Poland. The RAF Museum was then able to get it back by exchanging it for a Spitfire. An interesting journey!
This green cylinder resting on its side is the outer casing of a Red Snow nuclear warhead. This long-range nuclear weapon was developed from 1958 and was in service from 1961 until 1972.
A Royal Air Force Sea King rescue helicopter at the RAF Museum in London. These helicopters were primarily designed for performing anti-submarine warfare missions, but were also used for other roles, including troop transport and search and rescue. They were produced from 1969 to 1995 and the last one was retired from service in 2018. The one in the photo is painted yellow, which is the colours of the RAF Search and Rescue Force. It was flown by Prince William, then second in line to the British throne, during his last posting at RAF Valley on Anglesey in Wales in 2013.
Tony stood near to a Sunderland Sea Plane inside Hanger 1 at the RAF Museum. Close up it appears as a big white wall. These British flying boats entered service in June 1938. By the start of World War Two in September 1939 three squadrons had been equipped with the Sunderland with 749 built in total. It was the last flying-boat operated by the RAF and remained in service until 1959.
Tony sat in the cockpit of an RAF Spitfire Mark XVI dating from World War Two at the RAF Museum, London. The Spitfire Experience lasts costs £25 for an adult. The Spitfire Experience is located in Hanger 3 and the cockpit is accessed by climbing up a few steps. The cockpit is narrow and small, with simple controls, which can be touched and moved. An expert is on hand to answer questions.
Another shot of Tony sat in the single-seat Spitfire cockpit. The Spitfire is the most famous British fighter aircraft as well as a symbol of freedom due to its important role in defeating the German air attacks during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
A Bristol Bulldog, a fighter plane, used between the two world wars, at the RAF Museum in London. It is a biplane meaning it has two pairs of wings stacked one above the other. It was in a Bristol Bulldog that famous pilot, Douglas Bader, crashed and lost both legs in the 1930s. The plane in the photo was used in the 1955 film Reach For The Sky about Bader’s life.
Tony stood in front of a Spitfire, located in Hanger 4 at the RAF Museum in London.
Tony in front of a Hurricane single-seat fighter plane. This Hawker Hurricane Mark 1 is located in Hanger 4. In partnership with the Spitfire, the Hurricane played a vital role in the Battle of Britain in 1940. During the Battle of Britain the Hurricane destroyed more enemy aircraft than all the other air and ground defences combined. The Hurricane entered service in 1937 and was then the fastest fighter plane in service with a maximum speed of 100 mph (160 kph). This Hurricane was built in 1939. It flew in the Battle of France with 607 squadron.
Tony stood next to a Messerschmitt BF109 at the RAF Museum in London. It is part of the Battle of Britain display. The Messerschmitt BF109 is a German single-seat fighter plane. It was first used during the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and was one of the most advanced fighters at that time. During World War II it was one of the key aircraft in the Luftwaffe’s fighter force and was used throughout the war. It is the most produced fighter aircraft in history with a total of 34,248 airframes produced from 1936 to April 1945.
Tony beside a 12,000lb Blockbuster bomb, at the RAF Museum, London. It is located near the Lancaster Bomber. These bombs were used by the RAF during World War II. The name was originally coined by the press, due to the bomb’s explosive power, which could destroy an entire street or a large building.
Tony stood underneath the front of an Avro Lancaster Bomber MK I in Hanger 5 at the RAF Museum, London. This example is a rare survivor from the Second World War. It entered RAF service in 1942 and flew a total of 137 sorties despite being only expected to survive for 21. Only two aircrew were ever injured in this aircraft, so it was considered very lucky. Royal Engineers Museum, near Gillingham, Kent
Friday, 28th April 2023
The Royal Engineers Museum is one of the most important military collections in the UK. It has been developed by the Corps of Royal Engineers over the last two hundred years. It tells the story of the Royal Engineers in particular and British military engineering in general. It opened at its current location in the Ravelin Building in 1987.
View underneath the front of a Centurion AVLB Bridgelayer tank. This tank was produced in the UK from 1960 to 1963 based on the Centurion Mark 5 chassis. It is able to lay an aluminium alloy bridge with a span of 13.72 metres in under two minutes.
Tony stood by the Centurion AVLB Bridgelayer tank at the Royal Engineers Museum. The mechanical arm used to raise and then lay the bridge can be seen.
A tank turret at the Royal Engineers Museum. Tony is holding part of the tank barrel.
The front end of a Churchill Armoured Vehicle. This was based on the standard British Churchill Infantry Tank and was used by the Royal Engineers to assist with engineering operations in the battlefield. The one in the photo is carrying a box girder bridge which could be laid to span gaps. It was produced from 1944. It was used successfully during the D-Day landings and the subsequent allied advance on Nazi Germany.
Tony stood in front of a Combat Engineer Tractor at the Royal Engineers Museum. The FV180 Combat Engineer Tractor or C.E.T. is a specialist amphibious vehicle used by the British Army since 1976. It is lightly armoured and is used for engineering tasks such as ground preparation for bridge construction, digging vehicle fighting pits and constructing earthen barriers. It has a mechanical earth moving bucket attached, which can be seen in the photo.
Tony with his arm around a cannon with decorative scrolling on the barrel. It is from Burma and was captured in 1885 in Mandalay.
Tony stood by a Howitzer inside the Royal Engineers Museum. Apparently, this is an Argentine 105mm Pack Howitzer, captured by Royal Engineers during the Falklands War in 1982. A Howitzer is an artillery weapon that fires shells high into the air so they then fall on to their target.
Tony by the front end of a Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 at the Royal Engineers Museum. This British military aircraft was developed in the 1960s. It was the first operational ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft with vertical/short take-off and landing capabilities.
Tony stood at the back end of a V2 rocket. This German rocket was the first long range ballistic missile to be actively used in combat. It could propel a one-ton warhead up to 200 miles (320 km) at three times the speed of sound. It came into service in 1944 and was used to terrifying effect with over 500 of them hitting London and over 2,500 fired on Allied countries. The V2 rocket shown here is believed to have been captured in the Netherlands at the end of the Second World War and brought back to the UK by the Royal Engineers.
Tony by a section of the Berlin Wall at the Royal Engineers Museum. This was brought back to the UK by British Engineers after the wall fell in 1989.
Tony wearing a Royal Engineer’s helmet inside the Royal Engineers Museum.
Tony stood by a cannon barrel recovered by Royal Engineer divers from Tudor war ship, the Mary Rose, in the 1980s. This extremely long cannon barrel is stood vertically. The cannon is on loan from the Artillery Museum.