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NEWS: IWM Duxford’s American Air Museum redevelopment wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

The Imperial War Museum is delighted to announce that IWM Duxford has received a grant of £980,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the American Air Museum redevelopment project.

The American Air Museum was built at IWM Duxford in 1996-7 to present for public display the best collection of American military aircraft outside the United States. The American Air Museum tells the story of American air power and the integral relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

The heritage presented in the American Air Museum has a relevance to everybody living in Britain, particularly people in the East of England. Our aim, in the redevelopment of the American Air Museum, is to inspire people to relate the objects in the museum’s collection to their own lives and to the world in which they live.

We’ll be asking people to get actively involved in the project by contributing recollections from their own personal and community heritage so that we can create an impressive bank of memories, knowledge and information for current and future generations.

There are three main aspects to the American Air Museum redevelopment project. The first is a dynamic website based around The Freeman Collection, a compilation of approximately 15,000 prints and slides assembled by Roger Freeman (1928-2005), a hugely respected aviation historian and a native of East Anglia. Many of these images have not, up to now, been publicly available.

The Freeman Collection shows the many and varied experiences of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in Britain during the Second World War. Images depict the different roles undertaken by members of the USAAF and also off-duty leisure time, the aircraft, the combat missions, events and the local communities in which the USAAF served.

Using The Freeman Collection of photographs as its core content, the website will link each photograph to the serving group or unit it represents. It will show the geographical location in which the photograph was taken, the type of aircraft the group operated and may also give the personal story of a man or woman shown in the photograph.

With thousands of images in the collection, we’ll be asking people to help us uncover the stories behind the photographs by logging on and telling us what they know. We hope that the first phase of the website will be live from summer 2014.

Secondly, we’ll be refreshing and re-energising the American Air Museum to ensure that it is impactful for the next generation of visitors. We’ll be helping our audiences to understand the co-operative relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, which was forged in the East of England during the First World War and the Second World War and which has shaped the modern world ever since. Visitors will discover this theme from a personal, regional and national perspective.

Thematically, we’ll be displaying our key objects in new ways and redeveloping our existing displays by layering in new interpretive material which will help visitors see our museum objects in a new light. We’ll be placing a greater emphasis on the individual stories of war and conflict which show events from a range of personal perspectives.

We’ll also be bringing the American Air Museum exhibition up to date with material covering the last two decades of conflict, looking at the personal stories and political context of that period.

Thirdly, we’ll be undertaking detailed conservation work on the aircraft and objects in the American Air Museum to ensure that this important collection is kept in good historical condition for future generations to enjoy.

This large-scale conservation project will involve lowering suspended aircraft from the ceiling, taking out the large plate glass wall from the rear of the American Air Museum and removing all aircraft from the building. This huge undertaking should prove fascinating for visitors, who will be able to see the work in progress.

Diane Lees, Director-General of Imperial War Museums said: “I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has supported the American Air Museum redevelopment. This exciting project will bring to life Anglo-American relations past, present and future, in a way that enthralls and engages. Whoever we are, wherever we live, this is our story and one that we can work together on for the benefit of future generations.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the East of England said: “The American Air Museum has possibly the best collection of US military aircraft outside the USA. This project will give IWM Duxford the opportunity to overhaul the displays and galleries and bring many of the fascinating stories of the First World War, Second World War, and more recent conflicts to life in new and exciting ways which will give many people the opportunity to get involved. We look forward, in particular, to the museum’s interpretation of the Freeman Collection of photographs, many of which have never before been seen by the public.”

NEWS: The First World War Uncovered Special Interest Day at IWM Duxford

The First World War Uncovered Special Interest Day

The inspiration for Biggles; the lesser-known role of the French Army in the trenches and how to read photographs of your military ancestors

Saturday 23 November
Commencing at 10.30am

In the Marshall Auditorium in AirSpace

The First World War Uncovered looks at different aspects of the Great War with three authoritative speakers.

Dr Geoff Hales looks at the career of Captain W E Johns, a bomber pilot in the Royal Flying Corps who was most famous for his fictional aviation character, Major James Bigglesworth, known to many childhood fans as Biggles.

Johns’ career was equally exciting as that of Biggles. He was an infantryman at Gallipoli and Salonika and then joined the Royal Flying Corps. He survived crashes in training and in combat before being shot down, captured and threatened with a firing squad.

Dr Hales’ talk weaves together the careers of W E Johns and his fictional hero, taking them beyond their days in the Royal Flying Corps and into their future endeavours.

Jonathan Krause is a Lecturer in Strategic Studies at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell. An expert on the French Army in the First World War, his book Early Trench Tactics in the French Army is the first in the English language to look at how the French Army developed its own system of trench warfare.

In 1914, the French Army had over 60 divisions fighting on the Western Front, totaling over two million men in uniform. By comparison, the British Expeditionary Force had a mere six divisions, four infantry and two cavalry. Even by 1918, the French still maintained nine armies on the Western Front, compared to five British, two American and one Belgian.

Such a heavy and sustained deployment of men led to approximately 1.3 million Frenchmen dying in the Great War; an average of some 890 per day. The French effort was enormous and yet, argues Krause, it remains grossly underrepresented in the history books.

Jonathan Krause will discuss the efforts of the French Army from 1914 to 1916 and how the French trench warfare techniques differed in comparison to those of the British and German armies.

Neil Storey will be looking at how to interpret photographs of family members in uniform. He will give advice on how to identify the roles of family members in the First World War using the clues to be found in their photographs. He will also explain how to further develop your family military research.

Neil Storey has been a specialist collector of medals and militaria for almost thirty years. His knowledge is nationally respected and he has appeared on numerous BBC radio and television programmes.

Neil writes regular features for Family Tree Magazine. He wrote the acclaimed book Military Photographs and How to Date Them and is a regular expert at the prestigious Who Do You Think You Are? Live! family history event at Olympia.

Places on the First World War Uncovered Special Interest Day must be booked in advance. Ticket prices include entry to the museum.

Ticket Prices:

Adults £21.50
Child £9.90
Senior £16.40
Student £13.20
UB40 £13.20
Disabled £13.20
Carer £9.90

For more information, please visit

NEWS: Remembrance Sunday at IWM Duxford

Sunday 10 November 2013

Free admission for all

We hope to welcome visitors from far and wide on Remembrance Sunday. We offer free admission to all on this very special day when we remember Zembers of the Armed Forces who lost their lives in active service.

At 11am, a two-minute silence will be observed across the museum, starting and finishing with a museum-wide whistle blast, in remembrance of the symbolic signal to go ‘over the top’ in the trenches of the First World War and the millions of men who died in this field of combat.

At 12.30pm, we will be holding a traditional service of Remembrance in the Conservation Hall in AirSpace, with standard bearers from the Royal British Legion and local ATC cadets. IWM Duxford’s partner organisations will lay wreaths in honour of the fallen.

We’ll be giving families the opportunity to learn about remembrance together with hands-on activities throughout the museum.

In AirSpace between 10.30am and 2.30pm, we’ll be making poppies and either wearing them with pride or attaching them to a large frieze depicting a First World War Flanders Field. In Land Warfare between 10.30am and 2.30pm, we’ll be making poppies and attaching them to a frieze that represents contemporary warfare. In both AirSpace and Land Warfare, visitors will have the opportunity to write their own personal messages of remembrance and attach them to our pictorial friezes.

Between 11.30am and 3.30pm in Land Warfare, members of the 3rd East Anglian Regiment Malaya Veterans will be chatting to visitors about their personal experiences of military service. Burma Star veterans will be chatting to visitors in the Forgotten War exhibition in Land Warfare.

The Royal Anglian Regiment Museum will also be hosting camouflage face-painting activities for children, who will also have the opportunity to wear mini-versions of the new multi-terrain combat gear worn by serving personnel.

IWM Duxford’s replica memorial church is dedicated to all those who lost their lives while serving at RAF Duxford. It is open to visitors, for historical interest or quiet contemplation, throughout Remembrance Sunday.

There will also be a trail around the museum, exploring the range of memorials which honour individual people, sections of the Armed Forces and historic military campaigns. It shows the many different ways that the effects of war and conflict are commemorated for future generations.

We hope you can join us at IWM Duxford to remember those who gave their lives in conflicts past and present.

NEWS: The Eagle Squadron commemorative flypast

On Monday 27 May, the Eagle Squadron will carry out a commemorative formation flypast of American Second World War airfields to honour the American airmen who died whilst fighting for their country from British soil.

The Eagle Squadron’s historic Hawker Hurricane X, Supermarine Spitfire Mk I, Republic P-47G Thunderbolt and North American P-51C Mustang Princess Elizabeth will fly alongside B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B in a poignant commemoration of the legendary fighter and bomber aircraft flown by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in England.

Leading the Eagle Squadron and B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B will be two-seater P-51 Mustang Miss Velma, which will be carrying a very special passenger, United States Army Air Forces veteran Clarence ‘Bud’ Anderson. The Eagle Squadron formation takes off from IWM Duxford at approximately 11.48am.

This year, IWM Duxford commemorates the 70th anniversary of the United States Army Air Forces arriving at RAF Duxford. From its arrival at RAF Duxford in April 1943, the 78th Fighter Group flew P-47 Thunderbolts on bomber escort duty, switching to P-51 Mustangs in December 1944.

From IWM Duxford, the Eagle Squadron formation’s first destination is Bassingbourn Barracks, which was home to the USAAF 91st Bomb Group from August 1942 to June 1945. The 91st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses, the most famous of which was the Memphis Belle.

On leaving Bassingbourn, the Eagle Squadron will fly over Cambridge American Cemetery at Madingley, where a memorial ceremony is being held.

The formation then continues to RAF Mildenhall, home to the modern-day United States Air Force in Europe, and from there to Bodney airfield, which was home to the 352nd Fighter Group from May 1943 until V E Day.

From Bodney, the aircraft continue to RAF Snetterton Heath, which was used by the 8th Air Force 96th Bombardment Group from June 1943 until its deactivation in December 1945.

Then onwards to RAF Knettishall, which was built for the 8th Air Force during 1942-1943 with a specification to accommodate heavy bombers. It was home to the 388th Bombardment Group from June 1943 until V E Day.

The next destination is RAF Horham, which was handed over to the 13th Combat Bombardment Wing of the 3rd Bomb Division in 1942. Horham was mostly home to the 95th Bombardment Group (Heavy) which flew B-17 Flying Fortresses in bombing campaigns until V E Day.

From Horham, the Eagle Squadron over flies RAF Thorpe Abbots, which was originally built as a satellite station to RAF Horham.

The 100th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force arrived at Thorpe Abbots in June 1943. The Group earned the nickname The Bloody Hundredth due to heavy losses incurred during eight missions to Germany. A dozen or more aircraft were lost on a single mission.

The 100th Bombardment Group flew its last mission on 10 April 1945; its 306th combat mission.

The commemorative flight then continues to RAF Halesworth, which was home to the 56th Fighter Group, flying P-47 Thunderbolts, and then to the 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy), flying B-24 Liberators.

From Halesworth, the Eagle Squadron makes its way to RAF Leiston. This will be an emotive experience for veteran Bud Anderson, as he flew his P-51 Mustang Old Crow with the 357th Fighter Group from this airfield. At this point, P-51 Mustang Miss Velma, carrying Bud Anderson, peels away from the formation for a reminiscent return to RAF Leiston.

Following on from Leiston, the Eagle Squadron continues to North Weald airfield, which was home to two American Eagle Squadrons in 1940, flying Supermarine Spitfires.

The Eagle Squadron’s final destination before returning to IWM Duxford is RAF Debden. This airfield was home to RAF Eagle Squadrons which were later formed into the 4th Fighter Group when the USAAF took over the airfield.

On returning to IWM Duxford, the Eagle Squadron will perform a missing man formation and a display before landing.

NEWS: Newark Air Museum 40th Anniversary Gala – Sunday 14th April

To celebrate 40 years of being open to the public the Newark Air Museum is hosting a Gala Day on Sunday 14th April 2013. This will take place at its site in eastern Nottinghamshire, close to the county border with Lincolnshire and throughout the day visitors will be able to visit at the special discounted admission rate of £4.00 per person.

One of the major aspects of the Gala event will see members of the Cockpit Opening Team opening aircraft cockpits that are not normally open to the public. This could include: the Vampire, Venom, NF14, Jetstream, Viggen and Draken. Some cockpits will be free to look in, and for those where visitors will be allowed to sit in a small additional fee of 40p per visit will be charged.

To support the Gala celebrations the museum is also running a free to enter photographic competition called ‘Favourites from 40!’

The competition is open to the general public and to museum members and aims to collect photographs from the past 40 years of the museum’s history.

Each person can submit a maximum of 4 photographs about any aspect of the museum or feature museum exhibits / people, taken during the last 40 years (1973 to 2013); ideally one to be entered into each of the following categories.

  • Friendly
  • Factual
  • Fantastic
  • Funny

Entries can be submitted in printed format (7”x5” prints please) or JPG digital files.

All of the entries will be displayed at the 40th Anniversary Gala event on Sunday 14th April 2013; and they will also be considered for inclusion in the RAF Winthorpe / Museum history project that is currently being compiled by the museum.

As an added incentive a series of prizes will also be awarded.

The four best Visitor Competition Entries will each be awarded a Family Admission Pass that will be valid for one year and will allow free admission to the museum and all of its events.

The four best Museum Member Competition Entries will each be awarded free museum membership for one year.

Application forms can be obtained from the Museum Shop or via email to

Further updates about this event, including a full list of accessible cockpits will be posted on the news & information page of the museum website at

Remembrance Sunday at IWM Duxford

Sunday 11 November 2012Free admission to all

Remembrance Sunday holds a special significance in the IWM Duxford events calendar.

On this day, we offer free admission to all and we very much hope that people will take the opportunity to visit IWM Duxford on the day when we remember members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives in active service.

At 11am, a two-minute silence will be observed across the museum, starting and finishing with a traditional gun salute by The Garrison.

Remembrance Sunday at IWM Duxford

Remembrance Sunday at IWM Duxford

This will be followed at 12.30pm by a remembrance service in the Conservation Hall in AirSpace, where there will be standard bearers from the Royal British Legion and local air cadets.

There will also be the opportunity to post your own personal message of remembrance onto our Wall of Remembrance, which will be in the Conservation Hall throughout the day.

We’ll be encouraging families to learn about remembrance together with activities throughout the museum. In particular, we’ll be looking at the poppy, the striking symbol of remembrance that resonates back to the First World War.

In AirSpace between 10am and 2.30pm we’ll be making poppies and either wearing them with pride or attaching them to a large Flanders Field frieze. In Land Warfare between 10am and 2.30pm, assembled poppies can be attached to a mural depicting modern warfare. You can also add your personalised message poppy to the friezes in AirSpace and Land Warfare.

Remembrance Sunday at IWM Duxford

Remembrance Sunday at IWM Duxford

The Remembrance Poppy was originally designed so that it could be assembled with just one hand. The provision of work for disabled ex-Servicemen was as important to the Poppy Appeal as raising funds. The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Factory started in 1922 with five disabled ex-servicemen. It now employs 50 disabled ex-servicemen in the manufacture of poppies, wreaths and remembrance crosses.

In both AirSpace and Land Warfare, we’ll be deconstructing poppies and trying to reconstruct them using only one hand.

In Land Warfare between 11.30am and 3.30pm, Royal Anglian Regiment veterans will be chatting to visitors about their experiences of war and conflict.

Remembrance Sunday at IWM Duxford

Remembrance Sunday at IWM Duxford

In the Battle of Britain exhibition we’ll be presenting a display about the work of the Royal British Legion. From here, we’ll also be handing out trails that you can follow to explore the range of memorials at the museum.

We hope you can join us at IWM Duxford to remember those who gave their lives in conflicts past and present and to actively commemorate those serving men and women who are no longer with us.

AIRSHOW NEWS: Celebrating the iconic Spitfire with a day of nostalgia at IWM Duxford

We’re thrilled to be presenting a brand new event, Spitfires, Merlins & Motors, on Sunday 5 August. We’ll be celebrating the legendary Supermarine Spitfire, the unmistakable Merlin engine and the close relationship between this classic flying machine and the four-wheeled speed demons of the golden age of motoring and beyond.

Between 10am and 1.30pm, see a number of historic Spitfires up close on static display, including the rare Spitfire Mark 1a from Aircraft Restoration Company, the Mark V from Historic Aircraft Collection, Mark IX fromthe Old Flying Machine Company, Mark XIX from the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust and Mark IXT from Air Leasing.

At various points throughout the afternoon, these Spitfires will be taking to the skies to perform short displays. Also flying will be the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire.

Aircraft Restoration Company is offering a rare opportunity to sit in a Spitfire. This costs £15 per person and includes a souvenir T-shirt and photo opportunity. All proceeds go to the Blenheim Restoration Fund.

There will also be the chance to see a Merlin engine erupt into life as it will be on dynamic display throughout the day.

Living history groups will be bringing RAF Duxford’s wartime relationship with the Spitfire to life with evocative displays.

The Military Equipment Collectors will be recreating the role of the RAF ground crew who kept Spitfires constantly at scramble readiness throughout the Battle of Britain and beyond. They will be displaying an RAF Mobile Mechanic Unit with early Second World War field equipment.

Past to Present Historical will be representing the 1940s Home Front with a dashing RAF pilot costumed character, a jolly tent where you can try your hand at wartime games and a very worthy Women’s Voluntary Service representative who is collecting saucepans for Spitfires.

OFMC Spitfire IX

OFMC Spitfire IX

There will be a display of glorious vintage Rolls-Royce cars alongside hundreds of stunning vehicles, from pre-war vintage to contemporary classics. The Veteran Cycle Club will be displaying a range of traditional bicycles and chatting about the history of cycling.

Discover Vintage presents a fabulous vintage fair in the Conservation Hall in AirSpace. Exhibitors will be selling vintage fashion, homeware and curios fromthe 1930s to the 1950s. Enhancing the nostalgic atmosphere will be a gramophone DJ and singing group.

Between 10am and 2pm, in the Visitor Centre, author Andy Saunders will be signing copies of the extraordinary new book Spitfire Mark I P9374 – The remarkable story of how a unique aircraft returned to flight. Also present will be Martin Overall, Historic Flying Limited’s Chief Engineer, who oversaw the restoration of this incredible aircraft, and who contributed significantly to the book.

There will also be traders selling a range of wares. Vector Fine Art will be hosting a signing session with a number of Battle of Britain veterans. There are lots of fun things for all the family to do together. At the Airfix Make and Paint Zone between
11amand 3pm, visitors can make their own model aircraft, paint it in a range of colours and take it home as a souvenir of a fabulous day at themuseum. There are also fun craft activities to try your hand at.

In the American Air Museum between noon and 4pm, we’ll be seeing if you have what it takes to become a SecondWorld War special agent and putting you through your paces to undertake secret operations in enemy territory. See the imaginative gadgets used by the Special Operations Executive, send covert messages in Morse code and undertake a cloak-and-daggermission which will prove your expertise in espionage.

Join us for a fun and nostalgic day as we celebrate a golden age of style, elegance and daring do!

AIRSHOW NEWS: Shuttleworth Spring Airshow Cancelled

Due to a waterlogged airfield, the Shuttleworth Collection have regrettably had to cancel thier Spring Airshow scheduled for this Sunday (6th May)

If anyone has bought tickets online for this show, they are advised to contact the Shuttleworth Collection on +44 (0) 01767 627927 for further information.

The Shuttleworth Collection WILL BE OPEN if anyone wishes to visit.

Celebrating the Tiger Moth’s 80th Birthday at the Autumn Air Show

The IWM Duxford Autumn Air Show (Sunday 16 October) celebrates the 80th anniversary of the first flightof the iconic Tiger Moth with a superb display by the Tiger Nine Team, which will see nine Tiger Moths inclose formation in the skies above Duxford.

The Tiger Nine formation team was created in the summer of 2005 in response to a request for a flypastof nine Tiger Moths at the 25th de Havilland Moth Club Rally at Woburn Abbey.

Having risen to the challenge, the newly-formed teamwent on to performits full display routine for thenext season.A challenging aircraft to fly in a formation display, the Tiger Moth requires a mature discipline and expert flying skill, particularly when operating a large group of Tiger Moths simultaneously.

There is something quintessentially British about a group ofmen froma diverse range of backgrounds,including airline pilots, ex-RAF pilots, a farmer, a sales executive, a company director, an anaesthetist andan RAF Wing Commander, coming together for the camaraderie and fun of flying such a special aircraft.

The Tiger Nine team is the only team in the world to have nine Tiger Moths in close formation. Its crowdpleasing,spectacularly entertaining display will be a significant highlight of the Autumn Air Show 2011.

The de Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, was first flown on 26 October1931 by de Havilland Chief Test Pilot Hubert Broad.The RAF ordered 35 dual-control Tiger Moth Is which had the company designation DH-82. Asubsequent order was placed for 50 aircraft powered by the de Havilland Gipsy Major I engine which wasthe DH-82A or, to the RAF, Tiger Moth II.The Tiger Moth entered service at the RAF Central Flying School in February 1932.

From the outset, it proved to be an ideal trainer, simple and cheap to own and maintain. The Tiger Moth required a sure andsteady hand to fly it well, enabling instructors to easily weed out inept student pilots. Whilst generally docile and forgiving in the normal flight phases encountered during initial training, when used foraerobatic and formation training, the Tiger Moth required definite skill and concentration to performwell.A botched manoeuvre could easily cause the aircraft to stall or spin.

Percival Leggett trained on Tiger Moths during the Second World War in Cambridgeshire:“The Tiger Moth is easy to fly. No vicious tendencies at all. It’s very responsive to the controls.Most people, I think, found landing rather tricky, because…it is quite a small aeroplane, with a very smallundercarriage. It is very close to the ground. And coming in to land one finds it difficult to decide just atwhat point you should draw back the stick to land the aircraft. Most people tend to start easing off toohigh, with the result that either the aircraft stalls or theymiss the airfield altogether.But that apart it’s a good aeroplane – very reliable. We did have one engine failure fromone of the pupils but hemanaged to force land it in a field. It’s a good aeroplane, and still flying today!”

By the start of the SecondWorld War, the RAF had 500 Tiger Moths in service. During a British productionrun of over 7000 Tiger Moths, a total of 4005 Tiger Moth IIs were built during the war specifically for theRAF.The Tiger Moth became the foremost primary trainer throughout the Commonwealth and elsewhere andremained in service with the RAF until it was replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk in 1952.

Post-war, large numbers of surplus Tiger Moths weremade available for sale to flying clubs and privateindividuals. Inexpensive to operate, the aircraft took on new civilian roles including aerial advertising, airambulance, aerobatic performer, crop duster and glider tug.

Duxford Statement: Flying Legends accident between P-51D Mustang “Big Beautiful Doll” and AD-4NA Skyraider

Imperial War Museum Duxford can confirm that the flying incident at yesterday’s air show was a mid-air collision between North American P-51D Mustang (D-FBBD) and Douglas AD-4NA Skyraider (F-AZDP).

The incident took place over agricultural land to the south west of the airfield just after 5.00pm, at the end of the flying display.

The Skyraider suffered damage to its starboard wing, though was able to land safely.  The pilot was unharmed.

The pilot of the Mustang baled out of the damaged aircraft and parachuted to safety, suffering minor injuries.  The aircraft came down in a field away from buildings or property.

There was an immediate response by the onsite emergency services in accordance with Imperial War Museum Duxford’s event safety plan, co-ordinated by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, who were already present at the air show as is normal practice.

Members of the public were not involved in the incident.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has today begun its formal enquiry into the incident and the Imperial War Museum is complying fully with the requirements of the AAIB’s investigation team.

Imperial War Museum Duxford is aware that the AAIB’s investigation can take some time and there will therefore be an immediate internal review to determine if any changes to flying procedures are required.




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