'Lest We Forget?'
Join us for a private reception for Lest We Forget?, an exhibition exploring how symbols of commemoration-from the poppy to the two minute silence-have endured for a century, but also sparked controversy from the First World War to twenty-first century society.
Please RSVP by Friday 20 July 2018 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
IWM North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1TZ
'Battle of Britain Air Show 2018'
22-23 September 2018, Duxford
What General Wegand called "the Battle of France" is over. I expect the battle of Britain is about to begin..
..Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’..
On this day in 1940, Winston Churchill stood in the House of Commons and made one of the definitive speeches of the Second World War.
He warned parliament that France had fallen, and that Britain had to be prepared to fight. He spoke of how everyone in Britain should be ready to play their part, whether fighting on land, sea or in the air.
In honour of this, we have chosen three architects of Duxford's Finest Hour - all of whom played an important role in the forthcoming Battle of Britain.
Maria Blewitt was a member of the Women's Auxilliary Air Force (WAAF) at RAF Duxford. Her letters home illustrate what life was like for people involved in the Battle of Britain.
The WAAF played an increasingly significant role on the ground, such as working in the Sector Station Operations Rooms as plotters to track the size and direction of incoming German raids.
Maria was working at RAF Duxford on the day Churchill gave another great speech, concerning a potential full scale invasion of Britain.
The letter she wrote to her mother shows how real the threat of imminent invasion was, as well as her sense of humour.
'I have just been listening to Winston. Brilliant, inspiring but just a tiddly bit frightening. He seems quite sure invasion will come within the next week or so. If not I shall be home for 48 hrs on 17th.’
Battle of Britain Air Show 2018
Relive Duxford's Finest Hour on 22 and 23 September. We are proud to be an official RAF100 partner for the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show. Don't miss your chance to be a part of the last event of the season. Great value Early Bird adult tickets are selling fast!
Brian Lane was Squadron Leader of 19 Squadron, Duxford’s most famous squadron, during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Sacked from his job as a supervisor in a light bulb factory, Brian joined the RAF in 1935. He was an exceptional pilot who was greatly admired by his men for his calmness and quick thinking in the heat of battle.
The first time he experienced air combat was over Dunkirk in May 1940 when he shot down a Junkers 87 Stuka dive bomber and then found himself having to escape from three German Bf 109s with very little ammunition and fuel left.
He managed to out manoeuvre the three German fighters and shoot one down before escaping from the other two.
For this action he was gazetted on 30 July 1940 for the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and was awarded it in January 1941 – he was at the time an acting Flight Lieutenant .
Brian Lane shot down a total of eight German aircraft in his career, but was himself shot down and lost presumed killed over the North Sea in 1942.
Douglas Bader had lost both legs in a flying accident in 1931; after his recovery he was posted to Duxford in 1932 to non-flying duties and was informed that he was to be placed on the retired list in April 1933.
Bader continued to push to be allowed to fly again and with the outbreak of the Second World War he succeeded in returning to flying duties and was posted to 19 Squadron at Duxford, flying Spitfires.
In March 1940 he was posted to 222 Squadron and by June was given command of the mainly Canadian 242 Squadron, flying Hurricanes.
The squadron had suffered heavy losses in France, but Bader soon improved the morale of the unit through his determined leadership.
He was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for his combat leadership. His squadron had achieved considerable success against the Luftwaffe, shooting down 10 enemy aircraft on 30 August alone.
Along with Duxford station commander, Wing Woody Woodhall and Air Vice Marshall Trafford Leigh Mallory, Bader evolved the ‘Big Wing’ tactic, designed to meet incoming German raiders with dozens of fighters simultaneously.
Bader became a prisoner of war in August 1941 and remained in captivity until 1945. He is one of the most famous pilots of the Second World War and a film was later made about his life and career.
- No partner events at this time - please check out our Centre events or Exhibitions