Film & Sound
The RAF Museum's Film Collection has its origins in the 1970s and represents all aspects of Royal Air Force life, both past and present. It aims to encompass film illustrating the products and achievements of the British aviation industry.
The Collection consists of some seven million feet of film dating from the pioneering days of aviation to the present day. The earliest reel dates from 1910 while the most recent was shot during the late 2000s.
The content is varied and includes amateur material, industrial film unit productions both trials and promotional, training films plus documentary and recruitment reels. The Collection's holdings focus primarily on the Second World War and Cold War periods.
The industrial film unit productions originate from four major British aircraft manufacturers, namely Vickers, de Havilland, Bristol and Miles. These include trials of the "Upkeep" and "Highball" spinning mines devised by Barnes Wallis, production and flight testing of the de Havilland Comet jet airliner, plus development of experimental types produced by the Miles Aircraft Company.
Promotional reels exist on several post war airliners including the Vickers Viking, Vickers Vanguard, de Havilland Dove, de Havilland Heron and Bristol Britannia.
The amateur reels were shot mainly by serving RAF officers, both at home and abroad and feature such topics as pre-war Hendon Air Pageants, RAF flying boat operations plus material shot in Iraq and India during the early 1930s.
Documentary films include several titles from the popular "Look at Life" series of the 1950s including coverage of the famous "Black Arrows" aerobatic team of 111 Squadron.
RAF Recruitment and Public Relations
A large collection of RAF recruiting and public relations films is also held.
A large number of training films are retained by the Archive and feature a variety of subjects including aircraft recognition, flight safety, technical instruction and aircrew survival training.