Our History

In 1962 the Air Force Board formed a committee, under the chairmanship of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Dermot Boyle, to advise the Board on historical and museum matters. Arising from the committee’s deliberations came a recommendation to establish a Royal Air Force Museum.

A Board of Trustees was formed to look after the Museum’s interests, with Sir Dermot Boyle as its chairman and Dr. John Tanner, from the staff of the RAF College, Cranwell, as Director of the Museum.

Hendon was chosen as the most suitable site for the Museum as it had a long aviation history and on 15 November 1972, Her Majesty the Queen officially opened the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon in London. On its opening; Hendon’s hangars housed some 36 aircraft.

Over the following years, however, some 130 aircraft had been acquired for the Museum. Aircraft not on display were held in what were called reserve collections at a number of RAF stations around the country including RAF Cosford. Other than on Battle of Britain Open Days at various RAF stations, these stored aircraft were seldom available for public display.