First World War Archive Viewing

6 - 7 December 2014

Archive viewing event at the RAF Museum

This activity, which will highlight Christmas during the conflict, is part of the museum’s rolling calendar of events to commemorate the First World War and the construction of our ‘First World War in the Air’ exhibition, due to open 4 December.

Our expert Archive Team will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about the First World War or any letters, photographs, memoirs, log-books and manuals on display.

Items that will be on display will include:

  • Pilot’s flying log book and letter of Major James Thomas Byford (Jimmy) McCudden, VC.

Log book records operations on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day 1916.  The letter was written on 24 December 1917 by McCudden to his sister.  It includes Christmas greetings to his family and thanks for his presents before going on to describe operations.  

  • The Prisoner of War journal of 2Lt John Chapman.

This Journal records his experiences as a Prisoner of War during the Christmas 1917, he is working on the             camp theatre and plans a Christmas menu. 2Lt Chapman was repatriated in  January 1919. 

  • The Diary of Captain Paul Copeland Matlby.  

Capt Maltby is serving with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (he subsequently joins the RFC in 1915) in the trenches in 1914 and records the realities of the Christmas Truce in his diary.  Maltby continues his career in the RAF after the First World War and serves in the Second World War, eventually achieving the rank of Air Vice Marshal.  For more information on Maltby please see

  • A Letter sent to 2Lt James Herbert Sayer by his father

In it he expresses regret that 2Lt Sayer is away from home for Christmas 1916. The Letter also includes family news regarding the death of relatives.

  • Letters and drawings of Air Mechanic 3rd Class John Roscoe.  

Air Mechanic 3rd Class Roscoe is stationed in Egypt and spends Christmas 1918 in hospital with dysentery. His letters and accompanying sketches illustrate, frequently in a humorous manner, his experiences as a hospital patient in Suez.

  • The diary and a letter written by 2Lt Leonard Atwood Richardson.  

2Lt Richardson was a Canadian who volunteered to join the Royal Flying Corps and was stationed in the U.K. during Christmas 1917.  His letter and diary express his homesickness but also a feeling of satisfaction that he is doing his duty by participating in the First World War.

These and many other personal artefacts that tell the real stories of real people will be on display.


This activity is free however we do ask that you pre-book a free ticket. To make your booking please click here.


11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm


Museum boardroom on the first floor

More information
If you have any questions please get in touch by emailing or call 0208 358 4997.

The BAE Systems and Heritage Lottery Fund logos
Our First World War in the Air programme of events is sponsored by BAE Systems and the Heritage Lottery Fund


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