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Museum Joins Forces with Germany and France to Share First World War Stories

Published on: 07 August 2014

The Royal Air Force Museum has partnered with Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace (Paris) and the Militärhistorische Museum der Bundeswehr (Berlin) to mark the centenary of the First World War in the air.

www.3p1w.eu will publish the letters, diary entries and artefacts relating to three First World War pilots over the course of the centenary. Letters written by Bernard Rice, Jean Chaput and Peter Falkenstein have been fully transcribed and translated and will be published 100 years after they were originally written. 

Three Pilots - One War

This online project is linked to a series of centenary exhibitions at the three museums that deal with the often overlooked aerial aspect of the First World War. Many of the items featured online will be displayed as exhibits in the respective museums:

The Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace will be running a temporary exhibition “La Grande Guerre des Aviateurs” (“The Great War of Airmen”) from 5 October 2014 to 25 January 2015 (more information).

The Militärhistorische Museum der Bundeswehr will present “14 Menschen – Krieg” (“14 – People – War”) in Dresden and an exhibition “Falkenstein zieht in den Krieg“ (“Falkenstein Goes To War”) in Berlin-Gatow (more information).

Adam Shepherd, Head of Collections Management at the Museum said:

“This marks a unique partnership between three European museums as we reflect on the First World War and remember the people who served in the world’s first air forces.

Through their own letters and diaries, we wanted to tell the stories of three ‘ordinary’ airmen who lived through these extraordinary moments in time. We also wanted to tell a more diverse story. The popular image of the air war is that of daring fighter ‘aces’ and ‘Knights of the Air’. We wanted to tell some less well known stories, such as aerial reconnaissance and artillery observation, which became key roles for aircraft in a war dominated by trenches and big guns, and bombing, which literally brought war close to home.

I would especially like to thank my French and German colleagues, Georgia Santangelo, Jan Behrendt and their teams for all their work on this pioneering new venture, through which we can more widely share the stories of Bernard, Jean and Peter.”

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