Operation Percy: Celebrating 80 Years

Published on: 24 January 2024

If your new year’s resolution is to get active, why not join forces with the RAF Museum for Operation Percy, a brand-new fundraising challenge!

Those taking part in Operation Percy will be challenged to complete 80KM or 80 laps in honour of Percy the Parachuting Penguin, the lucky mascot of Flight Lieutenant Stan Chapman of 158 Squadron Royal Air Force. The challenge will commence on 29 January, exactly 80 years since Stan and Percy’s daring parachute escape from a damaged Halifax Bomber.

Once signed up, participants will each receive a welcome pack and exclusive RAF Museum running T-shirt allowing you to complete the challenge in style. Pledge to fundraise £80 for the RAF Museum, and once you’ve hit your fundraising target you will be rewarded with a limited-edition Operation Percy commemorative coin. Challengers will have until the leap year on 29 February to complete the distance.

Percy is one of several lucky mascots on display at the RAF Museum, each with a remarkable tale to tell. Percy’s story began over Berlin on 29 January 1944, when the Halifax HX333 ‘J Jane’ he was on board was hit by flak and badly damaged. Flt Lt Stan Chapman quickly tucked his lucky mascot, Percy the Penguin, inside his flying jacket and parachuted out. They landed safely and were soon captured by German soldiers and spent the rest of the War as prisoners in Germany. Stan believed Percy was lucky because he and all his crew mates survived being shot down that night. The element of risk involved with flying, especially in wartime, is why over the years aviators try to ward off bad luck by having lucky charms or mascots.

RAF Museum Individual Giving Manager, Sophie Wallace said:

‘Support and fundraising from challengers will help the RAF Museum keep stories like Stan and Percy’s alive and shared for many years to come. Challenges like this are a great way for us to share some of the more unknown stories of the RAF, while raising vital funds. Registrations for Operation Percy are now open, and participants can take part in this virtual challenge anywhere in the world, and run, walk, cycle, or swim their way to victory. Those who want to see the real Percy and find out more about his story can visit the RAF Museum Midlands where he’s on public display.’

Let’s make Percy proud! For more information and to register for Operation Percy CLICK HERE. Entry costs £20 per person and all proceeds go towards supporting the RAF Museum’s mission to preserve the stories of the RAF and the brave men and women who served. Members of the Armed Forces Community (Cadets, serving personnel, veterans, and reservists) can register for the discounted rate of £15.00.

If you’re posting updates on your social media, don’t forget to tag @rafmuseum or #OperationPercy.

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