- Fine art
- Medals & uniforms
- Film & sound
- Other aircraft & exhibits
- Library collection
- Archive collection
- RAF Historical Society Journals
- Acquisitions and Disposals
- The Royal Air Force Museum At Home
- Battle of Britain Groundcrew 7 to 13 September
- Battle of Britain Aircrew 31 Aug to 6 Sep
- Our Lockdown Highlights
- Conservation Week 15 to 21 June
- Spitfire Week 8 to 12 June
- Spitfire Creations Weekend
- D-Day76 1 to 5 June
- Lucky Mascots Weekend
- Dunkirk Week 25 to 29 May
- Competition Weekend Part 2
- Hidden Heroes 18 to 22 May
- Competition Weekend Part 1
- Bomber Week 11 to 15 May
- Create Your Own Museum Weekend
- Countdown to VE Day 75
- Jet Week 27 April to 1 May
- Jet Weekend
- Early Aviators Week 20 – 24 April
- Early Aviators Weekend
- Research enquiries
- Visit our reading room
- Online exhibitions
- Never Forgotten: The RAF in the Far East
- Pilots of the Caribbean
- Czechoslovak Squadrons in RAF
- Pre-War Czechoslovakia
- Pre-War Czechoslovakia (Czech)
- Escape to Poland
- Escape to Poland (Czech)
- Departure Abroad – via the USSR and France
- Departure Abroad – via the USSR and France (Czech)
- Leaving for exile – the so-called southern route and the Middle East
- Leaving for exile – the so-called southern route and the Middle East (Czech)
- 68 Night Fighter Squadron
- 68 Night Fighter Squadron (Czech)
- 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron
- 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron (Czech)
- 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron
- 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron (Czech)
- Czechoslovak Women in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF)
- Czechoslovak Women in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) (Czech)
- Lidice tragedy
- Lidice tragedy (Czech)
- Osudy- Life stories
- Osudy- Life stories (Czech)
- Osudy- Life stories 2
- Osudy- Life stories 2 (Czech)
- Osudy – Life stories 3
- Osudy- Life stories 3 (Czech)
- Return to a Liberated Country
- Return to a Liberated Country (Czech)
- Victims of the communist regime
- Victims of the communist regime (Czech)
- Rehabilitation and Commemoration of Former RAF Airmen
- Rehabilitation and Commemoration of Former RAF Airmen( Czech)
- Living History Group
- Living History Group (Czech)
- Air Transport Auxiliary
- Civil flyers
- On the verge of war
- Sir Gerard d’Erlanger
- A lack of work
- Birth of the ATA
- Stewart Keith-Jopp
- First female pilot
- Pauline Gower
- The first eight women
- ATA expansion
- Legion of the air
- Annette Mahon
- The Battle of France
- The Battle of Britain
- Women fly fighter aircraft
- Anything to anywhere
- The taxi service
- John Gulson
- Alison King
- The support network
- Women fly bombers
- Joan Hughes
- Return to France
- The reach of the ATA
- The death of a service
- A final act of progress
- ATA closure
- Sir Alan Cobham ; A Life of a Pioneering Aviator
- An Enduring Relationship : A History of Friendship between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman
- 617 Squadron and the Dams Raid
- Model Dams Projects
- Barnes Wallis’ Papers
- Wing Commander Winterbotham’s Letter
- Group Captain Conrad Verity’s Memoirs
- Lancaster Modifications
- Bouncing Bomb Diagram
- Bouncing Bomb Tests
- Barnes Wallis’ Pass
- Designing the UPKEEP Mine
- Guy Gibson’s Log Book
- Spotlights – Low Altitude Flying Modification
- Target Map and Photo of the Eder Dam
- Target Photos of the Ruhr Dams
- Flight Lieutenant H.B. ‘Mick’ Martin’s Log Book
- Sergeant Charles Brennan’s Papers
- Aircraftwoman Morfydd Gronland’s Memoir
- Reconnaissance Photos of the Damaged Dams
- Letter from Air Commodore S.O. Bufton
- Herr Clemens Mols’ Memoir
- Casualties of the Dams Raid
- Media Reports
- Messages of Congratulation
- Signed Menu from A.V. Roe Celebratory Dinner
- Dambusters Podcasts
- Royal Flying Corps Centenary
- The Polish Air Force in WWII
- Taking Flight
- History of the Battle of Britain
- From world power to colonial policeman
- Churchill’s Warnings
- Expansion at last
- The Rise of the Nazi Party
- The Rise of the Luftwaffe
- Young Nazis
- Poland – The Catalyst
- Phoney Air War in France
- The Battle of France
- The Home Front
- Air Raid Shelter Protection
- Operation Sealion
- British Defences
- Bomber Command
- Other Commands
- The New Tactics
- RADAR – The Battle Winner?
- How RADAR Works
- Introduction to the Phases of the Battle of Britain
- The Battle of Britain Phase One
- The Battle of Britain Phase Two
- The Battle of Britain Phase Three
- The Battle of Britain Phase Four
- The Battle of Britain Phase Five
- The Hardest Day
- The Blitz
- The Blitz – The Hardest Night
- Subordinate German Commanders
- Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe
- Corpo Aero Italiano
- The Few
- Battle of the Nations
- Women of Britain
- Subordinate RAF Commanders
- Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command
- Douglas Bader: Fighter, Pilot
- Women of the Air Force
- Commandant Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan
- Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) 1918 – 1920
- Air Chief Commandant Dame Katherine Trefusis-Forbes
- Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) 1939 – 1949
- All the same buttons
- Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) 1949 – 1994
- WRAF and WAAF Recruitment Posters
- Air Commandant Dame Felicity Peake
- Women in the RAF Today
- Listen to Podcasts
- Your Comments and Stories
- Lest We Forget
- Remembrance Day
- The First World War (1914 – 1918)
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- The Cenotaph
- War Memorials
- The Royal British Legion
- The Second World War (1939 – 1945)
- The Royal Air Force Missing Research and Enquiry Service 1944 – 1952
- St. Clement Danes – The Central Church of the Royal Air Force
- The Royal Air Force Today
- Support Organisations
- Remembrance Podcasts
- Americans in the Royal Air Force
- Archive exhibitions
- Alex Henshaw: Flying Legend, A Life in Art
- Freedom & Liberty
- Wonderful Amy!
- De Havilland – The Man and the Company
- Kings, Queens & Flying Machines
- Photographs of ‘Kings, Queens & Flying Machines’
- The Hendon Pageants
- Prince Albert
- No flying solo for Prince Albert
- de Havilland Moth
- The Royal Flight Vickers Viastra
- Three Kings
- The Royal Family visiting Mildenhall
- The King’s Flight
- King George V prepares for a review
- King George VI visiting Battle squadrons
- The formation of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force
- HM Queen Elizabeth with Princess Elizabeth
- King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Bentley Priory
- The Armed King’s flight
- Duke of Gloucester visiting No. 467 Squadron
- HM King George VI with family
- The first post-war King’s flight
- The Vickers Viking
- Prince Phillip’s training
- The de Havilland Heron
- HM Queen Elizabeth II’s first Royal Review
- Westland Whirlwind HCC12
- Hawker Siddeley Andover
- Long haul flights
- RAF Comet
- Prince Charles in Chipmunk
- The Queen’s Colour Squadron
- Worth a Thousand Words – Air Diagrams
- Me 210
- Ju 87D
- Ju 88
- Layout of kit and method of wearing equipment
- Aids to homing
- Layout of WAAF kit
- Fog dispersal
- Emergency landing service
- Ju 188
- He 177
- Beware of the Hun in the sun
- Pilot’s controls – Stirling I
- Emergency Equipment & Exits – Lancaster I
- …And all this – because of you
- 5 men in a dinghy
- I thought YOU had the dinghy pack!
- Watch that prop…what prop?
- Dammit, chaps – who remembered to bring this thing anyway?
- Seconds Count
- Keep your aircraft to the tarmac
- Prevention of tyre and brake accident
- Danger – watch for tyre creep
- Lancaster I II III standard & Y types dinghy drill
- Jungle survival: Edible tropical plants
- DP/R and D.P.L. functioning (single arming)
- Keep your transparent panels clean (turrets)
- Train how to fit into the post war picture
- BABS Mk1C Still Air
- Not Quite Extinct!
- Battle of Britain Class Locomotive Plates
- Comet – The World’s First Jet Airliner
- The Art of Sergeant Elva Blacker
Railways and the RAF
The Royal Air Forces’ connection with railways is not just confined to locomotive nameplates. It once operated extensive narrow and standard gauge railway systems, serving Maintenance Units such as RAF Stafford, bomb stores and airfields (Hendon airfield had its own branch line and sidings off the Midland main line between May 1918 and January 1921). Steam, diesel and battery electric locomotives were all used; the last Royal Air Force steam locomotive (A Barclay 0-4-0ST) was struck off charge at RAF St Athan in February 1973.
The Royal Air Force Museum’s collection reflects this long-standing connection and includes a Ruston and Hornsby built 48DL two foot gauge diesel ‘Yimkin’ from the Gulf staging post at Royal Air Force Masirah (on loan to the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway Society since 1987) and two-foot gauge battery and diesel locomotives, wagons and track from the underground bomb storage area at Royal Air Force Chilmark, Wiltshire. These are currently stored at the RAFM facility at the former RAF Stafford, now MoD Stafford, and are not on public view.
Also held are two lamps from a diesel shunting loco from RAF Henlow and two number plates from a similar loco, ‘AMW No 167’ an 0-4-0 built by J. Fowler of Leeds in 1939 that once operated at No.7 MU Quedgeley, and latterly at the former flying boat base at RAF Pembroke Dock and was scrapped in 1983 having been sold by the MoD to scrap merchants George Cohen & Sons at Morriston, Glamorgan in April 1970.
The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford formerly displayed ‘Spitfire’ and ‘Hurricane’ nameplates from Hunslet built ‘Austerity’ saddletanks that worked at Parsonage Colliery near Manchester until 1978. These are currently in store.
Air Force Names
There is a long tradition of naming railway locomotives in Great Britain. The main railway companies have tended to name their passenger locomotives but not the humble shunting engines. This has been left to smaller users such as power stations and coalmines.
Themes have included railway personalities, railway served locations and classical heroes. Naming high-speed Train power cars ‘Top of the Pops’ came much later when popular culture was thought an appropriate subject to attract public attention.
Military names increased after the Great War, including warship and regimental names. Many companies had a ‘remembrance’ locomotive honouring the fallen.
In 1931the London Midland and Scottish Railway Royal Scot 4-6-0 express passenger locomotive No. 6159 became the first locomotive to carry a name associated with military aeronautics; it was named ‘The Royal Air Force’ and after rebuilding with a Stanier Boiler ran until November 1962 as BR 46159, being withdrawn from Willesden shed in London and scrapped at Crewe Works in February 1963. In September 2007, the BR smokebox numberplate of No.46159 was generously donated to the Royal Air Force Museum by Mr Bruce London ACIS. This item is now displayed at Hendon, accessioned as X004-6115.
Second world war patriotism caused the Great Western Railway to re-name 12 of its fast, powerful ‘Castle’ class locomotives after then current British Military aircraft. Nos 5071 to 5082 commemorated such aircraft as the Spitfire, Hurricane and Wellington; British Railways withdrew them by September 1964; sole survivor 5080 Defiant is owned by the Birmingham Railway Museum, Tyseley and currently on loan to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton Road, pending overhaul.
Diesel and electric locomotives with names associated with the Royal Air Force include class 73 electro-diesels 73107 ‘Spitfire’, 73109 ‘Battle of Britain 50th Anniversary’, and classmate 73137 ‘Royal Observer Corps’.
A number of former BR Southern Region Class 33 Diesel-Electric locomotives have also received names with an aeronautical/RAF theme; these included:
33002 Sea King
After the locally based company Supermarine-built biplane amphibian fighter of 1920.
Engineer’s loco Named at Eastleigh Depot November 1991; Nameplates removed October 1996. Loco now preserved; restored into BR Engineer’s ‘Dutch’ livery and operating on South Devon Railway with Sea King nameplates and Eastleigh Spitfire logo refitted.
After the rugged Supermarine-built biplane amphibian reconnaissance/air sea rescue aircraft.
Engineer’s loco named at Eastleigh September 1991; Nameplates removed January 1992.
After the RR Griffon aero-engine fitted to Spitfires and many other aircraft.
Named at Eastleigh Depot, Hampshire 16 December 1991 as one of eight 33s for British Rail Civil Engineers use given aeronautical names. Nameplates removed December 1998 following privatisation of BR.
After the naval variant of the Spitfire.
Engineer’s loco named at Eastleigh 9 August 1991; nameplates removed January 1997.
After the RR Merlin aero engine.
Engineers use loco named at Eastleigh 4 October 1991; nameplates removed February 1997.
After R.J. Mitchell’s immortal fighter.
Engineer’s use loco named at Eastleigh Depot April 1991; nameplates removed January 1993 and applied to sister loco 33055 on 31 December 1993, but removed from this loco also August 1996.
After the Supermarine Seagull biplane amphibian of 1921/22.
Engineer’s use loco named at Eastleigh 6 September 1991; nameplates removed October 1996.
A number of other Eastleigh Depot based 33s also received a lozenge-shaped cast Spitfire logo carried on the cabside as the Depot logo.
In May 1997, Virgin Trains named their High Speed Train power car No.43155 The Red Arrows in a ceremony at York station attended by members of the squadron; the same company ran a electrically hauled control trailer on the West Coast main line named ‘101 Squadron’ until it was replaced by the current ‘Pendolino’ electric units.
Now-defunct privatised rail operator Fragonset railways also chose some aeronautical names;
After the Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bomber.
Named at Derby November 2002.
After the DH Vampire jet fighter.
Named at Derby April 2002.
After the Gloster Meteor twin-jet fighter. Named at Derby Depot November 2002.