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Photograph Collection

The Red Arrows flying over Niagara Falls, 1972
Colonel Templer and the men of the Balloon Section, Royal Engineers, circa 1890

The main collection covers the history of British aviation. The earliest photographs show military ballooning in the 19th Century. It continues with the early pioneers to the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service in World War One. They merged to form the Royal Air Force and the collection shows its work in Europe, India and the Middle East in the inter-war years. The RAF expanded greatly in the Second World War but since then has gradually reduced in size. The number of photographs we have of different periods reflect the size of the RAF which means we have fewer photographs of recent years.

The main collection has been compiled from material given to the Museum or allowed to copy. We are constantly looking for new material from all periods to add to the collection and fill gaps in the history of the Royal Air Force.

Some of the photograph collection is available online using the Navigator database. A proportion of these listings have scanned images attached.

You can view and buy prints of some of the Museum's best-loved photographs at the online photograph store.

Share your RAF Stories

Collecting stories throughout the world

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Shobha Earl

Shobha Earl

RAF Stories
Share your RAF Stories
3 Pilots 1 War

Discover the amazing story of three First World War Pilots

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 Bernard Rice

Bernard Rice

First World War Pilot
3 Pilots 1 War
Historic Hendon Graphic Novel

Bringing the amazing stories of the RAF Museum's historic London site to life

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Ray Holmes

Ray Holmes

Unassuming Hero
Historic Hendon Graphic Novel
First World War Casualty Cards

You can now read online 300,000+ casualty cards belonging to RFC and RAF personnel

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Major James Thomas Byford McCudden

Major James Thomas Byford McCudden

First World War Ace
First World War Casualty Cards