Plan your day, see when the RAF Museum Cosford is open. Contact us on 01902 376 200 or email@example.com
How to find us and travel to the RAF Museum Cosford by car, train, bus or bike.
Enjoy lunch in the Refuel Restaurant with views overlooking the airfield. The Citroen Van in the National Cold War Exhibition is ideal for morning coffee and a cake.
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
A car parking charge Is payable
See what events are scheduled at Cosford
Find out the latest news and updates for our Cosford site
Plan a day, see the opening hours & closure dates for RAF Museum London. Contact us on 020 8205 2266 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How to find us and travel to the RAF Museum London by car, train, bus or bike.
When you need to refuel during your visit why not visit the Wessex Café in Historic Hangars? At this eatery you will find a variety of delicious home-made offerings to suit all tastes and pockets
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone one from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
See what events are planned at our London site
Read the latest news from our London Museum
Lancaster Membership has been designed for people that wish to support the Museum from afar
Lightning Membership has been designed for people that wish to visit the Museum regularly
RADAR Magazine is a thrice yearly publication of the RAF Museum, bringing you access behind-the-scene
Two of our Trustees set out on an epic walk-a-thon in aid of the RAF Museum Centenary Programme.
Join the RAF Museum as a volunteer and create a unique experience for yourself and our visitors. Bring your enthusiasm, knowledge and skills or try something new.
Without you assistance we would not be able to care for our collections, read our varied audiences or share our objects with a world wide audience.
If you have any questions about supporting the RAF Museum, here you can find out how to contact our Fundraising Department.
The Royal Air Force Museum American Foundation ensures that the shared aviation heritage of the USA and the UK is kept alive in the memories of our two great nations.
Parke Smith was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1920. He obtained a private flying licence while still a teenager, but failed the medical examination to fly for the US Navy. Instead, in late 1941 he went before the Clayton Committee, and was accepted to train for the Royal Air Force.
After flying training at a civilian school at War Eagle Field, Los Angeles, Smith sailed for the UK, arriving in a war-torn London in 1942. In his memoirs, he recounts how:
I wandered around London for the rest of the day, trying to absorb the massive destruction done by the relentless, almost continuous, day and night bombing. The buildings left standing were covered with dust and grime and blackened with smoke from the fire storms caused by phosphorous incendiaries. In some instances, whole blocks had disappeared, leaving gaping foundations filled with rubble. The sky was filled with tethered, sausage-like anti-aircraft balloons with dangling wires, all dancing in the stiff breezes.
After further training, and the considerable culture shock of encountering the RAF's ways of operating, Smith was post to the Middle East in early 1943. In August, 1943, he joined No.253 Squadron, flying Supermarine Spitfires over North Africa, and later supporting the campaign in Italy and Salerno. In December, 1943, he transferred to No. 225 Squadron. Although also equipped with Spitfires, their role was Army Co-Operation, mostly spotting for artillery.
In May, 1944, with 109 operational sorties in his log book, Smith was sent back to the UK. On the agreement that an operational posting would follow, he was sent as an instructor to No.41 Operational Training Unit, at RAF Harwarden.
In March, 1945, Smith was posted back to an operational unit, No.65 Squadron at RAF Peterhead. In their North American Mustang IIIs, their role was fighter cover for the long range maritime strike wings that dominated the Norwegian coasts. Smith would complete twenty-two intensive operations with the unit before the end of the war.
After a brief spell with a Ferry Unit, Smith was sent home to America on leave. At the end, he returned to the UK, to the puzzlement of his friends and family:
It was difficult for them to understand, but after all, the British had trusted me enough to send me on this leave, with no assurance of my return, and knowing the temptations I would face. They had given me a chance to fly when my country had turned me down, and... had given me to posting to No.65 Squadron as promised. There was also the matter of the oath I had taken to their King and a thing called "loyalty."
In December, 1945, Flt Lt Parke Smith was demobilised, and returned to Virginia.
Learn about aviation pioneers at our London site
The Royal Air Force Museum London offers a fun, enthralling...
For all the latest news and events
A world class collection for our visitors to enjoy
Plan your next visit to Cosford
For group bookings (10 or more persons) or to book...
In addition to our world renowned collection of aircraft,...
We look forward to welcoming your group visit to Cosford.
Learn the story of Cold War personalities at Cosford
Great aviation gift ideas for all the family
Jam packed full of aviation gifts galore
Hold your next event at a unique venue!
And into the archives with our latest blog posts
Fascinating workshops to inspire the next generation
Discover the RAF’s unique story
Whether you are looking for a business meeting for...