Plan your visit, 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 Refuel with views overlooking the airfield. The Cold War Cafe 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
Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency
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.
Discover our brand new green space in which to picnic and relax
Explore our brand new outdoor playground
We now have six charging points for electric vehicles
When you need to refuel during your visit why not visit Claude's between Hangars 2 and 6? At this eatery you will find a variety of delicious home-made offerings to suit all tastes and pockets
Step back into time and onto Lancaster Bomber 'G for George' to witness this iconic campaign
Sit in our Mk16 Spitfire and receive a tour of its cockpit or try out our new virtual reality experience and pilot your own Spitfire. Charges apply.
Specially created for visitors 3 - 8 by our Access and Learning Team
See what events are planned at our London site
Read the latest news from our London Museum
Want to know more about how to leave a Legacy to the RAF Museum?
Interested in sponsorship opportunities?
Want to become a Patron?
Find out more about our American Foundation?
Get more from the Museum and be part of the RAF Story
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.
A little information about what you can expect from us and what we ask of our volunteers.
Find out about our recruitment process, what you gain and who our volunteering is for (everyone!)
If you have any questions about supporting the RAF Museum, here you can find out how to contact our Fundraising Department.
air transport auxiliary,women,ATA,
Under American law, it was illegal for United States citizens to join the armed forces of foreign nations. In doing so, they lost their citizenship, although Congress passed a blanket pardon in 1944. Even so, hundreds if not thousands of American citizens volunteered to fly with the Royal Air Force before America officially entered the war in December, 1941. Perhaps the most famous result of this were the Eagle Squadrons.
In 1939 American mercenary Colonel Charles Sweeney had begun raising an American squadron to fight in Europe, much as the Lafayette Escadrille had during the First World War. Initially he wanted them to fight in Finland against the Soviets, but his attention soon moved to France. Recruited and financed by Sweeney, over thirty Americans made their way to France before the Germans invaded in May, 1940. None got to fly in France, but several made their way to Britain.
In Britain Sweeney's nephew, also called Charles, had already been busy. He had formed a Home Guard unit from Americans living in London, and was keen on the idea of American squadrons in the Royal Air Force. He took the idea to the Air Ministry, and in July, 1940, they agreed that the handful of Americans already serving in the RAF, plus any new recruits, would be formed into their own national units, to be known as Eagle Squadrons. The first, No.71 Squadron, was formed in September, followed by Nos.121 and 133 Squadrons over the next twelve months.
By this time the Sweeney's had recruited around 50 pilots, and arranged and paid for them to be smuggled to Canada and then make their way to Britain. Now they handed responsibility over to the Clayton Knight Committee. This Committee, working like the Sweeney's against American law, had been formed in September, 1939, to recruit Americans for the RAF. It had been founded by Air Vice-Marshall Billy Bishop VC, a Canadian First World War veteran, and was run by an American First World War veteran, Clayton Knight.
The Clayton Knight Committee, working largely in secret, recruited nearly 7,000 American citizens for the RAF or Royal Canadian Air Force, and then arranged for their transportation to Canada. Nearly 250 went on to serve with the Eagle Squadrons. In December, 1941, the United States of America entered the war, and the Clayton Knight Committee ceased its operations.
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