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 Refuel 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.
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
The Royal Air Force Museum Shop has a gift for everyone one from pocket money toys to specialist aviation gifts.
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.
See what events are planned at our London site
Read the latest news from our London Museum
Find out how to become a member and support the RAF Museum.
There are lots of ways you can support us.
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!)
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.
Two of our Trustees set out on an epic walk-a-thon in aid of the RAF Museum Centenary Programme.
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.
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Major James Templer in the basket of an observation balloon
Lieutenant George Edward Grover, Royal Engineers
Colonel James Templer and Balloon Section RE, Aldershot, 1893
T Class balloon at Frensham, 1893
NCO’s of the Balloon Section, Royal Engineers, 1893
Military aeronautics in Britain originated with the Royal Engineers.
As early as 1862, Lieutenant George Grover with a personal interest in ballooning approached the War Office with a proposal; that the British Army should investigate the use of the balloon as a platform for reconnaissance and observation. The War Office reaction was cool but it did allow Grover and Captain F. Beaumont to conduct balloon trials at Aldershot with the assistance of the pioneer civilian balloonist Henry Coxwell.
It was to be another fifteen years before the first official experiments with balloons were conducted in 1878 by the Balloon Equipment Store at the Woolwich Arsenal. Captain James L.B. Templer an officer in the Middlesex Militia and a keen amateur balloonist designed its first balloon. 'Pioneer',with its capacity of 10,000 cubic feet of hydrogen was constructed for just £71, and is considered to represent the birth of the British air arm.
Military ballooning slowly became established. Balloons were deployed to South Africa in 1884 and to Sudan in 1885 with limited success. In 1889 a balloon detachment took part in the Army Manoeuvres at Aldershot. It was so successful that a Balloon Section of the Royal Engineers was established under Lieutenant H.B. Jones in 1890. Its work and personnel were supported by a balloon factory and school.
The Army's largest deployment of captive balloons took place during the Boer War (1899-1902) in South Africa. They achieved moderate success, although severe shortcomings were highlighted; they could only be used in very favourable weather, deployment was slow, inflation could take up to 10 hours and the balloons were difficult to transport. Nevertheless, the balloon had proved its worth and as a result of this it was decided that the Balloon Section should be expanded.
The development of powered flight in the early 1900s saw the balloon become rapidly marginalised but not obsolete. As a reflection of the changes brought about by the new technology the Balloon Section Royal Engineers became the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers and the Balloon Factory was restyled the Army Aircraft Factory during 1911.
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