- Fine art
- Medals & uniforms
- Film & sound
- Other aircraft & exhibits
- Library collection
- Archive collection
- RAF Historical Society Journals
- Donate an Artefact
- 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
- Research enquiries
- Visit our reading room
- Online exhibitions
- Falklands 40
- 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
World Aviation in 1941
The Luftwaffe aircraft drop mines into the Suez Canal.
The Air Defence Force (PVO) is formed in the Soviet Union.
Following a coup d’etat by anti-Nazi elements in Yugoslavia, Hitler orders the invasion of both Yugoslavia and Greece.
The first aircraft ejection seat, a compressed air unit, is fitted to the German Heinkel He280 jet fighter.
An agreement is reached between the Danish government in exile and the United States, allowing the United States to build and operate airfields in Greenland.
Igor Sikorsky makes an officially recorded flight of 65 minutes 14 seconds during a demonstration of his VS300 at Sratford in Connecticut.
The Soviet Union brings RUS-1 and RUS-2 air defence radar sets into service.
Rudolf Hess, Deputy Führer of Germany, flies to United Kingdom in a Messerschmitt Bf110 and lands by parachute in Scotland. While the purpose of the flight is still a matter of controversy, it is thought that when he eventually identified himself he claimed his mission was one of peace.
The first major deployment of Boeing B17 Flying Fortress aircraft in the Pacific. The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) flies 21 aircraft from Hamilton Field in California to Hickham Field in Hawaii.
The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) is formed with Major General H.H. Arnold as its Chief.
Operation Barbarossa: the German invasion of the Soviet Union, opens with a massive air assault. By nightfall Soviet losses amount to 1,811 aircraft of which 1,489 were destroyed on the ground. The Luftwaffe losses are light, with only 35 aircraft destroyed.
At 0430hrs Lieutenant Kokorev of the 124th Fighter Regiment, Red Air Force deliberately rams a German Messerschmitt Bf110. This is the first recorded instance of a battering ram attack during the Second Word War.
Lufwaffe bombers make their first night attack on Moscow.
The first use of Soviet ‘parasite’ Polikarpov I16SPB dive bombers, a variant of the standard fighter, carried under wings of the Tupolev TB3 heavy bomber, occurs during a successful attack on Constanza in Romania.
The United States bans the export of aviation fuel, except to the United Kingdom and unoccupied nations. This comes as severe blow to the Japanese and their continuing war in China.
A small force of Soviet Naval Aviation Il-4 (DB3F) bombers takes-off from Estonian Islands of Dagö and Saaremaa and attacks the Berlin area. The city was brightly lit and the raid precipitates the introduction of blackout regulations in the German capital.
President Roosevelt announces that Pan American World Airways (Pan-Am) is to ferry United States-built warplanes to British forces in the Middle East.
The first operational use of Soviet Polikarpov U2 biplanes as ‘night harassment bombers’.
Messerschmitt Me321 heavy assault transport gliders (sailplanes) of Staffel [GS] 1 are used for the first time in an operational air assault on Saaremaa island in the Baltic, as part of an attempt to capture the fort of Kübarsaare.
The Luftwaffe begins leaflet raids on Leningrad, threatening immediate destruction unless the city surrenders.
A Junkers Ju87 pilot, Oberleutnant Hans-Ulrich Rudel, succeeds in hitting the 26,170 ton Soviet battleship Marat at Kronstadt with a 1,000 kilo bomb. The ship is badly damaged and sinks in shallow water in what is probably the greatest success achieved by a dive bomber pilot in the Second World War.
The Luftwaffe claims to have destroyed more than 4,500 Soviet aircraft since the opening of hostilities.
The third prototype of the Messerschmitt Me163A rocket fighter, piloted by Heini Dittmar, achieves a speed of 1,004kph (623mph), an unofficial world speed record that remains a secret until the end of the war.
A Consolidated B24 Liberator, with Major Alva L. Harvey at the controls, completes a round-the world flight, carrying personnel of the Harriman Mission.
The United States Civil Air Patrol is established to make use of American civilian pilots and their aircraft for wartime duties.
The principal United States Naval Base in the Pacific, at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, is attacked by Japanese carrier-borne aircraft at 0755hrs local time (1825hrs GMT). On the evening of 7 December, it is announced in Tokyo that Japan is at war with the United States and Britain.
The United States declares war on Japan.
Following heavy air attacks on Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in Malaya and Singapore, the Japanese invade northern Malaya. The United Kingdom declares war on Japan.
After a heavy air attack on Cavite naval base in the Philippines Japan begins small amphibious landings at Aparri and Vigan in Northern Luzon.
United States Army Air Force (USAAF) Boeing B17 Flying Fortress bombers, operating from the Philippines, attack Japanese shipping. This is the first American air offensive action of the Second World War.
Germany and Italy declare war on the United States.
Following the destruction of his fifth Japanese aircraft over the Philippines Lieutenant ‘Buzz’ Wagner of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) becomes the first American ‘ace’ of the Second World War.
The German Air Ministry instructs work to begin on the Amerika-Bomber project, with the intention of developing a bomber with transatlantic capability.
Australian National Airlines begins evacuation of civilians from Rabaul in the Solomon Islands.
Also this year…
The Russian Ilyushin Il-2 becomes the first aircraft to be armed with air-to-ground rockets.