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Imperial War Museum Duxford - Press Release

Imperial War Museum Duxford - Press Release

IWM Duxford commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day

IWM Duxford commemorates the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings with a range of events, family activities, exhibitions and digital resources which explore the preparations for the invasion of Normandy and the final decisive D-Day mission.

Personal stories come to the fore as we look at the many individual contributions that combined to make the D-Day invasion a success. Complementing those personal experiences are hands-on family activities which bring the science and history of D-Day to life, alongside events which show the aircraft and vehicles in dynamic action.


D-Day Landings Tour
Saturday 5 April, Wednesday 30 April, Saturday 3 May, Wednesday 21 May, Friday 6 June

Our Land Warfare exhibition features one of the best collections of military vehicles in the country, including types that were used in the D-Day Landings.

In the D-Day Landings Tour, our guide will discuss the strategic planning for D-Day, the work of the resistance, how deceit and misinformation played a vital role in preparing for the D-Day Landings, the challenge of the mission itself and the specialist armoured vehicles that were used.

The tour will look at some of the vehicles in the collection and will explain how they would have been used in the D-Day Landings. We’ll also look at some of the unique archive film that is on show in the Land Warfare exhibition.

The D-Day Landings Tour commences at 11am in the entrance of AirSpace. It runs for approximately 90 minutes. Groups will not exceed 25 people and there will be plenty of opportunity for questions, debate and personal interaction. The tour is suitable for all ages but is primarily aimed at adults. Places must be booked in advance and can be booked online at iwm.org.uk

Ticket prices (including admission to all IWM Duxford exhibitions):

Adult (16-59 years) £20.75
Child (under 16 years) £3.25
Senior (60 years and over) £16.60
Student (in possession of a valid student card) £16.60
Unemployed (with proof of entitlement) £16.60
Disabled Adult (proof of disability allowance required) £16.60
Disabled Senior (proof of disability allowance required) £14.50
Disabled Student (proof of disability allowance required) £14.50
Disabled Child (proof of disability allowance required) £3.25
Carer (one per disabled visitor) £3.25
Supporter (Duxford Aviation Society Member, Friend of Duxford, IWM Friend, IWM Volunteer) £3.25

Easter Holiday activities
Saturday 5 to Monday 21 April
The Science of D-Day
Sponsored by Lockheed Martin
10.30amto 2.30pm
Conservation Hall, AirSpace

Our Easter holiday activities look at the ingenious inventions created by scientific boffins to ensure victory on D-Day. We’ll explain how tanks were made to float, how they carried their own bridges and how they destroyed mines.

There will be plenty of opportunities to try your hand at using these inventive pieces of equipment. Have a go at firing a petard and then take a look at the real petard that can be seen on the Churchill tank in our Land Warfare exhibition. Build your own Bailey bridge and see two real Bailey bridges that are still in use on a daily basis at IWM Duxford. Learn how to drive a tank, try on some mini-uniforms,make an Airfix model of an aircraft that would have been used in the preparation for the D-Day Landings and enter our creative competition to design your own specially-modified D-Day tank.

Easter holiday activities are included in general admission to IWM Duxford. Visitors aged 15 or under enjoy free admission to themuseumand to our Easter holiday activities.

The D-Day Anniversary Air Show
Saturday 24 and Sunday 25May

The D-Day Anniversary Air Show commemorates the 70th anniversary of this decisive military campaign, demonstrating the vital role that aerial warfare played in the invasion of Normandy.

The air show will feature fighter, bomber and transport aircraft types that would have been seen over the beaches of France, together with thrilling ground content. This special D-Day Anniversary Air Show is not to be missed.

Air Show tickets and hospitality passes are now on sale and can be purchased online at iwm.org.uk

The recommended last booking date for overseas postal delivery is Friday 9 May. The off-sale date (and last date for UK postal delivery) is Tuesday 13 May.

Purchase your tickets in advance and receive one free child ticket with every adult ticket purchased. You’ll also enjoy 10%off ‘on the day’ ticket prices.

Advance ticket prices:

Adult (16 or over) £24.75
Child (5 to 15 years) £16.30
Disabled £16.30

Spring Half Term
Monday 26 May to Sunday 1 June
10.30am to 3.30pm
Activities take place across the museum

During Spring half term, follow our trail around the museum and encounter some of the aircraft and vehicles that would have been used on D-Day.

Follow the story of this huge and complex operation, and find out how Allied air, sea and land forces combined to liberate Europe. We’ll take you through the build-up to D-Day: from the Allies’ massive aerial bombardments and clever tricks to fool the enemy, through the role of naval forces, to the arrival of thousands of troops in France by air and by sea. Find out the impact of tanks, trucks, vehicles and weapons on the fierce fighting that followed.

You’ll find outmore about each historic object you encounter on the trail, including how it was used on D-Day and the experiences of the men relying on it for a successful mission.

At the end of our trail, in Land Warfare, you’ll meet our costumed character representing a D-Day soldier, who will tell you about his experiences and will show you the equipment that would have been used by soldiers and airmen during the D-Day Landings.

There will be hands-on craft activities and dynamic games to enjoy which will bring D-Day history to life for all the family.

Spring half termactivities are included in general admission to IWM Duxford. Visitors aged 15 or under enjoy free admission to the museum and to Spring half term activities.

Military Vehicle Show
Sunday 15 June

Enjoy a special day out for Father’s Day at the Military Vehicle Show. Explore military vehicles large and small, from motorcycles to jeeps, ambulances to huge trucks and tanks. Some of the vehicles on display will be of the type used during the D-Day Landings. See the vehicles up close and then watch them come to life as they parade around the airfield during the cavalcade.

A wide range of living history groups will bring Second World War history to life, chatting to visitors and encouraging families to try on military equipment and clamber aboard military vehicles.

Join us for the Military Vehicle Show – an unforgettable experience for Father’s Day.

Ticket prices:

Adult (16 to 59 years) £18.50
Senior (60 years and over) £14.80
Child (under 16 years) Free
Concessionary prices available – see iwm.org.uk for details.

New exhibitions

D-Day-The Last of the Liberators photographic exhibition
By Robin Savage
Produced by the Airborne Forces Museum(Airborne Assault) and Helion Books
April to December
Mezzanine Gallery, AirSpace

D-Day - The Last of the Liberators is a collection of photographic portraits of some of the last surviving British Normandy veterans. It records, in a unique way, the stories of these remarkable individuals and their emotional but dignified return to the locations, inmany cases the exact spot, which are tied to their most profound personal memories of the campaign; places where they saw action or were wounded, where they experienced instances of miraculous chance or where they witnessed their friends being taken away from them through the horror of battle.

The photographs in the exhibition are 15 of those froma new book of the same name. Taken during the 68th and 69th anniversaries by photographer Robin Savage, they are a record of some of the final visits these brave and dignified men and women will make to the places that imprinted themselves indelibly on their lives.

D-Day - The Last of the Liberators is included in general admission to IWM Duxford. Visitors aged 15 and under enjoy free admission to the museum.

The Padre’s Trail in the Land Warfare exhibition
From May 2014

Our Land Warfare exhibition houses one of the finest collections of tanks,military vehicles and artillery in the country. It charts the technological advances that have changed the face of ground warfare.

The Normandy Experience in Land Warfare vividly tells the story of the D-Day Landings through sound, film and military vehicles set in evocative dioramas.

As part of our commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we are adding a layer of interpretation to The Normandy Experience which gives a very personal view of the D-Day Landings and how it felt to be in the thick of the action.

Captain Leslie Skinner was an army chaplain who landed on the coast of Normandy on the morning of 6 June 1944 with the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry tank regiment. Apart from 29 days spent at home recovering from his wounds, he spent the rest of the war with the Sherwood Rangers as they fought through France and into Germany. It is Captain Skinner’s story that is told in his own voice via extracts from the diary hemeticulously kept throughout his time with the Sherwood Rangers.

He saw it as his duty to find the bodies ofmen who were killed as the Regiment’s tanks advanced. On many occasions, he risked his life to ensure that his comrades’ bodies were recovered or buried. The work could be harrowing and he refused to allow the other tank crews to help.

Padre Skinner travelled all over the front line and the battlefield, talking to the troops and listening to their worries. As this extract from his diary shows, he experienced at first-hand the stark realities of warfare.

25 June 1944: “In burst ofmachine gun fire I dived into slit trench on top of young soldier… it was his first show and he was all alone. I assured him that the machine gun fire was way up in the air…he picked up a ration box lid and held it above ground. Burst [of fire] cut it in two. It shookme. When firing stopped I moved out. He, poor devil, had to stay. About 11:30…Shrapnel gotme across forehead and knocked me out. Lots of blood but soon conscious.”

The Padre’s Trail is included in general admission to IWM Duxford.

D-Day collections on display at IWM Duxford

Land Warfare exhibition

Land Warfare is home to the Normandy Experience and the Monty exhibition. Together they tell the story of the final months of the war in Europe, from D-Day, through the fierce battles in France to VE Day.

The Normandy Experience features many of the types of tanks and vehicles that took part in the liberation of Europe. These include the GMC Amphibian DUKW and the Sherman Grizzly tank. Nearby are examples of German tanks and vehicles that made up some of the fierce defences encountered in the battles of 1944 and 1945.

Field Marshal Montgomery – Monty to the troops – commanded the Allied land forces on D-Day. At the nerve centre of his operation was his Tactical HQ, which is on display in the Monty exhibition. Visitors are able to peer through the windows of Monty’s headquarters and imagine this dynamic leader at work.

In addition to the tanks and vehicles displayed in realistic dioramas, Land Warfare also contains powerful personal stories fromthemen who took part in Operation Overlord.

American Air Museum

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain, which is suspended majestically from the ceiling in the American Air Museum, was delivered to the United States Army Air Forces in April 1944 and served with the 316th Troop Carrier Group of the 9th Air Force. It was assigned to the 37th Troop Carrier Squadron and operated from Cottesmore in Lincolnshire for a year.

It is believed to have participated in the airborne drops over Normandy in 1944, the airborne assault on Holland in September 1944 and the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.

The P-47 Thunderbolt that can be seen in the American Air Museum is the type of aircraft flown by pilots of the 78th Fighter Group, from RAF Duxford, in support of the D-Day Landings.

The B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator also flew in support of D-Day operations. Examples of these aircraft can also be seen in the American Air Museum.


The Avro Lancaster bomber flew bombing missions in support of D-Day operations. You can get up close to a Lancaster bomber in our AirSpace exhibition.

Airborne Assault Museum in AirSpace

Airborne Assault is the Regimental Museum of The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces. It tells the stories of the soldiers who go to war fromthe air, including the significant contribution made to the D-Day Landings by the Airborne Forces and Parachute Regiments.

Of particular interest in this 70th anniversary year is the original map used to plan the D-Day operation, which would have been viewed by Field Marshal Montgomery and General Eisenhower. Also on display is the accompanying planning model which was used to strategically plot themission to capture Pegasus Bridge.

There is also a model of Bing, one of the paradogs who were trained to parachute alongside the troops and to undertake guard,mine-detecting and patrol duties.

RAF Duxford’s D-Day history

D-Day and the 78th Fighter Group

May to June

In June 1944, RAF Duxford was home to the 78th Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Forces. Equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts, its pilots flew several missions on D-Day and many more in the days, weeks and months that followed.

The fighters of the 78th Fighter Group encountered very little resistance fromthe German Air Force on 6 June 1944. Their aircraft flew equipped with bombs and were sent to attack targets such as railway bridges and enemy airfields.

During May and June, we’ll be tweeting summaries which show how the 78th Fighter Group built towards D-Day operations, what they did on 6 June 1944 and how they supported the fighting in France.

Follow@historicduxford to read these summaries from the 78th Fighter Group diaries and look out for related posts on our Historic Duxford blog at https://www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-duxford/historicduxford

In our Historic Duxford exhibition, you can find out what life was like for the American servicemen who were based at RAF Duxford during the latter stages of the Second World War. See interviews with American pilots who took part in D-Day and see the A2 flying jacket which belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence ‘Larry’ Casey.

Casey was an American fighter pilot who flew from RAF Duxford. On 11 June 1944, he was shot down over France. With the help of the French resistance, he was able to avoid capture andmake it back to Britain. Casey later flew missions in the Pacific and he stayed in the United States Air Force after the Second World War.

P-47 Thunderbolt William Bray

Photograph courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

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