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Imperial War Museum Duxford - Press Release

Imperial War Museum Duxford - Press Release

IWM Duxford commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War

In this centenary year, IWM Duxford explores the outbreak of the First World War with a range of family activities, events, and opportunities to hear from historical interpreters and speakers.

We値l also look at how the development of the First World War led to the creation of RAF Duxford and how strategic warfare changed from 1914 through to 1918.


Duxford in the First World War Tour
Saturday 17 May,Wednesday 16 July, Saturday 16 August,Wednesday 3 September and Saturday 20 September

IWM Duxford has a long and fascinating history dating back to the First World War. The land it was built on was originally Temple Farm, along with some small holdings, all of which were requisitioned for the war effort. The Royal Flying Corps used Duxford and neighbouring Fowlmere as Training Depot Stations.

It was during the time of the Royal Flying Corps that the first buildings were erected. Many of those First World War buildings are still an integral part of the museum today.

In the Duxford and the First World War Tour, our guide will discuss Duxford痴 early history, the First World War buildings that you can see and how they were built, how an airfield operated during the First World War and how aeroplanes were used in warfare. We値l also look at some of the aircraft that were flown from Duxford during the First World War.

The Duxford in the First World War Tour commences at 11am in the foyer of AirSpace and lasts 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 (15-59 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

Summer holiday family activities
Saturday 26 July to Wednesday 3 September

Find out how and why the First World War started as our costumed interpreter explains which countries were involved and who was on whose side. We値l look at numerous aspects of the First World War throughout the day, involving families in lively learning about the progress of the war.

Using our large interactive map, we値l be asking you to represent troops from different nationalities and actively demonstrate how far they had advanced in the conflict. In addition to discovering how the war started, you値l also find out about the race to the sea and how the war was fought from the trenches.

We値l discover what trench life was really like and how trenches changed and developed over the four years of the Great War. Finally, we値l examine the strategic changes that took place over the duration of the war, the myths that still persist today and how the First World War finally ended.

Explore our small replica trench and see how it would have looked at the beginning of the First World War in 1914. Moving through, you値l see how different the trench experience was by the end of the war, in 1918. As you travel, you can handle objects that would have been used by the Tommies in the trenches, try on mini replica First World War uniforms and look through the periscope to spy on what痴 happening in NoMan痴 Land.

You can also get creative by making and painting Airfix models of First World War aircraft. Join us to explore the First World War from the tactics to the trenches.

Summer holiday family activities are included in general admission to IWM Duxford. Visitors aged 15 and under enjoy free admission to the museum and to our summer holiday activities. Airfix Make and Paint is suitable for ages eight and above and is subject to availability.

The Duxford Air Show
Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September

The Duxford Air Show is a celebration of aviation in its many diverse and varied forms. Combinations of historic aircraft, contemporary jets, mind-boggling aerobatics and those quirky, did-I-really-just-see-that displays make The Duxford Air Show an entertaining aerial spectacle with a fabulous family atmosphere.

Replica First World War aircraft displaying at the Duxford Air Show include a Nieuport 17 and the Great War Display Team, comprising two 7/8 scale Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5 aircraft, two 7/8 scale Junkers CLI aircraft, a Sopwith Triplane, a Royal Aircraft Factory BE.2 aircraft and a Fokker Triplane DR1.

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 29 August. The off-sale date (and last date for UK postal delivery) is Tuesday 2 September.

Purchase your tickets in advance and receive one free child ticket with every adult ticket purchased. You値l also enjoy 10% off 双n the day ticket prices when you book in advance.

Advance ticket prices:

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

The First World War Uncovered
Special Interest Day
Saturday 27 September

The First World War Uncovered looks at different aspects of the Great War with authoritative and engaging speakers.

Professor Gary Sheffield presents two fascinating lectures. In Douglas Haig Reassessed he looks at the controversial military commander who is seen by some as a great leader, while others view him as a callous, unthinking butcher.

In this lecture, Professor Gary Sheffield, author of the most recent biography of Haig, weighs up the evidence and argues that while both extremes of opinion are wrong, Haig deserves a great deal of credit for the Allied victory in the First World War.

In his second lecture, Not Sleepwalking: The Origins of the First World War Revisited, Professor Gary Sheffield argues that the currently fashionable view that no state can be blamed for causing the war, that Europe 壮leepwalked into a devastating conflict, is wrong. The origins of the war rest with the leaders of Germany and Austria-Hungary, who took conscious decisions in the summer of 1914 which led to the ensuing Armageddon.

Jonathan Krause is a Lecturer in Strategic Studies at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell. He discusses Philippe Petain, who in 1914, was a 58 year old Colonel and just two years away from retirement after a long and middling career. The next four years would turn Petain into a household name.

Rising quickly to the rank of General, Petain would be rocketed to fame upon taking control of the Battle of Verdun in the early, desperate days of that ten-month-long struggle. Petain痴 popularity with his soldiers, who appreciated his caring, attentive command style, led to his becoming Commander-in- Chief of French forces in the aftermath of the disastrous Nivelle Offensive and resulting mutiny.

Jonathan Krause will introduce you to Petain, both as a commander and as a human being, to better contextualise his influence on the conduct of the First World War.

Places for The First World War Uncovered Special Interest Day 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) 」21.50
Child (under 16 years) 」4
Senior (60 years and over) 」17.20
Student (in possession of a valid student card) 」17.20
Unemployed (with proof of entitlement) 」17.20
Disabled Adult (proof of disability allowance required) 」17.20
Disabled Senior (proof of disability allowance required) 」15.05
Disabled Student (proof of disability allowance required ) 」15.05
Disabled child (proof of disability allowance required) 」4
Carer (one per disabled visitor) 」4
Supporter (Duxford Aviation Society Member, Friend of Duxford, IWM Friend, IWMVolunteer ) 」4

October half term activities
Saturday 25 October to Sunday 2 November

Our October half term activities look at the dawn of aerial warfare and the increase in the use of aircraft at the start of the First World War.

Our costumed interpreter, representing a First World War pilot, will tell the story of aircraft development during the Great War. We値l explore the evolution of aircraft roles, from reconnaissance to fighter and bomber aeroplanes, and will take a closer look at the First World War Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8 and de Havilland DH9 aircraft that can be seen in our AirSpace exhibition.

We値l be enlisting your help to build a large-scale model of a DH9 aircraft. Try on mini-uniforms in the style worn by the First World War air aces and have a go at some hands-on crafty fun.

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

Remembrance Sunday
Sunday 9 November

On Remembrance Sunday, we offer free admission to all as we remember members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives in active service.

At 11am, a two-minute silence will be observed across the museum. There will also be a traditional service of Remembrance.

We値l also be giving families the opportunity to learn about remembrance together, with hands-on activities throughout the museum.

First World War collections on display at IWM Duxford

Historic Duxford

RAF Duxford was built as a consequence of the development of aerial warfare during the First World War. Our Historic Duxford exhibition tells the story of RAF Duxford痴 creation and its First World War history.

IWM Duxford痴 First World War buildings are in daily use and several retain the original purpose for which they were built. Our Air and Sea and Battle of Britain exhibitions are housed in First World War Belfast hangars, as is our Conservation in Action hangar.


In our AirSpace exhibition you can see a Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8, which was a First World War two-seat reconnaissance and artillery-spotting aircraft.

Using aerial observation was the best way to direct artillery fire in a battle during the First World War. The RE.8 was designed with the observer痴 cockpit behind the pilot, so that the observer痴 machine gun had a better field of fire. The aircraft also had a forward-firing machine gun.

The RE.8 on display in AirSpace is the only surviving original specification model. It was built by Daimler Ltd and delivered to the RAF on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918. It had logged only 30 minutes flying time before it was transferred to the Imperial War Museum. It was displayed at the museum痴 first home in Crystal Palace in 1920.

In 1974, the aircraft was moved to IWM Duxford for conservation work, which was completed in 1980. It received further work in 2004.

The Airco/ de Havilland DH9 was one of the first British bomber aircraft designed for strategic attacks on German cities, railways and airfields during the First World War. Our DH9, which you can see in our AirSpace exhibition, was built by the furniture manufacturer Waring and Gillow of Hammersmith, London, in 1917. It was intended for assignment to No.110 Squadron as a training machine. It was never used, but instead placed in storage. In the early 1930s, it was one of three DH9s transferred under the Imperial Gift Scheme to Ganga Singhji, Maharaja of the State of Bikaner in western India. It has been restored to its original factory configuration.

Also on display in AirSpace is the Beardmore 160hp aero-engine that powered the Royal Aircraft Factory FE2b aircraft and the Le Rhone 9C 80hp aero-engine, a French-designed First World War rotary piston engine which was fitted to a wide range of French, British and Italian aircraft.

Battle of Britain exhibition

The Bristol F2B fighter on display in the Battle of Britain exhibition was one of the British fighter aircraft developed during the First World War to attack enemy aircraft and to protect our air force. The F2B had a pilot who sat in the front cockpit and an observer who sat behind; both were armed with a machine gun. The F2B was fast and manoeuvrable. It was a success from 1917 on the Western Front in France and Belgium and was also used to defend Britain from attacks by German bombers.

Our Bristol Fighter was issued to No.39 Home Defence Squadron at North Weald in September 1918. Bristol Fighters continued to be used at RAF Duxford into the early 1920s for pilot training.

Also on display in the Battle of Britain exhibition is a Royal Flying Corps (RFC) mobile workshop.

During the First World War, the RFC often operated out of simple temporary airfields, which didn稚 have permanent buildings and facilities. The squadrons relied on vehicle-mounted equipment that could be moved from one location to another.

This workshop was equipped with power tools, a lathe, drills and a grinder, as well as a wide selection of hand tools.

Also in our Battle of Britain exhibition is a Thornycroft J Type Lorry, with a 13-pounder anti-aircraft gun, which provided mobile anti-aircraft cover for British forces during the First World War.

The Maybach aero engine, which can be seen in the Battle of Britain exhibition, powered airships, and later, aircraft.

Also currently in our Battle of Britain exhibition, and presently undergoing conservation work, is a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2C, the first reconnaissance aircraft to be ordered in quantity for the Royal Flying Corps. This aircraft will go on permanent display at IWM Duxford in due course.

American Air Museum

In the American Air Museum is a replica Spad S-13, a French fighter aircraft used by the United States Air Service during the First World War. This heavy but strong French-built aircraft equipped 15 of the 16 US Air Service fighter squadrons that served on theWestern Front.

You can also see a Liberty V12 aero engine, the world痴 first mass-produced aircraft engine. It was installed in the de Havilland DH4, the only American-built aircraft to be used on the Western Front during the First World War.

Land Warfare

Our LandWarfare exhibition houses one of the finest collections of tanks, military vehicles and artillery in the country.

The First World War was, above all, a conflict of artillery. In the LandWarfare exhibition you can seea range of artillery pieces, including a British 4.5 inch Field Howitzer gun which served in France from 1914 to August 1917; a British 6 inch Heavy Howitzer gun which fired over 1,500 rounds between June 1915 and February 1916 and a French 155mm Schneider Heavy Howitzer gun, which was designed for use on the Western Front and proved so effective that it was used into the inter-war period.

We also have a variety of First World War vehicles in our LandWarfare exhibition. The BritishMark 10 General Service Wagon is a horse-drawn wagon built in 1915 and is typical of the period. The Italian Fiat 15 1スton Light Truck was the most widely used Italian truck of the First WorldWar. The United States FWD General Service Truck was an American commercial vehicle supplied to the Allies from 1916 and most frequently employed as an artillery tractor. You can also see two British Simplex Rail Tractors, which were used to transport supplies from rear depots to the front line trenches in France from 1916 to 1918.

Key facts Duxford in the First World War

キ Duxford was built near the end of the First World War. At one stage known as No.35 Training Depot Station, its role was to train pilots.

キ Aeroplanes were still quite a recent invention when Duxford opened, only 15 years after the first powered flight.

キ Duxford was built as one half of a pair of airfields. Fowlmere, a nearly identical airfield,was built just a few miles away.

キ Duxford became RAF Duxford in April 1918, when the Army痴 Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service joined together to form the Royal Air Force.

キ Training to be a pilot in the FirstWorldWar was dangerous. 126 pupils became pilots at Duxford but 13 were killed in flying accidents.

Why was Duxford built?

To increase the number and quality of British military pilots, a new training systemwas introduced halfway through the First World War. Part of that system involved setting up new training bases called Training Depot Stations (TDS). Previously, a pilot would learn to fly in different stages at different airfields. At a Training Depot Station, he could learn everything he needed in one place. Over 60 Training Depot Stations were built in the UK, including Duxford and nearby Fowlmere. They formed part of a huge training operation, spread across the UK and overseas.

Building Duxford

A Scottish company, P andW Anderson Ltd, was given the job of building Duxford. The total cost was supposed to be 」90,000. Building began in October 1917. Nearly 900 men worked at Duxford and Fowlmere. They worked shifts, seven days per week. The cost of the work at Duxford and Fowlmere increased; the cost of Duxford alone rose to 」460,000. The work fell behind schedule. Villagers complained about workers left 訴dle waiting for supplies and about builders damaging local roads. Despite all of these problems, building work continued and Duxford was finally completed shortly before the end of the war.

Duxford in 1918

Although the airfields were not finished, military personnel began to arrive in March 1918. Duxford and Fowlmere weren稚 used for their designed purpose until very near the war痴 end. First, they were used as mobilisation stations where whole squadrons pilots, ground crew and aeroplanes were put together before being shipped off to fight in France.

America entered the war in 1917 and, at different times, the ground crew of six American Aero Squadrons were based at Duxford. They helped to construct the temporary wood and canvas hangars that housed some of Duxford痴 aircraft while building work continued.

When the First World War ended, there were around 800 people based at Duxford. As well as the young men learning to fly and the ground crews working on the aircraft, there were also nearly 150 women of the Women痴 Royal Air Force (WRAF). They did many jobs that used to belong only to men.

Images copyright IWM.

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