The Centre’s collections relating to the War in the Air
contain material relating to diverse aspects of aviation experience from fighter pilots and bomber crews to the ground staff responsible for their safety and the support provided by the women’s services. The collection encompasses the various countries caught up in this conflict and we are proud to hold the archives of the Mosquito Aircrew Association. Please also take time to visit our Key Aspects pages to look in more depth at the varied events and campaigns involving air force support that we plan to include in the coming year.
War in the Air – Allied: British and Commonwealth
Of course, the Royal Air Force played a vital role during the Second World War, both in home defence and offensive operations in Europe and the Far East. The Battle of Britain remains at the forefront of popular consciousness when considering the role of Fighter Command, yet in photo-reconnaissance, night-fighter work and as bomber escorts the pilots had other important roles. For those who piloted and crewed the bombers it was an equally arduous job, undertaken at great personal risk. The intensive bombing campaign over Europe, aimed at strategic targets and industrial centres was carried out too in other theatres of the war, such as the North African campaign. We also feature personal experiences from those involved in the continual maintenance of the aircraft and support of the crews, in mine-laying, Coastal Command, Transport Command and the women of the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force).
This area of the archive is developing well and we would like to expand our holdings to encompass further personal experiences of those involved in Commonwealth airforces. In these pages we aim to include biographies, memoir extracts, photographs and documents as time permits.
Should you wish to contribute memories or memorabilia please see how to Donate Material.
War in the Air – Allied: Europe
The Polish airforce suffered severe losses as German troops invaded, yet some escaped to play a vital role operating from British soil. Shortly after, the French, Belgian and Dutch airforces were overwhelmed by the German advance, yet the Free French too operated with the RAF, as well as Norwegians and Czechs. As a newly developing area of the archive we would welcome more contributions of memories and memorabilia from those people from Europe who flew in the RAF, some in designated European squadrons as well as personnel of the Soviet airforce. For more details please see how to Donate Material
War in the Air – Allied: USA
The USA Air Force operated from British airfields while conducting the lengthy air war over Europe as well as pursuing a vigorous air campaign in the Pacific from Carriers and island bases. The Centre holds a good collection of personal experiences of those involved in the American airforce, and examples are shown here, illustrated by biographies, memoir extracts, photographs and documents. However we would make further contributions of memories and memorabilia to the archive very welcome. For further information please see how to Donate Material.
War in the Air – Axis
This area of the archive is newly developing and we plan to feature personal experiences of those involved in the Luftwaffe, Regia Aeronautica or Japanese airforce whether as fighter pilots or bomber pilots and crew, together with the experiences of ground support staff, as time permits. We would welcome further contributions of memories and memorabilia. For further information please see how to Donate Material.