Tuesday 6 April 2010

RAF Museum Hendon

As promised here's my pictures from my visit to the RAF Museum at Hendon. The last time I went there I was about 9 or 10 and went with the Cub Scouts (showing my age now). Quite a bit has changed in the intervening thirty years!

We missed out the Battle of Britain Hall because time was limited, the kids were getting restless, and... I didn't know there was another building to explore!!! The Museum is free to enter so we were just waved inside by the reception desk and never picked up a map or leaflet. Inside the museum there weren't any maps (that I recall) indicating additional buildings on site... all of which adds up to a very poor excuse for missing an entire building. On the plus side, the museum is free and its only about 40 minutes drive from my home, so a return visit is definitely on the cards at some point in the near future.

The museum itself is well laid out and every exhibit is clearly labeled and in context with the aircraft around it. The Milestones of Flight hall was particularly interesting as it held some of the most important aircraft of the 20th century including a model of the Wright Flyer, a Bleriot XI, a Sopwith Camel and Fokker DVII and one of my favourite aircraft of the second world war, the Messerschmitt Me262.

Some of the aircraft in the Bomber Hall are truly awe inspiring when seen up close. The Lancaster is a massive plane and rightfully takes pride of place in the centre of the hall. However one of the most interesting exhibits was the Handley Page Halifax. This plane has not been restored and so bears the scars of its crash landing and sinking in the icy Lake Hoklingen in central Norway 25 miles east of Trondheim. This plane took part in a failed attempt to bomb the Tirpitz and was damaged by flak over the target.

The Historic Hangers Hall contains a lot of helicopters but for me the most interesting plane was the Heinkel He162. This was one of Germany's war winning weapons that an increasingly desperate Hitler thought could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Built largely of wood due to light alloy shortages the He162 had some alarming handling characteristics and could only claim two unverified kills during it's whole service life.

This is easily a museum where I could spend a whole day and more besides. It will definitely be revisiting it later in the year (to see the bits I missed!) although next time I may go on my own so I can linger as long as I like.


  1. Very interesting blog,
    thank you,

  2. Very good pictures; thanks. It's a great museum; must get there again... :-)

    The big 4-engined silver 'plane is a B17G with the undernose twin-gun turret. At one point a 2-engined Wellington bomber is labelled as an Avro Lancaster (just before the real Avro Lancaster sequence) and the last plane in the sequence is in fact the 2-seat trainer version of the Focke-Wulf 190, not a Messerschmitt 109.



  3. Personally I love RAF Hendon, but my kids have always considered a trip there to be the entertainment equivalent of a posting to the Eastern front!

  4. David, thanks for the details. I've amended the labels now.


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