the last airshow of September at Duxford commemorates the Batlle of
Britain, honouring the few to whom we owe so much. Bringing to life
Duxford's finest hour as an important Second World War fighter station
defending Great Britain from aerial attack in 1940.
Besides this commemoration, Duxford also celebrated its centenary.
Here you have an overview of Duxford's past :
1917/1918 : Duxford was build to train the pilots from the Royal
Flying Corps (RFC)
- 01 april 1918 : Duxford becomes an RAF station as the new Royal Air
Force (RAF) and Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) take over from the RFC
- 1919 : World War I being over, flying ends at Duxford
- 1920 : flying at RAF Duxford starts again sharing the field with the
University Air Squadron Flying Club from the Cambridge University
- 1924 : Duxford becomes an RAF Fighter station
- 1938 : Duxford receives its first Spitfire, which will become one of
the most famous aircraft of the Second World War
- 1939 : World War II
- 1940 : during the Battle of Britain, Duxford plays a key part when
British RAF and the German Luftwaffe fight in the skies over Southern
- April 1943 : the RAF hands over Duxford the the American allies,
which will use the airfield until the end of the war.
- 1944 : a hard runway is build to accomodate heavier aircraft.
- 06 june 1944 : D-Day. Fighter planes from Duxford support the
invasion force landing in Normandy.
- December 1945 : Duxford is returned to the RAF.
- 1949/1951 : rebuilding works to turn it into a modern fighter base
close the station. A new concrete runway will allow the operation of
aircraft fighting the Cold War.
- 1957 : the English Electric Lightning is displayed during an RAF
Duxford airshow. This was the first British aircraft to fly faster
than the speed of sound.
- 1961 : being to far from the coast to intercept an enemy aircraft
coming from Europe during the Cold War, RAF Duxford is closed down.
- 1971 : the Imperial War Museum (IWM) starts to use Duxford to store
- 1976 : IWM opens Duxford to the public as a permanent museum site
- 2017 : IWM Duxford celebrates 100 years of being a busy working
airfield and remains a home of aviation with their partners restoring
and renovating classic warbirds and fighter aircraft. Regular visitors
are the RAF, Royal Navy, Army Air Corp and the US Air Force.
Celebrating this centenary, the Duxford Battle of Britain airshow
offered various activities to the numerous visitors. Going back in
time to the Home Front Village, hearing The Debonaires Jump Jive
Swinging Little Big band and wartime harmonies from the Bluebird
Belles. Meeting wartime living history groups and seeing the IWM's
Supermarine Spitfire replica.
Experiencing a visual reality exhibition of the Battle of Britain or
the DX17, a contemporary art installation by Nick Ryan, commemorating
100 years of Duxford's history and stories. Visiting the various
museums and exhibitions and much, much more,...
(By Marc Arys)