Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - Translation: David Niemegeerts © sbap 2016
RAF Elvington aerial view (Google earth) Aerial view of the Yorkshire museum site  (Google earth)

The site map with the building numbers
This will help your virtual visit of or page

The Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial is an air museum in England on the site of the former RAF Elvington airfield. The museum was founded, and first opened to the public, in the early 1980s.
The Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial is the largest independent air museum in Britain and is the most original Second World War RAF Bomber Command station open to the public. It is also the only Allied Air Forces Memorial in Europe. The museum has a good international reputation and profile with established branches in Canada and France and is supported by over 4,000 registered "friends" across the world. It is a Corporate Member of Friends of the Few (Battle of Britain Memorial) and the Royal Aeronautical Society.
The Museum's principal activity is in education and the history of flight, through which it is involved with aerospace manufacturers and organisations via its long term "Reach for the Sky" project which delivered the first KS2 History of Aviation educational resource book to all 26,000 primary schools in UK, supported by RAeS and the Ministry of Transport.
The Museum has around 50 aircraft spanning the development of aviation from 1853 up to the latest GR4 Tornado. Several aircraft including Victor, Nimrod, Buccaneer, Sea Devon, SE5a, Eastchurch Kitten, DC3 Dakota; are kept live and operated on special "Thunder Days" during the year. Over 20 historic vehicles and a Registered Archive containing over 500,000 historic artefacts and documents are also preserved at the Museum, which is also the Official Archive for the National Aircrew Association and National Air Gunners Association. It is nationally registered and accredited through DCMS/Arts Council England and is a registered charity.
A permanent exhibition on RAF Bomber Command was opened at the museum by life member, Sir David Jason. In 2010 a new exhibition called "Pioneers of Aviation", and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was opened featuring the lives and achievements of Sir George Cayley, Sir Barnes Wallis, Robert Blackburn, Nevil Shute and Amy Johnson.
The site: The 81,000 m2 parkland site includes buildings and hangars, some of which are "listed", and the site incorporates a 28,000 m2 managed environment area and a DEFRA and EA supported self-sustainability project called "Nature of Flight". The museum is situated next to a 3000m international standard runway. Whilst the Royal Air Force carried on using the runway for aircraft landing and take-off training until 1992, the buildings and hangars had long been abandoned. In 1983, a group started clearing the undergrowth and the site was ready to be unveiled as the Yorkshire Air Museum in 1986.
Events: The Museum undertakes several annual events each year within the general attraction and entertainment area as well as educational or academic events for specific audiences, plus several corporate events in association with companies such as Bentley, Porsche, banking, government agencies etc. The unique annual Allied Air Forces Memorial Day takes place in September.

 
RAF Elvington History
 

Originally a grass airfield, RAF Elvington was completely rebuilt with three hardened runways in 1942, as a sub-station of RAF Pocklington. Grouped with RAF Melbourne, the three airfields became known as "42 Base", within 4 Group.
The operational aircraft were Handley Page Halifax four-engined bombers operated by 77 Squadron RAF. The squadron took part in the Battle of the Ruhr and in many other operations aimed at the destruction of the German war industry. In early 1944, 77 Squadron moved to the newly opened airfield at Full Sutton and Elvington became host to two French Air Force Squadrons operating within No.4 Group: No. 346 (Guyenne) and No.347 (Tunisie). Both squadrons played a major part in the bomber offensive against Germany. Whilst at Elvington, 77 Squadron lost 82 aircraft and 450 aircrew (comprising of Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders as well as British) and this comprised more than half their fatalities during the whole war. 77 Squadron lost a total of 883 airman.
On the night of March 3rd, 1945, German night-fighters launched Operation Gisela against the 450 heavy bombers of 4, 5 & 6 Groups RAF Bomber Command returning from a raid on the synthetic oil plants at Kamen, in the Ruhr and the Dortmund Canal. At around midnight 100 Junkers 88's crossed the English coast from the Thames to Yorkshire and infiltrated the returning bomber streams. Two hours later at least 24 bombers had been shot down and a further 20 damaged.
Having shot down two Halifax bombers of 158 Squadron returning to RAF Lissett near Bridlington, Hauptman Johann Dreher of 13 Nachtjagdeschwader Gruppen (Night fighter destroyer group), in his Junkers 88G turned to attack the French Air Force Halifax's landing at Elvington. The runway lights were switched off and all aircraft ordered (in French) to divert to other airfields. It was 1:50am and as the alarms sounded, Capitaine Notelle's Halifax pulled sharply up and, narrowly escaping, headed north towards RAF Croft. He was stalked by another German night fighter and was hit 3 times before crash landing near Darlington. All the crew survived. Meanwhile, Dreher's Junkers 88 continued to attack RAF Elvington, strafing the road and a passing taxi. Circling round for another attack, it clipped a tree and crashed into Dunnington Lodge farmhouse, killing all 5 crew; the farmer, Richard Moll; his wife and mother. A black cross can be seen by the roadside in front of the farmhouse near the Museum on the road back to York. The war ended just 9 weeks later and this is probably the scene of the very last Luftwaffe aircraft crash on British soil.
In October 1945, the French Squadrons left for Bordeaux and Elvington became part of 40 Group Maintenance Command until 1952 when it became part of the expansion programme for US Strategic Air Command who planned to use B36 bombers to deliver their nuclear deterent. The runway was lengthened to 1.92 miles, one of the longest in Britain, but with the advent of submarine launched "Polaris" nuclear missiles the base never became operational and it was vacated in 1958.
In the early 1960s, the Blackburn Aircraft Company at Brough, near Hull, used the runway for test flying the prototype Buccaneer aircraft. Afterwards, the RAF flying training schools at Church Fenton and Linton-on-Ouse used the runway to practise circuits and landings. 
RAF Elvington finally closed in March 1992 and was sold by the Ministry of Defence in January 1999.

 
RAF Elvington during the war (1943) 77 Squadron Halifax at Elvington 
From October 5th, 1942 to May 15th, 1944
346 French Squadron (GB/2/23 Guyenne)
From May 16th, 1944 to October 20th, 1945
347 French Squadron (GB/1/25 Tunisie)
From June 20th, 1944 to October 20th, 1945
The Blackburn Buccaneer NA.39 prototype did some trials at Elvington 
 
The Yorkshire Museum
Area 23 & 24: Outdoor Aircraft exhibition
 
Hawker Hunter FGA.78  (former KLU N-268) English Electric Canberra T.4  (WH846)
Hawker Siddeley (Blackburn) Buccaneer S.2 (XN974) Panavia Tornado GR.4  (XZ631)
Dassault Mirage IIIE  (358) Fairey Gannet AEW.3  (XL502)
BAe Harrier GR.3  (XV748) BAe Nimrod MR2  (XV250)
Handlay Page Victor K.2  (XL231)
 
1991 Gulf War markings... ...and amount operational refueling during the war
Armstrong Whitworth (Gloster) Metor NF.14  (WS788) English Electric Lightning F.6  (XS903)
Panavia Tornado GR.1  (ZA354) Lockheed / Canadair CT-133 Silver Star  (21417)
Gloster Javelin FAW.9  (XH767) Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S.2  (XV168)
Amazing noses
Building 1: 609 (West Riding) Squadron room
 
The Wall of Fame 609 Squadron with some Belgian pilot names
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia  (Replica)
 
 
Many souvenirs, pictures and painting of this Squadron
The scramble bell, the 609 crest and a view like it was in 1940
Typhoon part representing Roland Beamont plane Rest of the crashed Typhoon RB250 / PR-A
The plane was the one of the Belgian pilot Alain de Blommaert de Soye
Air to ground attack at Wageningen picture by the Beldian pilot Jan Mathys Remy Van Lierde preparing for a mission in 1942.
Note the stamps applied on the bomb
"Billy the Goat", 609 Squadron mascot
Some painting representing the 609 Squadron in action
 
 
 
Building 19: Handley Page Aircraft Workshop
 
Avro Anson T.21  (VV901)
Royal Aircraft Factory Be.2C  (6232) (Replica) Cockpit section of a Canberra and a Handley Page Herald
Cockpit section of a Jet Provost The Jet Provost cockpit

 From left to right:
"Tallboy" bomb (12000 Lbs) - Mk2 Bomb (500 Lbs) - 
Mk4 bomb (1000 Lbs) - WE.177 Thermo Nuclear bomb (400 Kt)
Up: Bae Dynamics Sea Eagle Air to Sea Missile
Bottom: Hawker Siddeley Dynamics Martel AJ168 Air to Ground missile
Short Brothers Tigercat Ground to Air missile The Tigercat is a land-based mobile version of Seacat 
based on a three-round, trailer-mounted launcher towed by a Land Rover
 
Building 12: Control Tower
 
The control tower area  This building was used by the BBC for a Dambusters documentary
 Tower office Mission planning
A room The tower officer
  Communications room
  Movements of the day...
 
Building 17: Canadian Memorial T2 Hangar
 
 
Handley Page Halifax III  (LV907). The plane is a reconstruction based on a section of the fuselage of Halifax II, HR792
The wings came from Hastings, TG536, found at RAF Catterick.
The real LV907 exhibed in Oxford Street, Central London 1945 "Friday the 13th" and the 158 Squadron crew members.
 The unusual name was given to the plane after 158 Squadron had several aircraft with the registration F shot down in succession. When their new aircraft arrived with the same letter on it, the Flight Officer decided to try and break the curse.
On the bomber's first mission on March 30th, 1944 it saved the life of pilot Joe Hitcman who was swapped from his regular aircraft on to the new one at the last minute. His old plane was shot down, but Friday returned to base unscathed
The right side wear the colours of the 346 French Squadron (Guyenne) 
based at RAF Elvington from June 1944 to October 1945
The left side is named “Friday the 13th” in honour of Halifax, LV907, 
which completed 128 operations with 158 Squadron
The Boulton Paul C Type MK.I rear turret 346 French Squadron markings
 Wright Flyer 1903  (Replica) Cayley Glider  (Replica)
 Blackburn Mercury Monoplane  (Replica) Avro 504K  (Replica)
 
 Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A  (Replica) Port Victoria P.V.8 Eastchurch Kitten  (Replica)
 De Havilland Mosquito NH.11  (HJ711) HJ711 is a composite airframe of different Moquito parts
 The guns and radar antenna
4 Browning Mk 1.2F2 (7.7mm) and 4 Hispano-Suiza HS-404 (20 mm)
The bottom Hispano-Suiza HS-404 guns mounting
 Douglas C-47B Dakota IV  (KN353) The Dakota pilot office plus radio and navigator post
 Waco Hadrian CG-4A  (237123) Didactic view of the interior
 Messerschmitt Bf-109-G6  (Replica) Fairchild Argus II  (FK338)
 Slingsby T.7  (RA854) Beagle (Auster) Terrier 2  (TJ704)
 Gloster Meteor F.8  (WL168) but painted as WK864 The plane represent a F.8 of the 616 Squadron
 De Havilland DH-100 Vampire T.11  (XH278)
 Hawker Hunter T.7 (XL572) but paint as the XL571 of the "Blue Diamonds" De Havilland DH-104 Devon  (VP967)
 Saro Skeeter AOP.12  (XM553) Westland-Sikorsky Drogonfly HR.5  (WH991)
 Hunting Percival Jet Provost T.4  (XP640)
 Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S.2B  (XX901) The Buccaneer nose unfolded
 Rolls Royce Avon 117 engine Aden 30 mm gun

The Ikara missile was an Australian ship-launched anti-submarine missile, named after an Australian Aboriginal word for "throwing stick". It launched an acoustic torpedo to a range of 10 nautical miles (19 km), allowing fast-reaction attacks against submarines at ranges that would otherwise require the launching ship to close for attack, placing itself at risk. Also, by flying to the general area of the target, the engagement time was dramatically reduced, giving the target less time to respond. Submariners referred to IKARA as "Insufficient Knowledge and Random Action".

Ikara was also operated by the Brazilian Navy, Chilean Navy, Royal Navy, and Royal New Zealand Navy. It was phased out in the early 1990s. The British purchased Ikara to fit to the two new CVA-01 aircraft carriers planned (and later cancelled) in the 1960s, and their escorts, the Type 82 destroyers, of which only one, HMS Bristol was built. With the cancellation of the remaining escorts, the British were left with purchased Ikara missiles in storage, and opted to fit them into eight existing Batch 1 Leander class frigates in need of modernization.

 Hawker Siddeley Dynamics Martel AJ168 Air to Ground missile De Havilland Firestreak Air to Air missile
 Tilly Mk I DC  4 x 2 truck ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" radar guided anti aircraft system
Mignet HM.14 "Pou du Ciel"  (G-AFFI) Air command sports Elite gyroplane  (G-TFRB)
 Europa prototype 001  (G-YURO)
 
Building 9: Bomber Command Exhibition
 
  90 cm British WWII anti-aircraft searchlight
 
  Giant wall pictures to show the Bomber Command in action
Bomb trolley Type C Mk IV Handley Page Halifax main wheel
 The specific tire design of the Halifax main wheel Rear gunner...what a job!
 Destructions in Germany

The 77 Squadron memory room

  77 Squadron short facts overview
 
Building 4: Gas Bag and Super Zeppelins exhibition
 
 The First World War and the bolloons attack
 
 
Building 3: Air Gunners exhibition
 
 From left to right: 1. Boulton Paul MkVIII Type A (Mid turret) - 2. Fraser Nash 150 Mk I (Mid turret) - 3. Fraser Nash 121 (Rear turret) -
4. Fraser Nash 120 (Rear turret) - 5. Fraser Nash FN-5 (Front turret) - 6. Boulton Paul C Type MK.I (Under restoration) - 
7. Armstrong Whitworth plus " K " machine gun (Mid turret)
  Other gunnery items exhibition
 RAF clothing RAF Radio Operator
  Westland Wapiti Gunner
Flying helmets (from top to bottom)

Type "B" (Introduced 1940)
Used by all flying personnel

Type "C" (1941)
Used by Bomber Command (Oxygen mask addition)

Type "D" (1942 - 1943)
For Middle East and Tropical use

Type "E" (1943)
Same as "C" type but made of unlined Airtex material
Used by Coastal Command and Bomber Command

 
 
 
Building 20: Pioneers of Aviation exhibition
 
 
 The British Father of aviation Sir George Cayley Some great British aviation names
  His Majesty's Airship R100, known simply as R100, 
was a privately designed and built rigid British airship
 Amy Johnson, (1 July 1903 – 5 January 1941) was a pioneering English aviator and was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia. She set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. She flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary and died during a ferry flight. Nevil Shute Norway (17 January 1899 – 12 January 1960) was an English novelist and aeronautical engineer. In 1931, with the cancellation of the R100 project, Shute teamed up with the talented de Havilland trained designer A. Hessell Tiltman to found the aircraft construction company Airspeed Ltd.[
 Sir Barnes Neville Wallis (26 September 1887 – 30 October 1979), was an English scientist, engineer and inventor. He is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the Royal Air Force in Operation Chastise (the "Dambusters" raid) to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II. The raid on the Ruhr dams caused uproar in the British press and gave positive spirit back to the English people.
 The bouncing bomb designed by Barnes Wallis Showing the system adapted to the Lancaster aircraft

 The true catapult that was used for the tests on a water basin.
 Robert Blackburn (26 March 1885 – 10 September 1955) was an English aviation pioneer and the founder of Blackburn Aircraft. On his death in Devon in 1955 the Blackburn company's production facilities became part of Hawker Siddeley.
 
Building 18: Sea Rescue, Woman at War and Handley Page exhibitions
 
Sea rescue exhibition  Woman at War
 
 Sir Frederick Handley Page (15 November 1885 – 21 April 1962) was an English industrialist who was a pioneer in the aircraft industry and became known as the father of the heavy bomber. His company Handley Page Limited was best known for its large aircraft such as the Handley Page 0/400 and Halifax bombers and the H.P.42 airliner. The latter was the flagship of the Imperial Airways fleet between the wars and remarkable at the time for having been involved in no passenger deaths. He is also known for his invention, with Gustav Lachmann, of the leading edge slot to improve the stall characteristics of aircraft wings.
Frederick Handley Page was the uncle of World War II flying ace Geoffrey Page.
 
Area 7: Memorial Garden - Building 6: The Station chapel
 
Dedicated to all the crew who gave their life for our freedom
 A place of deep contemplation Reflections of the past
The Station Chapel
Hawker Hurricane Mk I (P3873)  (Replica)
 
Click on the banner to get more information's about the museum
 

Museum main page- Homepage