Navigator contains information and in some cases images relating to items in the RAF Museum collection. While it is not a complete catalogue, it does offer you an opportunity to search and discover more about the variety of objects we hold. To help you there are listings of current subject areas and updates in 'Collection Highlights'. To introduce our collections we have compiled a small selection of highlights below...
Alongside regular training, members of the RAF also received training in escape and evasion. MI9 was set up to provide this training during the Second World War, and it was also the provider of escape aids to Prisoners of War. Often manufacturers were commandeered under the Official Secrets Act to put escape and evasion materials into goods as they were produced.
During the Second World War, 2,803 RAF aircrew that were shot down either escaped from captivity or evaded capture completely. This gave hope to the Allied Forces that were operating in enemy territory that it was possible to get home.
Rolls-Royce Limited was founded in 1906 and produced its first aero engine, the Rolls-Royce Eagle, in 1914. They produced half of all the engines used in Allied aircraft during the First World War and have continued to play a leading role in the development of aero engine technology, producing some of the most prominent examples of commercial and military gas turbine engines.
This selection includes a range of Rolls-Royce engines, including the Merlin (1933), which was used to power the Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire and Avro Lancaster.
The RAF Museum's Fine Art collection includes over 2,000 paintings.
The collection includes works by Emile Verpilleux (1888-1964), Julius Stafford-Baker (1904-1988), Frank Wootton (1911-1988), Roland Pitchforth (1895-1982), Cuthbert Orde (1888-1968), Thomas Hennell (1903-1945) and Charles Cundall (1890-1971).
Charles Edward Brown (1896-1982) was an active aviation photographer from the 1920's to the 1960's. His collection of aviation photographs is one of the largest compiled by a single photographer and he is reknowned as one of the finest air-to-air photographers.
Having begun his career as a society photographer he gradually produced more and more work for the Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry and aircraft manufacturers until this became his main body of work. He retired in 1965 and the RAF Museum acquired his collection in 1979.
So far the Museum has catalogued over 16,000 Charles Brown photographs, mainly 4x5in glass plate negatives, from the collection and all these records and images can now be found on Navigator. Here can be found a sample from the period 1939-1945.
A proportion of the photographs, including colour images, have also been made available to purchase at http://www.rafmuseumphotos.com/
The RAF Museum holds one of the largest and most significant collections of aircraft in the world. Over 250 aircraft are preserved by the Museum.
The selection shown here gives you an idea of our diverse collection, which includes fighters, bombers, transport aircraft, monoplanes, biplanes, triplanes, seaplanes, flying boats, gyroplanes and helicopters.
Various types of vehicle have been used by the RAF during its history.
Here is a selection of just some of the many and varied vehicles in our collection, which includes armoured cars, tractors, refuelling tankers, motorcycles, a rescue launch, a barrage balloon winch lorry and a locomotive.