Force Development Visit to Imperial War Museum London

On 28 Mar 17, as part of the on-going training programme introduced by the Station Training and Development Flight, 9 personnel from RAF Wyton visited the Imperial War Museum in London.

On 28 Mar 17, as part of the on-going training programme introduced by the Station Training and Development Flight, 9 personnel from RAF Wyton visited the Imperial War Museum in London.

The premise of the visit was to enable those attending to gain a greater understanding of Air Power throughout the last century as well as gaining an understanding of how conflicts that Britain has been involved in have affected those who endured them.

The Imperial War Museum was founded on 5 March 1917 and was originally designed to record both the Military and Civil war effort of Britain and its Empire in WW1.  It was originally proposed as an idea by Sir Alfred Mondon MP as a means of recording the events of the First World War that at the time were still taking place.  The idea was approved by the War Cabinet and was formally established in 1920.  The London branch of the museum was originally opened in Crystal Palace by King George V in June 1920 however, in July 1936 the Duke of York who would shortly become King George VI, reopened the museum in Lambeth where it can currently be
found today.

During the recent visit, members of RAF Wyton delivered presentations regarding the evolution of Air Power throughout both World Wars and other conflicts that the UK has been involved in to date. The Imperial War Museum in London has many exhibits that focus on specific conflicts. The briefs that were delivered during the visit gave insight into some of these and the effect that it had on how war was conducted on both sides. It was interesting to learn that during WW2 the museum itself was closed to the public from 1940-1946 and that many of the vulnerable collections were evacuated to storage outside of London. Following WW2 the Imperial War Museum’s terms of reference were changed to encompass both WW1 and WW2 and then again in 1953 in order to include all military operations that Britain and the Commonwealth have been involved in. Our presentations allowed us to explore, translate and project our investigations to see how they can be applied to operations today and the future.

The exhibits that were shown during the visit were of great interest with some such as the holocaust exhibition being very emotive. The idea of the museum itself was to make sure that not only were the efforts of those directly involved in the war fighting remembered, but also the sacrifices and loss endured by the innocent victims of war.

By SAC Laura Orme