Exhibition Name: Lancaster and Mosquito night time Experience
Organisation :The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre
Address:Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre
Dates:3rd. November 2018
From their website: –
“The largest Bomber Command museum in the country!
Relive A World War Two Bomber Airfield Here At East Kirkby.
Experience The Sights And Sounds, Smells and Atmosphere of a bomber airfield.
The only place in the country to see a Lancaster Bomber on an original wartime airfield, and ride in it! (pre book only). Including, original Control Tower, welcoming NAAFI and an emotionally evocative Memorial Chapel containing the 848 names of personnel who gave their lives from this airfield.”
The editors seek to visit a variety of museums in our quest to: –
- Learn and be educated through experience and contact in a spectrum of fields which touch Lotus
- To discover best practice in use of museum facilities, exhibits and methods of interpretation
- To appreciate commercial considerations that permit museums to be viable, deliver on objectives [ at LAHC to get their Lancaster air worthy] and remain independent
To these ends the editor and his son visited the LAHC to experience the night time fire up of the Lancaster and Mosquito.
Both of these fantastic examples of aviation, military and engineering design are worthy of forensic examination.
On a cold, sharp and clear November evening close to the Fens and Wash of Lincolnshire we were able witness an indelible experience of the fire-up and taxiing of these magnificent planes.
The experience with a little imagination also took spectators back to the war years when the courageous airmen flew missions.
Part of the danger was getting off the ground with full bomb and fuel load.
With the engines being warmed up the editor speculated on the engineering calculations that needed to be performed to get these machines in to the air.
Subscribers might like to see the directly relevant and integrated A&R pieces that complement and help structure this article: –
- British Aviation
- De Haviland Museum and Mosquito
- Aviation museum reviews including Sunderland
The Night time Run Up Experience
At close to 7pm a large crowd were able to experience an assault on virtually the five senses.
This is truly inedible as the camouflaged silhouette of the massive Lancaster looms and the sequentially the four Rolls-Royce liquid cooled, V12 engines producing 1280hp are spun into life.
The Lancaster designed by Roy Chadwich has enormous charisma and presence and this was accentuated in the cold precise night.
As the engines are started there is the distinct smell of the engine oil and exhaust and the down draught of the four Merlin’s and their 13 feet diameter propellers. It is unforgettable to be behind and feel the power.
Figure 1. Editors photograph of Mosquito
Figure 2. Engineering working drawing from A&R library
Figure 3. Editors photograph of Mosquito
Figure 4. Editors photograph of Lancaster
“If one person goes away with a better knowledge of Bomber Command, their losses and what they gave for our country, we are one step closer to repaying our debt to them.”
Lincs Aviation Heritage Centre
The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre is a family run museum and was set up over 20 years ago. It is now widely seen as a living memorial to the 55,500 men of Bomber Command who lost their lives during WW2. It holds one of the rarest aircraft, an Avro Lancaster Bomber, in its collection along with many wartime vehicles including a Ford WOT1 Crew Bus, the only one of its kind known in existence.
We feel that Bomber Command has never been given the recognition that it deserves and we see it as our job to educate both old and young as to the acts of heroism and dedication shown by Bomber Command throughout the Second World War.
The average age of air crew, each man a volunteer, was 22 and not even 1 in 4 completed their first tour of 30 operations, most definitely a debt that we cannot repay but also a debt that should not be forgotten.
We are based on the old wartime airfield of RAF East Kirkby. We retain the original 1940’s Control Tower and our Hangar is built on the original wartime hangar base.
Our Museum is built up entirely around RAF Bomber Command but the exhibits and displays span many areas such as The Home Front and Escape and Evasion giving you a wide perspective on wartime Britain and the trials and tribulation of the Second World War.
The Museum is expanding every year and it is our common ambition to fully rebuild it to a complete original wartime airfield preserving the memory of Bomber Command for many years to come.”
On site facilities
At the time of our visit the following we available :-
- Access to hangers with exhibits [ note Kennedy Squire subject of dedicated article]
- Hydraulic landing gear [ noting scale ;Lancaster wheel diameter nearly as tall as an average person]
- Related commercial offer of specialists including memorabilia, aviation artists and photographers etc.
- Photographs of the base and photocopies of airmen’s logbooks etc.
- Control tower
- Airfield plant and transport , tractors etc.
- Huts and buildings of the era
- The total ambience and historical accuracy helps in a deduction of the role , form , function and conduct of the airbase
- It’s worth noting East Kikby has been used as film set pertaining to WWII
The editor and his son had a memorable experience. This helped feed previous knowledge but importantly triggered the intention to research related issues.
It’s likely we will return as there is more to witness.
The experience was shared by a considerable audience and it was evident that this was not just aviation enthusiasts. There were a considerable number of families present.
The flat nature of the site makes it disability friendly and again the large numbers of wheelchair and other disabled visitors confirmed its accessibility.
Although there were large crowds this did not detract from the event and access to hangers allowed a tour prior to the main event.
Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.
These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.
In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate: –
- What was Rolls –Royce contribution to WWII?
- Why were night time bomber raids conducted?
- What were the issues involved?
- What were the losses involved in Bomber Command and how did they compare with other services?
- The Lancaster and Mosquito were respected by pilots and crew; why was this?
- Why did the East of England have so many air bases? How and why did some become race circuits post war?
- Suggest novel and commercial attractions to support LAHC and using their resources, exhibits and archive
- With reference to resources mentioned suggest means to better interpret these to an audience conveying the bravery and vulnerability of the bomber crews
- What was the work of the ground crew in relation to planes mentioned?
- How many crews did each aircraft have?
Exhibitions, Education, Economics and Entertainment
In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.
For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition, we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.
In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate: –
- Avro Lancaster: Bombshell
- Bomber Command: Knights in the Air
- Bombs Away
- Lancaster Missions: Stresses and Strain
- Avro Lancaster: In the Dead of Night
- A Night to Remember
- Avro Lancaster’s Nightclub
- Avro Lancaster: Nightmare
- Avro Lancaster: The Gunners Experience
- Rolls-Royce Merlin engines
- See also titles in previous A&R articles on British Aviation, Frank Whittle, De Havilland and the Mosquito
We very much advocate and commend a visit to LAHC.
We feel privileged to have attended and participated in a fairly unique introduction to these awe-inspiring machines and their crews.
The experience was indelible as much as moving and educational.
In part he honoured the memory and sacrifice [in broad sense] of the airmen and their missions.
The startup also provokes questions about engineering; logistics and servicing these magnificent specimens.
Furthermore, the attraction was exceptional value for money.
The entry fees going to a worthy cause. Its hoped that LAHC can raise the funds needed to make their Lancaster and Mosquito airworthy which in turn ought to increase attendance and their viability.
In these days of easy money and speculative profits from property development it has to be respected that the charity and its trustees are dedicated to maintaining East Kikby as a National Resource.
We record that the Battle of Britain visitor centre is nearby and incorporated into one trip increases enjoyment and increases returns. En-route we also visited the Bubblecar Museum [see dedicated A&R review]
The experience has also informed our thoughts about the proposed CCM&EC .
Battle of Britain Memorial Centre
Please note the editors of the A&R attempt to give the broadest spectrum of references but not all are available for consultation in an article. However, by noting their existence it may assist students in their research.
*Items in italics non-A&R library books.