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Explore historical information, biographies and videos (other resources coming soon).

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Reginald Warneford

Reginald ‘Rex’ Warneford was the first naval aviator awarded a VC after becoming the first airman to take down a German airship in mid-air. Born in Darjeeling, India on 15 October 1891, Warneford moved to England as a child, where he lived with his grandfather following the separation of his...

Hardit Malik

Hardit Malik, or the ‘Flying Sikh’ as he became known, was the first Indian pilot to join the RFC. Born on 23 November 1894 in Rawalpindi in India, he was sent to England at the age of 14 to complete his education. Here, he attended Eastbourne College and went on...

James E. ‘Johnnie’ Johnson

James E. ‘Johnnie’ Johnson was Britain’s highest scoring fighter ace during the Second World War. Born on 9 March 1915 in Barrow-upon-Soar in Leicestershire, Johnson completed a degree in civil engineering at the University of Nottingham in 1937. Initially, he failed to join the air force, with both the Auxiliary...

Pauline Gower

Pauline Gower was a keen pilot, who developed a passion for aviation as a teenager after taking her first flight with Sir Alan Cobham. She established the women’s branch of the Air Transport Auxiliary [ATA], becoming its first Commander in December 1939. Born on 22 July 1910 in Tunbridge Wells,...

Joy Lofthouse

Joy Lofthouse was a pilot who flew bombers and fighter aircraft for the ATA during the Second World War. Born on 14 February 1923 in South Cerney in Gloucestershire, Lofthouse was educated at Cirencester Grammar School. She was working as a cashier at Lloyds Bank when the Second World War...

Early Flight

This short video shows how the role of aircraft changed as the war progressed.

The Battle of Britain

This short video shows how this pivotal four-month battle could not have been won without the early warning from radar and the diverse men and women of the RAF.

Codebreakers

This short video explores how the codebreakers of Bletchley Park broke the German Enigma machine encryption during the Second World War.

The Battle of Britain and Radar

Introduction The Battle of Britain was one of the most important Allied victories of the Second World War. The German air force (Luftwaffe) had been at the front of every military attack the Nazis had made on their neighbouring countries, starting with the attack on Poland in September 1930. The...

The Origins of the RAF

1914 At the start of the First World War in 1914, people had only been successfully flying aeroplanes for ten years. Aircraft were basic machines, made of wood, canvas and wires, which were not able to travel very far or very fast. The planes were biplanes, as the technology of...