"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!" - It is the phrase that pilots dread having to use for real. As we enjoy our May Day Bank Holiday weekend, it is worth taking a look at this alternative use of the phrase and learn a little more about MayDay and it’s use by aircrews. Here are 8 interesting facts you may not know about the MayDay call in aviation. 1. The phrase MayDay is generally considered to have originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford, the senior radio operator at Croydon Airport in … [Read more...]
Fascinating stories and articles from aviation history and the archives of the Yorkshire Air Museum. Over more than three decades, the Yorkshire Air Museum and The Allied Air Forces Memorial have researched and collated a considerable archive of information on the history, service and sacrifice of Allied personal across the conflicts of many decades.
The Journal shares some of those amazing stories and hopes to ensure that the history of aviation, both in peace and in conflict, is something that is preserved for many years to come.
At 2:36am in the morning of 29th April 1942, around 40 German bombers crossed the coast of England between Flamborough Head and Hornsea heading for York to commence what is known in Yorkshire at The York Blitz. The German aircraft soon reached the City, and in the following 90 minutes they dropped over 84 tonnes of high explosive and incendiary bombs, which set York ablaze. Many homes in the Clifton / Bootham areas were set alight by incendiaries followed closely by 500lb high explosive … [Read more...]
As Christmas approaches at the Museum, we recall each year the amazing true story of 24 year old André Guédez, a French mid-upper gunner based at Elvington during World War Two. Seventy years ago, those involved in World War II did not stop for Christmas. However, for André, flying from RAF Elvington with one of the two unique French Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command, Christmas Spirit was to turn into a miracle. Together with 6 other crew-mates of their Halifax bomber “L for Love”, they were … [Read more...]
For many people living in Great Britain, the 5th of November is a date of spectacular bonfire and firework displays as we remember the Guy Fawkes plot to assassinate King James 1 in 1605. However, for The Allied Air Forces Memorial here at Elvington, the evening of the 4th and 5th of November is one we recall with special significance. On this night in 1944, RAF Bomber Command were deep into the offensive masterminded by "Bomber" Harris to destroy German industrial capability. That night the … [Read more...]
Many people visiting the Museum today are aware of the fact that French Air Force Squadrons were based here in World War Two. They may also be aware of the name Charles de Gaulle and the critical role he played in the UK which enabled Allied Forces to eventually free France and mainland Europe. But perhaps many people are unaware of the fast moving pace of events at that historic time in European history, and how de Gaulle found himself in that position and how, but for a twist of fate, … [Read more...]
“I had a feeling that we were living through extraordinary events and that a different world was going to be born. That’s probably why I noted every day in my diary, what I had lived through in those wartime years……which influenced my life as a woman for always" These words, written by the late Barbara Harper - Nelson, perfectly explain the reasoning behind this remarkable book, "The French Squadrons". The dedication needed to not only document her daily life in 1944, but to retain the love … [Read more...]
Our new exhibition, Gasbags to Super Zeppelins, gives visitors an insight into the early developments of using aviation as a weapon of war in World War One. As ever in wartime, technology develops far more rapidly than in times of peace, but just as remarkable is the effect that this new weapon had on the civilian population of Yorkshire. Many familiar Yorkshire towns were targeted as although the Royal Flying Corps was formed in 1912, little thought had been given to homeland defence from … [Read more...]
For anyone visiting The Museum's new exhibition, Gas Bags to Super Zeppelins, it becomes quite apparent that the terror tactics of being attacked from the air for the first time in history had a profound effect upon the British public. Despite eventually being victorious in shooting down Zeppelins, the large German airships must have left many dark memories. It's truly remarkable, therefore, that a far more peaceful visit to Yorkshire by none other than the majestic Hindenburg has retained a … [Read more...]
In 1999, the museum was honoured to host a guest presentation by the designer of the North American P51 Mustang, Lee Atwood. Despite being an elderly man at that point, he had traveled to the UK from his home in California to give a short talk to a gathering of enthusiastic people. His talk had the rather contentious title 'I can built you a better airplane than the Spitfire XIX'. That was the brave claim that Atwood had made when he commenced design of the P51 in World War 2. At the time, the … [Read more...]
Squadron Leader: 615 Sqn RAF 341 Sqn RAF (Groupe de Chasse No 3/2 “Alsace”) At the corner of Avenue de la Chapelle in Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris, amongst the 70,000 tombs, stands a clean and well kept mausoleum with a large bronze coloured Cross of Lorraine in the centre of its iron gates. Inside, a small photograph of a confident looking young airman, complete with Mae West life jacket. This is the last resting-place of René G. Mouchotte, one of the most famous and admired … [Read more...]
The Yorkshire Air Museum’s internationally renowned Halifax bomber restoration is named after the legendary Halifax “Friday the 13th”, which flew with 158 Squadron from RAF Lissett, East Yorkshire, completing 128 missions, the highest tally of any Halifax and as such, one of the Bomber Command’s most successful aircraft. On Saturday 16th March, Flt. Sgt. Eric King, the sole surviving member of the crew that gave this illustrious aircraft its distinctive name, visited the Yorkshire Air Museum … [Read more...]