Elvington 44/45 The Fight for Liberty

The Yorkshire Air Museum’s major theme for 2024 and 2025.

A Year That Changed The World

It covers one of the most significant twelve months in history – from just before D-Day up to the final liberation of Europe – and the role that aircraft in our collection played in that. The story starts with the arrival of two French Bomber Command Squadrons – 346 and 347 – at RAF Elvington in 1944,  and moves on to the part played by aircraft on D-Day (June 6th 1944). 

Douglas Dakota

A workhorse of D-Day and an aircraft credited with helping to win the War. Learn about the role of the Dakota in the liberation of France, outside the main hangar.

Handley Page Halifax

Halifax bombers like Friday the 13th were used to strike German targets in Normandy on the eve of D-Day, while others towed gliders into the battle zone. Learn about their vital role in Operation Overlord via our new display boards.

Gliders and Airborne Forces

Learn about the role of gliders in the liberation of Europe, next to our WACO reconstruction in the main hangar. See newsreel footage of gliders and Dakotas in action.

Le Guerre pour la liberte

Two French-crewed squadrons flew from RAF Elvington from May 1944, including taking part in a bombing raid over Normandy on the eve of D-Day. Learn about their role in our brand new display at the back of the Bomber Command building.


Watch newsreels and other footage from D-Day, plus our new animation of the story behind our Halifax – ‘Friday the 13th’.


Blackburn Mercury Monoplane 1911 (Replica) AH (BAPC) 130 YAM Jan.1995

The Blackburn Mercury Monoplane is regarded as the first truly successful aircraft made by Blackburn at their factory in Leeds. The Mercury I, powered by a 50 hp Isaacson radial engine, was displayed at the Olympia Aero Show in March 1911 and made its debut flying from the beach at Filey with the newly formed Blackburn Flying School. In May 1911, it flew from Filey to Scarborough and back in 19 minutes at an average speed of 50 mph, reaching an altitude of 1200 feet.
This aircraft crashed the next day when the engine seized and the propeller flew off! The Mercury I was followed by two Mercury II aircraft powered by 50 hp Gnome engines, and six Mercury III aircraft, with a number of different engines. Sadly, a Renault powered Mercury crashed at Filey in December 1911, killing an instructor and passenger.
The Museum’s replica was built for Yorkshire Television in 1979 for the Edwardian drama series ‘Flambards’, and was taxied with a car engine. It came to YAM on 10th January 1995 and after a long period in storage it was painstakingly restored to a superb display standard, and was unveiled in June 2000 by Professor Robert Blackburn, grandson of Robert Blackburn, the aviation pioneer.

AVRO 504K ‘H1968’ (Replica) AH (BAPC) 42 YAM Oct. 1994

The Avro 504 first flew in 1913. In the opening phases of the First World War, it served with front-line squadrons in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service for bombing and reconnaissance, but from 1915 onwards the aircraft entered the training role for which it is most celebrated.

Over 8,000 Avro 504s were built. In 1918, the Royal Air Force had about 3,000, of which 2,276 were trainers.

The Avro 504 was stationed at many Yorkshire airfields, including Tadcaster near the A1/A64 junction, where a period hangar can still be seen.

The Yorkshire Air Museum’s replica was built by apprentices at RAF Halton and appeared at the Royal Tournament in 1968 to commemorate what was then fifty years since the end of the First World War. The aircraft was refurbished in early 2015 to be transported to Thiepval, Northern France, for the Somme Centenary commemoration event, on request of the British Government. In May 2018, it was also displayed at the impressive Hotel Les Invalides in central Paris for a joint RAF / French Air Force event to mark the Centenary of the Royal Air Force and over 100 years of British and French Air Force collaboration.