One Hundred Years Of Flight

A fly-by exhibition to mark the centenary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force (1918-2018)

Issued: Friday 15th June 2018

Cleethorpes Library will be staging a special one-day only exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Air Force on Tuesday 17th July 2018 from 9am to 5pm.

The free exhibition will include documents, artefacts and photographs from the collections of North East Lincolnshire Archives.

Adrian Wilkinson, Archivist at North East Lincolnshire Archives, said: “We are looking forward to staging an exhibition on the Royal Air Force in a part of the country that has played a central role in the history of the RAF. The exhibition will cover some familiar stories, but will also look at some less well known aspects of the RAF’s history, such as the stationing of American B-29 Superfortresses in the county and the part played by local airfields in Operation Manna, a mission to drop vital supplies to the Dutch civilian population in 1945.”

Lincolnshire has played a very important part in the history of the Royal Air Force that goes far beyond its role as “Bomber County” in the Second World War: Lincolnshire was an important centre for aircraft production in the First World War and in the inter-war period it trained many airmen who would later become household names.

Lincolnshire also played an important role in the development of jet propulsion: jet pioneer Frank Whittle trained at RAF Cranwell and Britain’s first jet aircraft made its inaugural flight from the same aerodrome. In the post-war period Lincolnshire played host to many of the RAF’s most iconic aircraft, including the Vulcan, the Canberra and the Lightning.

The exhibition will trace the development of the RAF from 1918 to the present day using photographs, maps and artefacts drawn from the holdings of North East Lincolnshire Archives and private collections. Among the items on display will be a detailed engineering drawing  of one of the RAF’s early fighters, the Sopwith Snipe, rare photographs of B-29 Superfortresses at Coningsby and turbine blades from a Rolls-Royce Avon aero engine.

Many of the items on display have a close connection with the local area, including a plan of RAF Waltham, a wartime menu from RAF North Coates and a map showing the extent of wartime bomb damage in Grimsby. The display will also look at the men and women who served with the Royal Air Force, with information on early aviators from North East Lincolnshire, the papers of a young RAF sergeant who lived in Cleethorpes and items relating to the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

For more information contact Cleethorpes Library on (01472) 323650.