The Museum :: News ::

2015 Season guest of honour Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown – our Nation’s outstanding ‘star’

April 11th, 2015

To herald the start of the 2015 season on Saturday 4th April, it was a wonderful privilege for Shoreham to welcome the distinguished and record breaking veteran test pilot, Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC Hon FRAes RN, as guest of honour.

Arriving to a much appreciated guard of honour from members of the Bexley & Lewisham Sea Cadets, Captain Brown soon settled in to greeting many visitors to the Museum and to sign their personal prints and books. After a spot of lunch, Captain Brown was presented with the original portrait of him painted by the Museum Curator and artist Geoff Nutkins and on his delight in receiving the portrait he remarked that, “It felt good to look young again!” Captain Brown then held an audience captive to hear several recollections of his remarkable aviation career as he kindly answered many questions. For those lucky enough to listen to this outstanding man, they all appreciated what a unique and privileged moment this had been.

The Museum cannot thank Captain Brown enough for being so generous with his time and not tiring in his warmth of greeting to members of the public both young and old. Thanks also go to members of the Erith Air Training Corps Squadron for helping out during the day alongside the band of Museum and Tearoom volunteers, which all contributed to a wonderful start to the new season at Shoreham.

Signed copies of the Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown portrait are available for purchase – please contact the Museum for more details.

‘Extra’ 2014 Gazette

October 29th, 2014

The latest edition of ‘Friends of The Few’ has gone out to Museum Club members. Contents include:

  • The origins of the Museum – a reflection
  • Museum and Membership News
  • Kent Spitfire to Messerspit
  • Memorial news – stop press – latest memorial unveiled
  • Schnellbomber news – beetle’s eye progress
  • We will not forget you – tributes to notable veterans
  • The tale of a tailwheel
  • Fundraising signing event

    Rimmer Family Visit

    October 12th, 2014

    On Saturday 11th October, we were very happy to welcome the relatives of Flight Lieutenant Reginald Rimmer to the Museum.

    Re-honouring a Battle of Britain pilot

    September 30th, 2014

    A ‘new’ stone memorial was unveiled at Franchise Manor, Burwash in East Sussex on Saturday 27th September 2014, to honour 21 years old Flight Lieutenant Reginald Rimmer of 229 Squadron and ‘One of The Few’, killed in action at this location exactly 74 years previously. This memorial replaced an older brass plaque.

    The service of dedication was led by the Reverend Alan Weaver of St. Michael & All Angels, Jarvis Brook and a poignant moment came when Daniel Rimmer (nephew of the pilot), read some of Flt Lt Rimmer’s last letters home that described vividly the stress and extreme tiredness from continual action. ‘Reg’ Rimmer wrote of looking forward to heading home on leave, but it was never to be as he was tragically killed a few days beforehand.

    The memorial was instigated jointly by the Fitzgerald family of Franchise Manor, the Rimmer family and The Shoreham Aircraft Museum. Almost 50 members of the ‘Rimmer Family’ attended the unveiling and there was a terrific tribute flypast flown by the Hawker Hurricane from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar; appreciative applause on the ground went to the pilot Clive Denney for his spirited aerial display.

    Additional thanks goes to the Cadets of 1414 (Crowborough) Squadron, Air Training Corps, the Bexhill-on-Sea & Battle Branch, Royal Air Forces Association and to Brian Rance for his wonderful rendition of ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’.
    It was a proud moment for the Rimmer family, Franchise Manor and the Shoreham Aircraft Museum to see a brave young pilot honoured.

    Aiden’s last day

    September 9th, 2014

    It was our very own young Aidens last day with us here at Shoreham. Here he is with his farewell cartoon card “The much feared 88mm Panzer Flippen Floppen”!!

    Veterans Signing Day – Sunday 17th August 2014

    August 21st, 2014

    A strong turnout by RAF (and Navy!) veterans at the Museum ensured an enjoyable day for them and the many visitors who kindly supported the event to help raise a good sum, both for Museum projects and the RAF Bomber Command Memorial Maintenance Fund. The mix of aircraft types flown, the squadrons served in, differing aircrew roles and the veterans extraordinary individual experiences made for an amazingly interesting occasion.

    Huge and special thanks firstly to the veterans for attending and also to those who ‘chauffeured’ them; a ‘Mention in Dispatches’ goes to the cadets of 1579 Erith Squadron Air Training Corps and their ‘CO’ Flight Lieutenant Andrew Kelleher for helping out so well on the day. Many thanks also goes to the ‘legion’ of Museum volunteers who helped out on a long day in various roles in the Museum, Tearoom and kitchen.

    To round off the afternoon a Spitfire from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar flew over the Museum – perfect!

    For those who could not be there on the day, we have a number of commemorative prints available, costing just £67.50 + £2.50P&P. Each print is individually signed by all the veterans who were present.

    You can order one by calling us on 01959 524416.

    Lancasters up close

    August 19th, 2014

    Many thanks to our old friends at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, who as a special favour allowed us up close to the two Lancs when they made a stopover at Biggin Hill. It was a smashing afternoon for the club. The sound of 8 Merlin engines all running smoothly takes your breath away!

    Remembering Bob Foster

    August 12th, 2014

    Another recent sad loss to the numbers of ‘surviving Few’ is that of Wing Commander Bob Foster DFC who passed away in late July 2014 aged 94. Bob very kindly came to Shoreham in 2013 and was a very popular visitor. He flew Hawker Hurricane fighters with 605 Squadron during the Battle of Britain achieving several successes against the Luftwaffe. Bob later achieved greater success in combat against the Japanese when based with 54 Squadron in Northern Australia and he downed a Mitsubishi ‘Dinah’ on 26th February 1943, the first recorded ‘kill’ by a Spitfire over a ‘Jap’ aircraft. Attaining ‘ace’ status over Australia, Bob was awarded a well deserved Distinguished Flying Cross.

    He left the RAF in 1946 and returned to his pre-war job with Shell-Mex and BP working as a marketing executive until his retirement in 1975. Latterly Chairman of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, Bob will be much missed.

    Spring/Summer 2014 Gazette

    August 12th, 2014

    The latest edition of ‘Friends of The Few’ has gone out to Museum Club members. Contents include:

    • Memorial news – plans for two further pilot memorials
    • Museum and Membership News
    • A young Kiwi pilot’s last letter
    • Too many “Goodbyes” – remembering many veterans
    • Fundraising signing events
    • Remembering one of the fallen ‘Few’ – P/O John Bailey
    • ‘Red’ Tobin’ – As American as a bowl of Cornflakes
    • Remembering the Great War
    • Appeal against closure of the ‘Firepower’ museum

    Easter Sunday ‘star’ visitors

    April 28th, 2014
    To help officially kick-start the 2014 season, the Museum was pleased to welcome several star guests on Easter Sunday. Jim Davidson OBE, one of Britain’s top stand-up comedians, well known TV game show host and recent winner of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ visited the Museum to lend his support and he mixed with visitors and took a good look around the Museum.
    The other stars of the show were our visiting RAF veterans Harry Irons DFC, Joe Cook, Sid Beaver DFM, Ron Liversage MBE, Jack Christianson, Rodney Scrase DFC and Denise Edwards née Franck of the Belgian Resistance.
    Even though the weather tried to ruin the day with some ferocious downpours, it didn’t stop visitors from getting to meet their heroes and a good day was had by all with a good sum raised, whereby Harry Irons was presented with a cheque towards the RAF Bomber Command Memorial maintenance fund, so thank you to everyone who supported this event.