News (2011)

Autumn/Winter 2011 Gazette

December 28th, 2011

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

  • Battle of Britain period Spitfire propeller assembly in the Teagarden
  • Museum and Membership News
  • “My flight with a Battle of Britain pilot” – in a glider
  • You lose some … you win some! Aircraft recovery experiences
  • “Lost Me109” story as featured in the ‘ Britain at War’ magazine
  • Our Dwindling Few – tributes paid to our Finest recently passed away
  • The experience of a taxi ride in the preserved Lancaster ‘Just Jane’
  • Report about the ‘Bomber Boys’ Memorial fundraising event
  • ‘Steinbock Night Victors’ – a Luftwaffe parachute segment reveals a dramatic story
Autumn/Winter 2011 Gazette

Daughter of ‘One of The Few’ visits the Museum

December 28th, 2011

In November 2011, the Museum was delighted to welcome Alexandra, the daughter of the well-known Battle of Britain fighter pilot Group Captain ‘Johnny’ Kent DFC & Bar, AFC, VM. Shoreham was a highlight on Alexandra’s tour of places linked to her father’s RAF career, where she saw his chalked signature on the famous ‘White Hart’ Blackout Screen, a signed copy of his Cuthbert Orde pencil sketch and an original letter Johnny Kent wrote about the importance of the White Hart Inn to Biggin Hill based pilots.

Alexandra at Shoreham

Johnny Kent served with distinction as a Flight Commander with the Polish pilots of 303 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, before taking command of 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill in late October 1940.

Alexandra found it a very moving experience to see the items linked to her late father and hopes to re-visit Shoreham in the near future with other members of her family.

Sit-in-a-Spit joy

November 22nd, 2011

Saturday 19th November 2011 saw another popular event delighting ‘boys & girls’ of all ages in the thrilling and privileged experience to sit in one of two fully airworthy Spitfires at the RAF’s one-time premier fighter station at Biggin Hill.

Sit-in-a-Spit joy

Much thanks has to go to ‘Spirit of Kent’ Spitfire owner Peter Monk and his terrific team for their kindness and generosity in trusting and allowing the ‘clumsy-foot’ and ‘sticky-paws’ brigade to sit in the cockpit of such precious machines and magnificent symbols of Great Britain’s heritage. Judging by the beaming smiles of the ‘sitters’, it was very much appreciated by one-and-all.

Sit-in-a-Spit joy

If this is an experience you’ve yet to have, then the next event is on the weekend of Saturday 31st March and Sunday 1st April 2012. For more information please call the Museum on 01959 524416.

Sit-in-a-Spit joy

Remembering Flight Lieutenant Robin Lucas

November 18th, 2011

It is a sad duty to report the recent passing in late September 2011 of Battle of Britain veteran and Boulton Paul Defiant pilot Robin Lucas. He served with 141 Squadron until mid-1941 and just before leaving the squadron, Robin was flying on patrol in his Defiant night-fighter when Rudolf Hess made his dramatic flight to Scotland in early May 1941, but he was just too late to make an interception as Hess had baled out to be captured.

Robin Lucas

Robin was a tremendous supporter of Museum fund-raising projects and kindly attended several signing events including ‘Eagle Heights’ in 2006, where he was always a popular participant on account of being one of the ‘rarer’ turret-gun fighter boys. Blue skies Robin.

2011 ‘Extra’ Gazette

December 28th, 2011

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

  • STOP PRESS: ‘Dig news’
  • Museum and Membership News
  • Remembering ‘Beryl’ – poignant story about one of ‘The Few’
  • Our wonderful visiting veterans
  • Tribute to Wg/Cmdr John Beazley DFC
  • Report on the ’Bomber Boys’ signing event
  • Highlighting a wristwatch once belonging to a shot down Luftwaffe pilot
2011 ‘Extra’ Gazette

Britain at War

November 1st, 2011

The Museum has been featured in a superb article in the November 2011 issue of the ’Britain at War’ magazine about a “Lost Me109 Found”. The cover artwork by our very own Geoff Nutkins depicts the combat that led to the demise of the Messerschmitt high above Maidstone in Kent during the Battle of Britain.

Britain at War

Rodney’s great day

October 15th, 2011

Rodney Scrase DFC, kindly spent a day at the Museum on Sunday 9th October 2011 to meet and greet visitors both young and old, plus to sign books and prints. It was a double delight in that Rodney sold many copies of his interesting book ‘Spitfire Saga’. Sales were so good, that he had to send his dear wife Sue off to fetch more copies!

Rodney Scrase

Bomber Boys fund-raiser

September 27th, 2011

It was a fantastic delight to welcome six wonderful RAF Bomber Command veterans to the Museum on Sunday 25th September 2011, to help raise funds towards the planned Bomber Command Memorial due to be unveiled in Green Park, London, in May 2012.

Bomber Boys

Attending the event (left to right) were veterans, Eric ‘Timber’ Woods, Tony Iveson, Joe Cook, Bob Woods, Sid Beaver and John Banfield. Thanks to their signing efforts, the terrific sum of £800 was raised along with an additional £100 in donations for the fund-raising wristbands. In total, the Museum has so far raised over £2,000 this season towards the Fund.

Bob Woods

We would like to also to thank author Steve Darlow for supporting the event. His book ‘Failed to Return’ was a popular purchase to have signed by the Bomber Boys. See here for more details:


However we now learn that the UK Treasury are seeking £500,000 in VAT from the Memorial Fund, which is scandalous. How dare they take the donations that we and many other individuals and groups have given specifically for the Fund, only for the ‘fools’ at The Treasury to no doubt waste it in ways that will only increase our anger!!! 55,573 members of Bomber Command gave their lives in the Second World War and they’ve got the cheek to demand a whopping tax bill. The Museum’s opinion of this is unprintable! If equally disgusted by this, please lobby/write to your MP or contact The Treasury direct to demand they stop this outrageous theft. Thank you. See report here:

Return of Harry

August 30th, 2011

The Museum welcomed SOE veteran Harry Verlander and his dear wife Liz for another visit to Shoreham on the August Bank Holiday and as ever our amazing hero entertained visitors with his extraordinary tales of his behind enemy lines activities. Our young volunteer Aiden met Harry for the first time and now knows how to deal with a Japanese soldier swinging a Samurai sword in his face!

Harry, Aiden and Liz

Typhoon Day

August 2nd, 2011

Typhoon Pilots

Sydney Pigden, Jack Hodges DFC and Ron Pottinger (L to R in picture) all had amazing tales to tell of their experiences flying the mighty RAF ground-attack fighter. They also did sterling work signing prints and books for Museum visitors and Geoff Nutkins classic Typhoon print “Double Trouble“, signed by all three guests is available to purchase. All proceeds from the sale of the print go to the Museum’s projects. Please contact the Museum for details.

Nachtjagd Visitor

July 5th, 2011

The Museum was delighted to welcome as a guest, Erich Schmidt, a Luftwaffe veteran who served as a Flight Engineer on Junkers Ju88 nightfighters with the deadly Nachtjagd, that exacted a terrible toll on RAF night bombers. Erich served with Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, and was involved in the ‘Wilde Sau’ (Wild Boar) tactics designed to allow single-engined fighters not equipped with radar to intercept and attack RAF aircraft over German cities.

Erich Schmidt

Erich happily chatted openly with visitors about his amazing wartime experiences and also signed personal items, including prints of Geoff Nutkins latest artwork, ‘Totenkopf Schnellbombers’. Copies of this print and the classic ‘Height of the Battle’, both signed by Erich are available to purchase. Please contact the Museum for more details.

Nachtjagd Badge
Nachtjagd emblem

Spring/Summer 2011 Gazette

July 5th, 2011

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

  • Details on exhibits returned to display for the 2011 season
  • News about the restoration of the Schnellbomber rear canopy
  • Report about some amazing Luftwaffe bomber fins
  • Remembering Squadron Leader Peter Brown
  • RAF Bomber Command Tribute
  • ‘Perfect Interception’ by P/O ‘Shippy’ Shipman
  • Visits to the Museum by veterans
  • Troopship tale by One of The Few
  • Focus on ‘new’ Museum communication system!
Spring/Summer 2011 Gazette

Extended opening for 2011

June 19th, 2011

Due to popular demand, we are pleased to announce that the Museum will open on Saturdays as well as the normal Sundays and Bank Holidays for the rest of the season. Our final weekend of the year will be at the end of October. Full information on opening times and entry charges are on our Museum Info page. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Articles in Kent Lifestyle Magazine

June 18th, 2011

If you want to read more about the Museum and our own Geoff Nutkins, Kent Lifestyle Magazine have two articles about us in their July 2011 edition. Read them here!

Kent Lifestyle Magazine

Stirling visitor

June 7th, 2011

The Museum was enthralled to receive a visit from Bob Woods, a veteran RAF Wireless Operator/Air Gunner who flew many sorties over Occupied Europe in Short Stirling bombers with 199 Squadron. Despite the dangers from enemy flak and night-fighters, Bob remarked that Stirling crews jokingly considered their biggest threat to be the bombs dropped by the higher-flying Avro Lancasters and Handley Page Halifaxes.

Bob Woods

In a bomber stream, the Stirlings with their short wingspans could not reach the greater altitudes attained by the other RAF ‘Heavies’, but despite this shortcoming Bob still holds a great fondness for the Stirling, which in his opinion was strongly built and possessed amazing manoeuvrability for such a large 4-engined bomber.

Easter Monday visitor

April 27th, 2011

A very welcome return to the Museum was made by SOE veteran Harry Verlander who as ever was accompanied by his charming wife Elizabeth.

Harry and Elizabeth

He had many great tales as always of his daring service behind enemy lines and it is always astonishing to think that having joined the Army underage, Harry had not reached his nineteenth birthday when he was parachuted into Occupied France in July 1944. Less than a year later he was in the thick jungles of Burma taking on the Japanese.

Harry’s book, ‘My War in SOE’ is highly recommended reading.

Exclusive new Geoff Nutkins print now available!

April 10th, 2011

We are pleased to announce a new print by our own Geoff Nutkins – “Totenkopf” Schnellbombers.

Schnellbomber Print

Each costs just £39.50 + p&p and all proceeds go towards the restoration of our Ju88 cockpit section. For more information, or to place your order, visit Geoff’s Avi-Art site.

Season opener 03/04/11

April 5th, 2011

Mothering Sunday was blessed with fine Spring weather and this encouraged many to visit Shoreham that helped to make a great start for the 2011 season.

A special highlight of the day was the visit to the Museum by Polish RAF veteran Adam Ostrowski, who flew Spitfires with 317 ‘Wilenski’ Squadron during 1944-45. He very kindly chatted to visitors and signed personal items, including the new Geoff Nutkins print ‘Totenkopf Schnellbombers’.

Adam Ostrowski

The winter work in the Museum, Tearoom and Teagarden was favourably commented on by visitors and this augurs well for a successful year ahead.


Particular mention goes to volunteers Kevin and Lindsey, who laboured hard to transform the Tearoom and their sterling efforts are clear to see. Hopefully the new-look Tearoom coupled to the pleasant atmosphere of the Teagarden will attract a greater number of regular visitors.

A warm welcome to Shoreham is guaranteed.

Remembering Squadron Leader Peter Brown

February 2nd, 2011

The Museum was sad to learn of the passing of Squadron Leader Peter Brown on 20th January 2011, aged 91. One of ‘The Few’, Peter was a wonderful friend and supporter of the Museum and regularly attended fund-raising signing events, his last attendance being in April 2010.

Peter Brown

Joining the RAF in 1938, Peter was flying Spitfires in 1940 with 611 ‘West Lancashire’ Squadron during the Dunkirk evacuation and continued in action over Southern England during the Battle of Britain, later joining 41 Squadron before being rested in mid-1941 to become a flying instructor.

With a credited score of three and one shared enemy aircraft destroyed, Peter had numerous flying establishment appointments through the remainder of the war including teaching Turkish pilots to fly Spitfires. Released from the RAF in late 1945 with the rank of Squadron Leader, he was awarded an Air Force Cross.

In civilian life Peter pursued a successful career in the plastics industry and after retirement worked as a healer in the care of cancer patients. He also undertook extensive research into elements of the Battle of Britain, especially the ‘Big Wing’ controversy, culminating in the release of his book titled ‘Honour Restored’.

Peter will be much missed, but the Museum will treasure his memory. Blue skies Sir.

Peter Brown

Winter 2010 Gazette

January 19th, 2011

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

  • Follow-up story about the Castle Farm Dornier
  • Recollecting the discovery of the Museum’s 1,000 kg ‘Hermann’ bomb
  • Report on a wealth of relics and other items donated to the Museum
  • Sgt John Lansdell and Oblt Paul Temme personal items
  • A visit by ‘Boffins’ from the National Physical Laboratory
  • Tribute to Wing Commander John Freeborn DFC & Bar
  • Museum news and activities
  • Results of Battle of Britain competition and the Museum raffle
Winter 2010 Gazette