The Museum’s 25th Anniversary celebrations held on 16th and 17th June attracted over 1100 visitors, mainly on the Sunday as the Saturday weather left something to be desired. In addition to the Museum’s usual attractions we had a number of extra items on part of the old Tangmere airfield including a marquee with stalls selling models, militaria, books and other items; a display of over 50 military vehicles whose owners dressed in suitably contemporary costume and many of whom camped out in tentage of the appropriate vintage. There was a fascinating display of radio-controlled model tanks and for the first time, we staged demonstrations and competitions of control line model flying run by Three Kings Aeromodellers from Croydon. This is a seldom seen activity and it was particularly fascinating to watch their carrier operations which included taking off and landing back on a mock aircraft carrier. You can see a video by one of the competitors here via YouTube.
At the Museum several aircraft cockpits were open for inspection and Peter Twiss, the famous Fairey Test pilot and first man to fly at over 1000 mph, signed books on Saturday; similarly print and book signings by several WWII pilots took place on both days. Among the invited guests on the Sunday were Lord and Lady Tebbit – he is, of course, a former RAF Meteor pilot. There were wonderful flying displays by Peter Teichman, of Hangar 11 Collection, in the P40 Kittyhawk and Alister Key, of OFMC, in a P51 Mustang. Alister was booked to display the Spitfire IX but unfortunately it went unserviceable a couple of days before. Both the Kittyhawk and Spitfire were types flown by the Museum’s late President Neville Duke during his illustrious wartime career. Sunday also saw the formal opening of our new Education facility named the Neville Duke Hall and this was performed by Neville’s long time associate and friend from his days at Hawkers, Duncan Simpson. After the formal opening visitors were invited to see a Powerpoint presentation on the life of Neville. Sadly, his wife Gwen was still not fit enough to attend but the Museum looks forward to seeing her at Tangmere soon.