Duke of Edinburgh opens First World War exhibition

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The Duke of Edinburgh has opened the new permanent First World War exhibition at the Royal Air Force Museum in north London.

Entitled The First World War in the Air, the exhibition focuses on the often overlooked role of air power during the First World War through the stories of the men and women who were involved in the conflict.

Authentic surroundings

It is set in a Grade II listed building that was used as an aircraft factory in the First World War. The exhibition uses these surroundings and the RAF Museum’s collection of aircraft, documents, film and photographs to reveal how aviation changed the character of war.

Karen Whitting, director of public programmes at the Royal Air Force Museum, said: ‘It was a pleasure and an honour to have the Museum’s Royal Patron The Duke of Edinburgh, open this landmark exhibition.

‘The Museum looks forward to sharing this incredible story with both local visitors and audiences from across the globe. It is particularly fitting that we mark this anniversary in the approach to 2018, the centenary of the founding of the Royal Air Force.’

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Experiences of airmen and workers

Designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, the exhibition explores what it was like to be involved in the earliest days of military aviation through the story of Britain’s air services, the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. These two organisations merged on 1 April 1918 to become the world’s first independent air force, the Royal Air Force.

Displays incorporate the experiences of pilots, ground crew and factory workers to help tell the story. A linked online resource includes the digitisation of and wider public access to historical documents such as First World War Casualty Cards, Casualty Forms and Muster Rolls, that tell the story of the men and women of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force.

These can be accessed at www.rafmuseumstoryvault.com

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