The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

A very large site that is fully open to the public, telling the story of the dockyard and naval warfare. The Gannet is owned by 849 Squadron Association, and was previously located at Culdrose. Large naval exhibits include HMS Cavalier, the only surviving British WW2 destroyer, and 1960s submarine HMS Ocelot. Between 1999 and 2004 this location was known as ‘World Naval Base’.

Directions

Chatham Historic Dockyard, east of Rochester, north of the A321, in Kent. Well signposted. From Junction 1 of the A2/M2, follow the A289 to the Medway Tunnel and then turn right towards Chatham after exiting the tunnel.

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Visiting

Opening Hours:

Open daily 10.00 am to 4.00 pm GMT, 16 February to 30 March 2013; 10.00 am to 6.00 pm BST 31 March to 26 October; 10.00 am to 4.00 pm GMT 27 October to 1 December. Closed December and January.

Admission:

See official website for details.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Cafe, Souvenir shop, Access for the disabled.

Gannet AEW.3 XL500 (photo, Dan Lord) Another view of the Gannet (photo, Dan Lord)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
WG751 Westland Dragonfly HR.3 WG751 Complete Displayed

Gannet AEW.3 XL500 has been bought by Tim Manna of Kennet Aviation for restoration to airworthiness as G-KAEW.

More Information

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, The Sail & Colour Loft, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TE. Tel: 01634 823800.
Website: The Historic Dockyard or Historic Dockyard Chatham

wikipedia

‘Waveney class’ RNLI Lifeboat
(photo, Dan Lord)
RNLI D-class in-shore life boat ‘Blue Peter III’
(photo, Dan Lord)
HMS Gannet, the last surviving RN sloop
(photo, Dan Lord)
HMS Ocelot – open for tours
(photo, Dan Lord)
 
WW2 destroyer HMS Cavalier
(photo, Dan Lord)
 

Dragonfly HR.5 WG751 (photo, Dan Lord)

Shoreham Aircraft Museum

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

Not to be confused with the West Sussex airfield of the same name, this small museum houses well presented displays of items from various aviation archeology ‘digs’ in the area. A large art gallery featuring a number of original aviation paintings is also here.

Directions

West of the A225 north of Sevenoaks.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

Open Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, Easter Sunday to the end of October. Last entry 4.30 pm. Parties of 20 or more are welcome at times when the museum is not open.

Admission:

See official website for details.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Cafe, Souvenir shop, Access for the disabled.

Museum displays (photo, Geoff Kennell) Ju 88A crash exhibit (photo, Geoff Kennell)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
Junkers Ju 88A-1 Nose Displayed

More Information

Shoreham Aircraft Museum, 13 High Street, Shoreham Village, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 7TB. Tel: 01959 524416. Website: Shoreham Aircraft Museum, e-mail: mail@shoreham-aircraft-museum.co.uk

Royal Engineers Museum

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

The Royal Engineers Museum of Military Engineering is dedicated to showing the history of the Corps of Royal Engineers up until the present day. The Corps pioneered military aviation in the UK with balloons, man-lifting kites, airships and aeroplanes until the formation of the RFC in 1912. The exhibits include a Harrier GR.3 in Belize Flight colours.

Directions

On the B2004, to the north of Chatham, Kent. Signposted.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

Open Tuesday to Friday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm; Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holiday Mondays 11.30am – 5.00pm. Closed Christmas week amd every Monday except Bank Holiday Mondays.

Admission:

See official website for details.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Cafe, Souvenir shop, Picnic area, Access for the disabled.

The ‘Heroes of Telemark’ mission
(photo, Dan Lord)
UXB – Bomb Disposal Work
(photo, Dan Lord)
Harier GR.3 XZ964
(photo, Dan Lord)
Bridging Equipment
(photo, Dan Lord)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
XZ964 Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.3 XZ964 Complete Displayed
Military balloon basket Complete Displayed
Vulcan hang-glider Complete Displayed

Note: Sioux AH.1 XT133 formerly stored here was exported to France.

More Information

Royal Engineers Museum, Prince Arthur Road, Gillingham, Kent, ME4 4UG. Tel: 01634 822839. e-mail: mail@re-museum.co.uk, website: Royal Engineers Museum.


Heavy Water Plant apparatus
(photo, Dan Lord)

RAF Manston History Museum

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

The RAF Manston History Society, which runs the museum, portrays in various displays the civil and military history of Manton since it was first opened in 1916. Located next door is the Hurricane and Spitfire Memorial Museum.

Directions

In the old RAF Manston MT (Motor Transport) building, adjacent to the Hurricane and Spitfire Memorial Building at Manston Airport. From London heading towards Ramsgate on the A253, turn left at the Minster roundabout onto the B2050 and then next right onto the B2190. Carry straight on and the Museum will become visible on the right hand side.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

March to October: Open daily 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. November to February: Open Saturday and Sunday 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Closed Christmas and New Year.

Admission:

See official website for details.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Cafe, Souvenir shop, Access for the disabled.

Wessex HU.5 XS482. (photo, Derek Hatch) Whirlwind HAR.10 XJ727. (photo, Derek Hatch)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
WT205 BAC Canberra B(I)6 WT205 Nose Displayed
‘117415’ Canadair CT-133AN Silver Star N36TH Reproduction Displayed
WP772 De Havilland Canada Chipmunk T.10 WP772 Complete Displayed
Fieseler Fi 103 (V-1) FSM Displayed
Fokker Dr.I Triplane Reproduction Displayed
‘WD615’ Gloster Meteor TT.20 WD646 Complete Displayed
‘MS’ Gotha G.IV Fwd Fuselage Repro. Displayed
XL190 Handley Page Victor K.2 XL190 Nose Displayed
XG226 Hawker Hunter F.6A XG226 Nose Displayed
XV352 Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S.2B XV352 Cockpit Displayed
Huntair Pathdfinder ? Complete Displayed
‘H’ Nieuport 17 Reproduction Displayed
‘N1071’ Nieuport 17 Reproduction Displayed
ZA325 Panavia Tornado GR.1 ZA325 Cockpit Displayed
XZ106 SEPECAT Jaguar GR.3A XZ106 Complete Displayed
G-SSWP Short 330-100 G-SSWP Cockpit Displayed
‘VM791’ Slingsby Cadet TX.3 XA312 Complete Displayed
XA231 Slingsby Grasshopper TX.1 XA231 Complete Displayed
B’619 Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter Reproduction Displayed
XS482 Westland Wessex HU.5 XS482 Complete Displayed
XN380 Westland Whirlwind HAS.7 XN380 Complete Displayed

Notes: Beagle Pup 150 cockpit HB-NAV has moved to an ATC unit in Dover, Blackburn Buccaneer S.1 nose XN928 has moved to an unknown location. Valiant BK.1 nose XD857 has also moved away.

More Information

RAF Manston History Museum, Manston Road, Manston Airport, Ramsgate, Kent, CT12 5DF. Tel: 01843 825224. Website: RAF Manston History Museum.

Any additional photographs illustrating this museum would be welcome.

Medway Aircraft Preservation Society

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

MAPS specialises in restoring aircraft to ‘better than new’ condition for the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon. They recently finished work on Spitfire I K9942 and handed it over to Hendon. The workshops are open to visitors at certain times of the week. Due to the nature of MAPS work, the aircraft that can be seen here varies considerably over time.

Directions

Rochester Aerodrome, on the A299 south of Rochester, Kent. Airport rules must be observed, the threshold of Runway 34 needs negotiating to reach the workshops.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

Open Sunday, Monday and Wednesday 9.00 am to 1.00 pm. (Prior appointment is required to see Harvard G-CTKL).

Admission:

No information.

Amenities:

No information.

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
L5343 Fairey Battle I L5343 Complete Being Restored
‘FE788’ North American Harvard IIB G-CTKL Complete Displayed

More Information

Lewis Deal, Medway Aircraft Preservation Society, AFIS Unit, Rochester Airport, Maidstone Road, Chatham, Kent, ME5 9SD. Tel: 01634 204492.

Any photographs illustrating this museum would be welcome.

Lashenden Air Warfare Museum

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

The modern-day Headcorn airfield has grown from the former wartime Lashenden Advanced Landing Ground. The museum presents wartime Lashenden and aviation in Kent, including parts from a large number of aircraft wrecks.

Directions

At Headcorn Aerodrome, nine miles south of Maidstone on the A274 in Kent.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

Open Sundays and Bank Holidays 10.30 am to 6.00 pm, Easter to October 21st; Sundays 10.30 am to 3.30 pm, late October to Easter.

Admission:

Free but donations to RAF charities welcomed.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Cafe, Souvenir shop, picnic area.

View of the museum building and F-100F
(photo, Keith Mason)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
ZF587 BAC Lightning F.53 ZF587 Nose Displayed
84 Dassault Mystere IVA 84 Complete Displayed
Fieseler Fi 103R-4 ‘V-1’ BAPC.91 Complete Displayed
100549 Focke-Achgelis Fa 330A-1 100549 Complete Displayed

Notes: Westland Whirlwind HAS.7 XN380 has now moved to RAF Manston, Vampire T.11 WZ589 has moved to Rochester, Kent. North American F-100F Super Sabre 63938 has been scrapped after being hit by a taxying aircraft and seriously damaged. Vampire T.11 WZ450 has been sold and moved off site.

More Information

Lashenden Air Warfare Museum, Headcorn Aerodrome, Headcorn, Ashford, Kent, TN27 9HX. Tel: 01622 631799, e-mail: lashendenairwar@aol.com, website: Lashenden Air Warfare Museum.

F-100F 63938 (photo, Keith Mason) Mystere IVA 84 (photo, Keith Mason)

Thanks to Keith Mason of Shoreham Airport Society for supplying the photos on this page.

Kent Battle of Britain Museum

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

Sited on what remains of the historic fighter airfield at Hawkinge, the museum seeks to keep the memory of the Battle of Britain alive. The museum opened in 1981, initially using the old control tower, but has now expanded to occupy five buildings. A large collection of full-scale replica aircraft are on display, several being constructed for the ‘Battle of Britain’ film. Components from up to 600 crashed aircraft are also on show.

NOTE: Prominent notices on display within this museum indicate that ‘..On grounds of both security and
copyright, we regret that no cameras, video recorders or any other type of recording equipment (including notebooks) are allowed in the Museum’. This ban is rigorously enforced and has been in place for a number of years. The object of the ban is to minimise the risk of theft from the museum, by not drawing outside attention to specific items that are on display. Theft of aeronautical artefacts has become a growing problem over the past few years, and the Museum suffered a loss of an exhibit recently to criminal activity.

Directions

Signposted off the A260, north of Folkestone, Kent.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

Open daily Easter Good Friday to October 31st: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, April, May and October; 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, June to September. Closed on Mondays, except for Bank Holidays. Last admission one hour before closing. Closed 1st November to the following Easter.

Admission:

See official website for details.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Cafe, Souvenir shop, Access for the disabled.

The Dowding Memorial Hangar
(photo, Kent Battle of Britain Museum)
V-1 Display
(photo, Kent Battle of Britain Museum)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
‘G-AAAH’ de Havilland DH.60G Moth BAPC.168 Replica Displayed
‘D-3-340’ DFS Grunau Baby 2 glider unknown Complete Displayed
Fieseler Fi 103 ‘V-1’ BAPC.36 FSM Displayed
‘425/17’ Fokker Dr.I BAPC.133 FSM Displayed
‘N2532’ Hawker Hurricane BAPC.272 FSM Displayed
‘P2921’ Hawker Hurricane BAPC.273 FSM Displayed
‘P3059’ Hawker Hurricane BAPC.64 FSM Displayed
‘P3208’ Hawker Hurricane BAPC.63 FSM Displayed
‘P3679’ Hawker Hurricane BAPC.278 FSM Displayed
Messerschmitt Bf 109E BAPC.66 FSM Displayed
’14’ Messerschmitt Bf 109E BAPC.67 FSM Displayed
Messerschmitt Bf 109E BAPC.74 FSM Displayed
‘N7033’ North American Harvard IIB FX442 Complete Displayed
‘K5054’ Supermarine Spitfire prototype BAPC.297 Reproduction Displayed
‘N3289’ Supermarine Spitfire BAPC.65 FSM Displayed
‘N3313’ Supermarine Spitfire BAPC.69 FSM Displayed
‘X4255’ Supermarine Spitfire Fuselage FSM Displayed
‘X4321’ Supermarine Spitfire Fuselage FSM Displayed
‘MK356’ Supermarine Spitfire IX FSM Displayed

FSM = Full Scale Model.

More Information

Kent Battle of Britain Museum Trust Ltd, Aerodrome Road, Hawkinge, nr Folkestone, Kent, CT18 7AG. Tel: 01303 893140. Official Website

The Armoury
(photo, Kent Battle of Britain Museum)
The Stuart-Buttle Hangar
(photo, Kent Battle of Britain Museum)
Outside display
(photo, Kent Battle of Britain Museum)
The Operations Block
(photo, Kent Battle of Britain Museum)

Thanks to Matt Nixon for permission to use these photographs.

Spitfire & Hurricane Memorial Museum

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

Two immaculately restored classic fighters in a superb purpose-built memorial building, (formerly known as the Hurricane and Spitfire Memorial Building). Around the aircraft are comprehensive displays telling the story of the air combat over Kent and during World War Two. The cafe gives good views of the activity at the airport. Located next door is the RAF Manston History Museum.

Directions

On the A253, west of Ramsgate, Kent. Adjacent to the RAF Manston History Museum.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

Open daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm BST, late March to late October; daily 10.00 am to 4.00 pm GMT, late October to late March. Closed December 24-27 and December 31-January 2.

Admission:

Free but donations appreciated.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Cafe, Souvenir shop, Access for the disabled.

Spitfire XVI TB752 (photo, Dan Lord) Spitfire cockpit (photo, Dan Lord)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
‘BN230’ Hawker Hurricane II LF751 Complete Displayed
TB752 Supermarine Spitfire XVI TB752 Complete Displayed

More Information

RAF Manston Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Trust, The Memorial Museum, The Airfield, Manston Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT12 5DF. Tel: 01843 821940. Website: Official website.

Right side of Hurricane ‘BN230’
(photo, Dan Lord)
Front view of the Hurricane
(photo, Dan Lord)
Restored Rolls-Royce Merlin engine
(photo, Dan Lord)
An original Merlin engine
(photo, Dan Lord)
The Hurricane is cannon-armed
(photo, Dan Lord)
Weapons display under the Hurricane wing
(photo, Dan Lord)

Brenzett Aeronautical Museum

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

Housed in buildings used by the Women’s Land Army (WLA) during the Second World War, the museum features a large collection of WW2 equipment and memorabilia. The buildings overlook the Brenzett (or Ivychurch) Advanced Landing Ground, which was used to support the D-Day landings. The museum contains displays on Brenzett, aviation in Kent and life in the WLA.

Directions

On the A2070, north-west of New Romney and 10 miles south of Ashford, Kent. The museum is on an unclassified road to Ivychurch.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

Open Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays 11.00 am to 5.30 pm, 29th March to the end of October.

Admission:

See official site for details.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Souvenir shop, Picnic Area, Disabled Access.

Canberra B.2 WH657. (photo, Jeremy Day) Vampire T.11 XK625. (photo, Jeremy Day)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
WH657 English Electric Canberra B.2 WH657 Nose Displayed
XK625 de Havilland Vampire T.11 XK625 Complete Displayed
G-AMSM Douglas Dakota 4 G-AMSM Nose Displayed
V7350 Hawker Hurricane I V7350 Fwd Fuselage Displayed

Notes: The formerly complete Canberra WH657 was destroyed by the museum sometime after 2008 and now only exists as a nose section.

More Information

BAMT, Ivychurch Road, Brenzett, Romney Marsh, Kent, TN29 0EE. Tel: 01797 344747. website: Brenzett Aeronautical Museum

 
? Autogyro
(photo, Jeremy Day)
 

National Battle of Britain Memorial

Unofficial Museum Guide

What’s Here

Not strictly a museum, more an evocative memorial to the Allied aircrews of the Battle of Britain. Officially opened in July 1993, the memorial is in the shape of a giant three-bladed propeller carved into the ground, with the statue of a lone airman sitting on the propeller-boss looking out to sea. Carved on the boss are the Squadron badges of the RAF units which took part in the battle. The surrounding grassy area features a series of raised banks which give the impression of pilot’s leather flying helmet and earphones.

A visitors centre sells a range of souvenirs and refreshments. Close-by are two circular concrete areas. On one sits the Full Scale Model (FSM) of a Hawker Hurricane in the markings of 56 Sqn. On the other is a Supermarine Spitfire FSM in the markings of 72 Sqn. These ‘models’ are of very high quality and considerably enhance the experience of visiting the site.

Directions

At Capel-le-Ferne, between Folkestone and Dover. Access is from the A20 from Dover, or the M20 from Folkestone, then via the B2011.

Visiting

Opening Hours:

The car park and visitors centre are open daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (last admission 4.30 pm), March to end of October; Wednesdays and weekends 10.00 am to 4.00 pm November to February. The site may be accessed on foot outside of these times.

Admission:

Free, donations appreciated.

Amenities:

Toilets, Parking, Visitors Centre, Souvenir Shop, Access for the disabled.

Memorial wall, flagpole and cafeteria
(photo, Mitch Peeke)
Hurricane ‘Little Willie’ of 56 Sqn
(photo, Mitch Peeke)

List of Aircraft Exhibits

Displayed I.D. Aircraft Type Real Identity Condition Status
‘P2970’ Hawker Hurricane I BAPC.291 FSM Displayed
‘R6775’ Supermarine Spitfire I BAPC.299 FSM Displayed

FSM = Full Scale Model.

More Information

National Battle of Britain Memorial, New Dover Road, Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone, Kent. Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne

Pilot memorial viewed from the entrance
(photo, Mitch Peeke)
Pilot looking out to the sea
(photo, Mitch Peeke)
RAF Sqn badges cover the memorial base
(photo, Mitch Peeke)
Pilot memorial from the west side
(photo, Mitch Peeke)
Memorial at the rear of the car park
(photo, Mitch Peeke)