Recently I had the good fortune to visit the RAF Scampton Historical Museum. Located on an active RAF Station, the museum is only accessible by prior arrangement (see below) and housed within one of 617 Squadron’s wartime hangars. With plenty of room, over 400 artifacts from Scampton’s long history are displayed, ranging from its use as a World War I landing ground, the pre-war Royal Air Force expansion period to the Second World War, and on to modern times via the Cold War. Artifacts on display range in size from a small piece of Malay Teak wood from the deck of the German Bismarck-class battleship Tirpitz, to a huge trailer mounted Blue Steel missile, as used by Cold War era Vulcan and Victor bombers. Naturally as the home of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows, an area of the museum presents flight suits and other relevant exhibits.
Mention Scampton to any aviation or history minded person and two names will arise; Guy Gibson and his faithful black labrador dog Nigger. Included in the two hour tour are visits to Gibson’s wartime office, complete with some original fixtures and fittings such as skirtings and doors – you really are walking in the footsteps of legends as you enter the office; with the likes of Operation CHASTISE Officers such as Hopgood, Martin, Young, Maltby, Shannon, Knight, McCarthy, Burpee and Munro having walked before you up the staircase to the first floor landing, and along past the map room and into the Wing Commander’s office. Niggers’ grave is located just outside the office; please refer to the images below for more details.
Entry to the museum is free to the general public, but please contact the contact the curator prior to your visit as the museum is not permanently manned and due to current security measures access to the Station is not possible without prior arrangement. Importantly, if you are planning to visit the museum please bring valid photo I.D. such as driving licence or current passport.
Museum Contact: Telephone 01522 738361 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
My visit to the museum coincided with the Station’s Families Day. Located outside the wartime hangar was a combined display by a small number of Living History groups - the Summer of 44, B'5 Bomber Boys and MECo - with a good collection of wartime bomber crew kit and a number of living history re-enactors present to answer any questions. A most informative kit talk was presented by Sean Taylor, and if you hear of one of these presentations at a venue near you they really are worth catching. A series of photographs with the re-enactors were taken in Guy Gibson’s office, frankly a real privilege for any aviation or historical enthusiast.
The Historical Museum's tours also allow visitors the opportunity to view historic buildings on the technical site, including the front facade of the Officers Mess and the outside of the wartime Briefing Rooms. With friendly and knowledgeable guides on hand, and a well-stocked museum shop, a visit here is very highly recommended.