Duxford in Cambridgeshire is a very popular venue for warbird enthusiasts. There is an extensive museum which is free to look around during a Duxford Airshow and includes many WWII examples.
Duxford is home to the Imperial War Museum Collection (IWM), The Fighter Collection (TFC), The Old Flying Machine Company (OFMC), The Aircraft Restoration Company (ARC), Historic Aircraft Collection (HAC), B-17 Preservation Society etc.
Duxford has several Airshows during the season with the popular Flying Legends Air Show usually being held in July.
If you like warbirds then Duxford is the airshow to visit.
Click here to visit the official website of Imperial War Museum at Duxford.
A military air station was constructed at Duxford during the First World War as a result of the expansion of the Royal Flying Corps and the need to train more airmen.
In 1918 trainee American aircrew were stationed Duxford. Following this, squadrons of the newly formed Royal Air Force, used Duxford as a home base. After the First World War, it served as a base for flight research.
In 1920, it was home for 2 Flying Training School with the Avro 504, Bristol F2B fighter and DH9A, and later Sopwith Snipes. Later 2 Flying Training School moved to Leicestershire and RAF Duxford became a fighter aircraft station operating the Snipe.
Up until 1937, Duxford operated a succesion of fighters including the Gloster Grebe, Armstrong Whitworth Siskin, Bristol Bulldog, and the Gloster Gauntlet.
In the summer of 1938, Duxford saw the first example of the Supermarine Spitfire (serial K9792). This aircraft was entrusted to 19 Squadron, which went down in history as the first operational Spitfire Squadron.
At the start of the Second World War, Duxford was home to other Spitfire Squadrons and a Blenheim Mk IF Squadron which operated in the fighter role and commanded by Flight Lieutenant Douglas Bader. Bader had already served at Duxford before as a ground based Flying Officer following his accident in which he lost both legs and he had also served as a 19 Squadron pilot in 1939.
In 1940, the Blenheims were exchanged for Spitfires and a Squadron of Boulton Paul Defiant single-engined turreted fighters moved here for a short stay.
During the Battle of Britain, Duxford saw a lot of activity even though it was some way to the north of the main scene of action. Its aircraft were frequently scrambled against the Luftwaffe.
Hurricanes also arrived at Duxford during 1940 under the command of Douglas Bader. Later Bader took command of three squadrons which formed a wing. Other squadrons were added to the wing to form the controversial 'Big Wing' which was pioneered by Bader.
At the end of 1940, Duxford saw the arrival of the Air Fighting Development Unit which was to evaluate new aircraft and tactical developments. The AFDU tested many aircraft such as the Martin Maryland, N.A. Mitchell, Martin Marauder, Lockheed Ventura, and Handley Page Halifax bomber. The AFDU also tested captured German aircraft such as the Heinkel He III bomber, Messershmitt Bf 109 and Bf 110 and compared them to allied types.
In 1941, a Hawker Typhoon wing was present at Duxford. The Bell Airacobra and Lockheed P-38 Lightning were also tested at Duxford.
In April 1943, Duxford was handed over to the United States Eigth Air Force and all British units were removed. The Americans called Duxford Base 357 and operated large numbers of Republic P-47 Thunderbolts which were to escort the American bomber raids to Germany and France.
In 1944 the Thunderbolts were replaced by P-51 Mustangs. The Americans also laid a metal runway using Universal Pierced Steel Planking or PSP. In 1945, the Americans left and Duxford was handed back to the RAF which now operated the Spitfire MkIX and later the Mk XXIs.
Duxford Airshows 2012|
Click here for further information.
The Google map below will help you to locate Duxford Airshow and allows you to zoom in for more detail or switch to satellite view.|
Click here to visit Official Duxford Visitor Information Page.
Imperial War Museum
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 835 000
Fax: +44 (0)1223 837 267
Click here to visit Official I.W.M. contact page