Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hallowed Ground

Because of the glaciers attacking Washington, I got two extra days in Londontown. The weather was dog crap, as usual this time of year over there, so I decided to stay indoors. But not at the hotel. I took the “Tube” to the RAF museum. Admission was free. What do you think the first plane is that you see when you walk in?

SPITFIRE, you shout with absolute certainty. Wrong. Hawker Hurricane? Nope. Sea Fury? Nah. Oh yeah! You know, the Lancaster bomber! Wrong again. You're scratching your head. Hmm. What other plane would the Brits likely put on display at the front entrance to the RAF Museum? Click on the museum.
Can you believe it? I can. In fact, the Brits revere all the allied planes that defended them and took the fight to the enemy.
The letters “RAF” carry an aura in the UK that USAF and USN don't back here in the states. They love their RAF and hold its members in lofty regard. I felt humbled just to amble through that magnificent museum filled with awesome planes, some beautiful, some ugly, that defended freedom and etched their place in history.

The museum was quiet the day I was there. Not many visitors on a rainy mid-week day. Good. The silence helped me hear their voices reading their checklists, and feel their presence in the shadows, checking their gear, pre-flighting their planes.

As awesome as this museum is, it's what you don't see that compels you to know you're among greatness.

More pics of the museum? Click on the Spit.


Ol Paint said...

Nice pictures.

Incidentally, the "Spad" is a Sopwith F.1 Camel, the "P-47" is a P-40, and the "Shackleton" is a B-24. I also believe the "Can't remember what this is but it's awesome" is a Sea Fury, but I'm not positive.

It's always interesting reading your posts.

Bob said...

It's gratifying to see the Mustang occupying a prominent position. I guessed B-17, but P-51 works for me. Gestures such as this help us to remember who our friends are and what we mean to each other.

That said, I happened to be in Paris on July 4 back in 96 or 97. I was pleased and surprised to see memorial services honoring GI's conducted at L'Arc de Triomphe with a great deal of reverence and respect paid to those brave Americans who, along with so many of our allies, gave their lives to free Europe from Hitler's grasp.
Thanks for the post

scott said...

No Spitfire? My all time favorite airplane. Wish I could have visited that place with you.

Daniel said...

Next time you're stuck here for a few days, particularly if the weather's good, you should try and get out of the city to Duxford. Fantastic museum, with aircraft that fly alongside the static exhibits.

N6349C said...

I have been there several times, wonderful place. Next time go to Duxford, you will have to rent a car or take the train. There are over a dozen Spits of various marks, at least 1 ME-109, a Corsair etc etc.

BTW, the Brits have a right to the P51 Mustang - it was actually built for them in 1940, and only adopted by the USAF later.

D.B. Cooper said...

It is a Sea Fury. The untitled one is a Canberra bomber, used by the RAF, the Argentinian Airforce, and the USAF, who called it the B-57 (made under license by Martin).

D.B. Cooper said...

Oops my mistake - It's a DH Meteor.

HAWK21M Blog said...

Fantastic pics.