The Dambusters & beyond

Celebrating the RAF: An exhibition of photographs and rare archive material

With today’s celebrations in London, 100 days after the 100th birthday of the RAF, I found time to visit The North Wall Gallery which is hosting a joint venture with St. Edward’s School, Oxford (20 June – 17 July 2018) an exhibition of photographs, military artefacts and largely unseen private papers and diaries in a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the RAF.  Many of the individuals featured in the exhibition are former pupils of St. Edwards, including Geoffrey de Havilland, Douglas Bader and Guy Gibson.

St. Edwards - North Wall (low res)

St Edwards - North Wall (low res)The early days of the RAF – 1914

The exhibition has a mightily impressive section on the Dambusters, including fascinating diagrams of the bouncing bomb in addition to photographs before and after the raid.  One of the most personal items is a letter written by Guy Gibson to his headmaster and which has the memorable postscript “Was Awarded V.C. yesterday”.

St. Edwards - Gibson

Overlooking the exhibition is a huge reproduction of a stained glass window housed in the school’s dining room. On 19 November 1955, the school was officially presented with the commemorative window, pictured below, by the Air Council of the RAF in ‘recognition of the fine record of boys from St Edward’s in the Royal Air Force’.

St. Edwards RAF (low res)

I plan to visit St. Edward’s School later this summer to photograph the stained glass windows of their chapel, but it would seem foolhardy not to photograph the RAF window as well, if given permission.

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