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Subject: Re: Military museum in and around London

>The Imperial War Museum comes to mind.  It probably is one of the best of its
>kind (if not the best) in the world.

Gosh, I hope they have improved it from when I visited it in 1990.  Like many
War Museums, some of the really interesting stuff is not on display and the
parts that were when I was there were badly labelled.  Cards supposedly
numbering exhibits were wrong and cards denoting some exhibits were missing
the exhibits. I understand that conservation sometimes requires exhibits
to be removed from display, but just to "disappear" them?
I am more in favour of good labelling and Victorian arrangement (the type
of organisation where as much as possible is on display as contrasted with
a modern minimalist representative type of display).

If you are into tanks and armoured vehicles, the Bovington Tank Museum is
one of the best.  Unfortunately it really requires you to have a hire car
(but you can visit Stonehenge on the same day).  I haven't seen the USA
equivalent (Aberdeen Proving Grounds?), so I don't know how they compare.

[mod.note:  BritRail will get you within a short taxi ride of the Tank
Museum.  Bovington is hands down better than Aberdeen P.G.'s museum,
unless you're especially interested in US equipment. - Bill ]

The War Memorial (and Museum) in Canberra, Australia is pretty good (even
though it is another of the "minimalist representational" displays. It
has an annex (read warehouse) that is open one day every two years to
the public.  This annex even has a whole German V2 (A4).

From: shuksan! (Mike Schmitt)

  Two not to miss:  

  1) The Imperial War Museum (focus on World War I & II) (across the Thames) 

  2) The Army Museum (Near the Army Hospital in Chelsea???? been a long time)
     which has a tremendous collection of artifacts and uniforms and the
     history of the British Army.  If you're really interested in this -
     plan to spend an entrie day at the Army Museum.

  3) If you visit the Tower of London - stop in at the Regimental Museum for
     the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

By all means, visit the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.  It's
just a boat-ride down the Thames from the houses of Parliament.  You
can see Harrison's chronometers, Horatio Nelson's coat (complete with
bullet hole), you can walk through an 1840's steamer, see one of Prince
William's gilded Thames barges, and on and on.  In my opinion, much more
interesting than Imperial War or National Army museums.  Better than
anything except a day at Old Warden Aerodrome, and maybe even better
than Portsmouth (HMS Victory).

Looking over HMS Belfast is also a pretty good way to use up several hours.

[mod.note:  Belfast is a light cruiser (in Washington Treaty terminology)
as she's armed with six-inch guns.  She displaces 10,000 tons and was the
lead ship of the third group of Southampton class cruisers.  - Bill ]

>   1) The Imperial War Museum 
on Lambeth Road.  Nearest Underground station, Lambeth North.

>   2) The Army Museum 
National Army Museum, on Royal Hospital Road.  Nearest Underground,
Sloane Square (the one with a pipe over the station carrying a former
river, incidentally).

>   3) If you visit the Tower of London - stop in at the Regimental Museum for
>      the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
Tower Hill Underground.

Not exactly a military museum, but of war-related interest, is the War
Cabinet Rooms, the underground rooms where the Cabinet met during the
"blitz".  Nearest Underground, Westminster.

The above four locations are all pretty central.  If military *aviation*
is of interest, make the trip out to the old Hendon air base, to see the
RAF Museum.  It's still on the Underground, or fairly close to it anyway
-- nearest station, Colindale.

Farther out yet, but still within day-trip range, is the Imperial War
Museum's branch at Duxford airfield, near Cambridge.  As far as I know a
person without a car can best get there by first taking a train to Cambridge,
then a fairly infrequent bus service to the airfield; but my information
may be out of date, and I haven't gone there myself yet.

>Try the RAF museum in Hendon.  They have a vulcan bomber, Lancanster bomber, 
>supermarine spitter, gloster meteor and others.  Pretty good selection.

When I visited London with my parents I went to several museums and sites
with my father, who shares my enthusiasm for Military History.
Sites that I would recommend are:
*The RAF museum (make this a day trip as you need to use British Rail :-)
*The Imperial War Museum in London. This museum concentrates on the Royal
Army and has some excellent paintings and other artifacts.
*The HMS Belfast on the river Thames. This is a ship in excellent
condition. The staff is made up of Royal Navy pensioners and their
knowledge and enthusiasm is priceless. I worked at the Intrepid Museum in
New York City for a number of years and our facility never matched the
Befast while I was there (but the Intrepid Museum is still worth
*Wellington's house. I didn't expect much from this but the house itself
was interesting and was filled with numerous items relating to
Wellington's victory over Napoleon at Waterloo. A must for any 18th/19th
century historian.

This was all a number of years ago (1985) but as far as I know all these
sites are still open to the public. Your mileage may vary.

There is the Imperial War Museum in Kennington, south of the Thames. It will
be marked on any tourist map. Bits of Berlin wall, Polaris missile, collection
of aircraft hanging off the ceiling and a lot of odd bits and peices of
military history.

An example of this is the covert stuff. There is  a German torpedo vessel,
crewed by a single man, carrying two ca. 450cm torpedoes, one either side
of the hull, which is shaped very much like a torpedo itself. This craft
was intended for what would probably be called 'covert precision strike' or
some such these days, as its optical (and presumably audible) signatures
were very small. Centimetric radar may well have shown it up, but you'd
have to know what you were looking for.

From: David Bass <>
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Ten warbirds I'd like to see fly before I die!
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 13:37:46 -0800

Dino V. Germano wrote:

>  6.   Heinkel He 162. So damm small and cute.

There's one of these at RAF Hendon, the RAF Museum.

Must admit, it's a really odd looking thing. Apparently it 
was not exactly 'cute' to fly it, though.

Now follows the free advert for the RAF Museum:

(I just visited with some friends yesterday. Spent over five
hours there and didn't get to see the Battle of Britain Hangar).

A must-see if you're in London. Colindale Underground station, or 
Mill Hill Broadway 'overground'. Entry fee is £5.20 for an adult, 
£2.60 child (January 1996). 'Free ticket' for use within six months 
(because you don't get time to see everything in one go).

Notable items (my own personal prejudices, of course, and in no 
particular order) include:

Sopwith Camel and Triplane.
Belvedere helo.
He 162
Blue Steel
'Yellow Sun' (worry not, it's only a training round!)
Tornado prototype P02
Bloodhound as a gate guard.
[...the list seems to go on forever]

I'm going back with loads more film and a notebook, as my friends 
didn't have the stamina.

Light levels are kept low, so you need a decent flash if you want to 
get any sort of photographic results. Even the 'restaurant' does 
passable sandwiches and coffee.

From: (Andy Dingley)
Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics
Subject: Re: V1 buzz bomb
Date: Sat, 02 Nov 1996 17:43:11 GMT

The moving finger of "Joe R." <> having written:

>William H. Ivey wrote:
>> :-) The British have a captured V1 launcher set up now on their side of
>> the Channel as a display piece, by the way.-Wm
>Where is that set up at?  I'd love to see it if I ever got to England! I 
>looked at a number of V-1s and 2 up close but never the V-1 launcher.

I don't know of one by the Channel, but the Duxford aircraft museum
just outside Cambridge has a V1 rail launcher on display outside. A
few yards further along is a barrel section from the Iraqi supergun.

One of the smaller privately owned tank museums (the Wheatcroft
collection ?) was recently offering V1 ramp sections for sale.

Duxford is every bit as good as Wright Patterson or the Smitsonian
aircraft collection - it's a must see if you're in the country.

From: David Lednicer <>
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: what's at RAF Hendon?
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 09:40:06 +0100

  I was there a long time ago (1988), but I think things haven't changed
much.  The tube ride from central London was like an hour to an hour and
a half.  Once you get out of the station, you walk about 4-5 blocks to
the museum.  I seem to remember good signs pointing the way.  The museum
is actually three museums, all co-located: the RAF Museum, the Bomber
Command Museum and the Battle of Britain Museum.  I normally can get
through a museum pretty quickly, but these museums kept me for about
four hours - they are chock full of good stuff.

David Lednicer             | "Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics"
Analytical Methods, Inc.   |   email:
2133 152nd Ave NE          |   tel:     (206) 643-9090
Redmond, WA  98052  USA    |   fax:     (206) 746-1299

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