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The Dambusters and Beyond: Celebrating the RAF - The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford

Guy Gibson. Signed photo to Gibson’s Housemaster,  ‘Freddie’ Yorke, 1940 Courtesy  St Edward’s School, Oxford.

Exhibition preview

THIS year, 2018, marks the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) as the UK’s aerial peace-keeping and fighting force.

Focusing on the daring exploits and ingenuity of aviation pioneer Geoffrey De Havilland, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, leader of the Dambusters raid, celebrated aviators Louis Strange and Adrian Warburton and legendary RAF flying ace Douglas Bader, this exhibition uses rare archive photography, as well as largely unseen private papers to celebrate the 100th anniversary year.

The Dambusters and Beyond runs at Oxford’s North Wall Arts Centre from June 20 until July 17 and admission is free.

The vital roles played by women also feature, from their significant contribution to the espionage activities of the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War to their role in the Air Transport Auxiliary, including flying planes from factories to the squadrons of the RAF.

Geoffrey De Havilland, Guy Gibson, Douglas Bader, Louis Strange and Adrian Warburton were all pupils at St Edward’s School Oxford, and the school will be lending previously unseen archive material to the exhibition. Through the featured individuals, the exhibition will illuminate key aspects of the RAF’s history and development, including early aviation innovations, the Dambusters raid, the Battle of Britain, iconic aircraft, Alec Cranswick and the Path Finder Force and the Jet Age.

The exhibition features material from the Archives of the Imperial War Museums, St Edward’s School, and the photographic agency TopFoto. It is curated by Dr Simon Innes-Robbins, Senior Curator at the Imperial War Museum.

Image (top): Guy Gibson. Signed photo to Gibson’s Housemaster, ‘Freddie’ Yorke, 1940. Courtesy St Edward’s School, Oxford.

Image (bottom): WAAF armourers and flight mechanics servicing a Hawker Hurricane at Sealand in Wales, May 5, 1943. © IWM (CH10090).

Admission: Free.

Opening Times: Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm; Saturday, 12pm – 4pm; Open from 5pm for events.

The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Oxford, OX2 7JN

Tel: 01865 319 450