Historic objects have the capacity to illustrate remarkable stories and can bring history to life through discovery, exploration and reflection.
Our film series Every Object Tells a Story highlights some of the extraordinary objects from aviation heritage collections across England, from entire aircraft to things you can hold in one hand, with commentary from the staff and volunteers who care for them.

The Cockpit Builders

A short film showcasing the work of the Special Engineering Projects Team at the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, restoring and creating cockpits for simulations and museum displays.

The Emergency Axe

The RAF heavy bombers of WWII carried a variety of emergency equipment ranging from a dinghy and life jackets, to parachutes and first aid packs.

This film focuses on an emergency axe, sometimes called an escape or crash axe, generously donated to the International Bomber Command Centre by Ann and Peter Deaton.

Emergency axes were stoutly made, weighing 1.5 kilograms and had an insulated handle that would protect the user from electric shocks up to 20,000 volts. They were produced to help crew escape from crashed or ditched aircraft. The sharp edge and hook were designed to slice and rip through the thin alloy of the aircraft’s fuselage, Perspex, and other obstructions.

This axe was recovered from the wreckage of 622 Squadron Lancaster LM595 GI-O which crashed near Oude-Tonge in Holland on July 21st, 1944. It bears the UK patent number 515767 which was awarded to the Chillington Tool Company of Wolverhampton in 1938. This pattern axe was also produced by Edward Elwell Ltd of Wendesbury. Tragically, none of the airmen aboard the aircraft survived the crash. The crew lay at rest In Bergan op Zoom War Cemetery and are remembered on the Memorial Walls at The International Bomber Command Centre at Canwick, Lincoln as follows:

Pyle, JEA. RAFVR | Hall, AH. RAFVR | MacGibbon, PA. RAFVR | Tomlinson, L. RAF | Crowther, E. RAFVR | Pool, WH. RCAF | Spaven, JL. RAFVR


The Spitfire replica

Opened since 2014, the Langham Dome is a military museum in the very heart of Norfolk. It now displays a stunning Spitfire replica, ‘launched’ on its pedestal just outside the dome.

The Heinkel He 111 aircraft

Let David Brocklehurst, chairman and curator of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum at Hawking, take you through the stunning Heinkel He 111 aircraft, recently added to the museum’s collection.