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  Hurricane and Spitfire Museum and RAF Manston Museum - Manston Airfield, Kent, 15th February 2016


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It was still winter but the family needed an aviation fix so on a bright but chilly February day Aviationphoto.co.uk headed down to ex-RAF Manston to visit the Hurricane and Spitfire Memorial Museum and the co-located RAF Manston History Museum. The airfield itself is steeped in history and was a Fighter Command base in the Second World War, albeit one that had to be abandoned as a permanent base during the Battle of Britain due to its proximity to the coast allowing Luftwaffe fighters to mount surprise attacks giving the scrambling RAF fighters little time to get airborne before being intercepted.

Both museums are well worth a visit and we started with the Hurricane and Spitfire Memorial which houses Hawker Hurricane IIC LF751, painted in 43 Squadron colours as BN230, and Supermarine Spitfire XVI TB752, both machines having been restored by the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society at Rochester. Alongside the aircraft there are a wealth of supporting displays of models, equipment, weapons and information that make for a very interesting experience.

All too soon it was time to move on and we headed across the car park to the RAF Manston History Museum which occupies one of the oldest buildings still extent from the stations origins as a Royal Navy Air Station in 1916. The Museum has come along way since my first visit in 2005 and has also taken on some more rather nice airframes. These include English Electric Lightning F6 XR770 which arrived in March 2015 from RAF Waddington and SEPECAT Jaguar GR3A XZ106 which has been at the museum since 2008 and is currently painted in the temporary winter camouflage that RAF Jaguars and Harriers wore during the Cold War when exercising in countries such as Norway. Other highlights include cockpits from a Victor, Canberra and Buccaneer which can be viewed up close alongside a smart Wessex SAR helicopter and Canadair CT-133AN Silver Star 3 G-BYOY painted in USAF colours to represent the American presence at the airfield in the 1950s.

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