Aviation History

New WWII Museum At Former Biggin Hill Airfield Opens To Public

Biggin Hill was the busiest airfield during the Battle of Britain and Churchill called it his "strongest link".

The Biggin Hill War Memorial Museum in south London has been officially opened to the public.

During the Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill called Biggin Hill his “strongest link” and pilots from the airfield shot down 1,400 Luftwaffe aircraft.

"The history of Biggin Hill goes so much further back [than the Battle of Britain]. It is one of Britain's oldest aerodromes and was instrumental to the development of wireless communication technologies," explained the director of the Bigging Hill War Memorial Museum, Jemma Davey.

"[Biggin Hill] was instrumental in the turning point of Second World War."

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610 Squadron at Biggin Hill (Picture: Biggin Hill Memorial Museum).

The museum aims to create a space for people to learn about the Battle of Britain and remember those who lost their lives in the conflict.

The new museum is home to a number of Spitfire aircraft, artefacts from the period and previously unpublished photos of pilots and Churchill on a visit to the site.

Every object in the museum has a personal story connected to it. Many objects on display have actually been donated by members of the local community or veterans who have a link to Biggin Hill.

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A handwritten letter currently at Biggin Hill Memorial Museum.

One of the objects included in the collection is a diary from the Cudham Church of England School.

"The headmaster and headmistress were married to each other," explained Davey, and when they did not survive an air raid, we can see "where the new headmaster sadly and regretfully starts taking over the writing of the school diary."

"It reminds us that civilians and local villagers' lives were so touched by living next to RAF Biggin Hill and nobody really escaped the effects of the war in those circumstances."

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Winston Churchill visits Biggin Hill (Picture: Biggin Hill Memorial Museum).

Other than including objects that remind visitors of the effects of the Second World War on locals and civilians, it looks at the lives of those who worked at RAF Biggin Hill.

"The museum offers a new way of telling for what some people would be a familiar story," said Davey.

"We are allowing the people who experienced war here to tell the stories  in their own words."

Work on the new £5.3 million museum began in October 2017 with funding from the Government, National Lottery, Bromley Council and private individuals.

Also on site is St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance where the names of those who died working from Biggin Hill sector are commemorated.

Local at Biggin Hill openig 300119 CREDIT Forces News
Geoff Greensmith was just seven when the Battle of Britain started. Now, he visits the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum.

"We are allowing the people who experienced war here to tell the stories  in their own words."

Work on the new £5.3 million museum began in October 2017 with funding from the Government, National Lottery, Bromley Council and private individuals.

Also on site is St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance where the names of those who died working from Biggin Hill sector are commemorated.