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Battle of Britain Commemoration at Motat

The Avenger torpedo bomber being towed to its new home at MOTAT

Battle of Britain Commemoration at Motat

The 75th Anniversary of one of the most definitive aerial battles of World War II, the Battle of Britain, is being commemorated at MOTAT’s Aviation Display Hall on Sunday 20 September.

Visitors to the Museum will be thrilled by the roar of Harvard’s, fighter jets and other ex-military aircraft overhead as the New Zealand Warbirds Association performs an aerial salute to mark the occasion. This tribute to the pilots who fought in the epic battle is weather dependent and scheduled for 11am.

The commemoration includes interactive exhibits in the Aviation Display Hall as well as guided tours of MOTAT’s impressive aviation collection. The tours start from the foyer area every hour from 11:30am to 3:30pm. There will be knowledgeable volunteers on hand to answer questions and explain the technology on display.

As this takes place on the Museum’s monthly Live Day, families can enjoy Armoured Personnel Carrier and Steam Train rides from11am to 4pm along with many other activities across both sites. Normal MOTAT admission fees apply.

Visitors have the rare opportunity to see the restored Grumman Avenger bomber operating its impressive folding wings and bomb bay door mechanism. Likewise, the Handley Page Hastings transport aircraft in the blister hangar will be demonstrating the hydraulic retraction of its huge main undercarriage.

Witnessing the world’s first flight simulator, the Link Trainer, in action as well as the working controls, sound effects and lights of the suspended Harvard airplane is an experience not to be missed.

The Aviation Display Hall commemorates Sir Keith Park, one of New Zealand’s great historical aviators who fought in the killing fields of Gallipoli and went on play a key role as a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain. Several of his personal possessions are on display in the foyer.

The Battle of Britain erupted over southern England in mid-August 1940 when the mighty German air force attempted to gain superiority over Britain’s RAF. The defeat of Hitler’s Luftwaffe prevented Germany from invading Britain and was one of the turning points of World War II.

In 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to his pilots as "the few," and predicted that even if the Empire and Commonwealth lasted 1000 years, the four-month long Battle of Britain would still be considered their "finest hour".


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