RAF Museum Acquires Significant Aviation Photography Archives

Photo by Richard Winslade via RAF Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum has been fortunate to acquire three significant collections from 20th-century aviation photographers. Each adds to the record of aviation in the 20th century, especially the history of the Royal Air Force, and they have been generously donated by their families. 

The first collection was acquired before lockdown. Richard Winslade worked with historic aviation organizations, including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Royal Navy Historic Flight as was. He had scanned and cleaned many of his images before uploading them to his page on Flickr.

Photo by Richard Winslade via RAF Museum

The second collection was offered just before lockdown, but couldn’t be collected before the imposition of travel restrictions. Richard Wilson was one of the foremost aviation photographers of his generation, learning from masters, such as Charles E Brown, and taking their place following their retirement.  Richard, like Brown, worked closely with RAF Public Relations and was awarded the CP Robertson Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the person considered to have made the best contribution in presenting the work of the RAF to the publicAn interview with Richard was published in Supplement No. 7 of Aeroplane Monthly in 1985.


While we were waiting for an opportunity to collect the Wilson collection, the Rentoul and Wakeford collection was offered to us by Tom Wakeford’s widow. This collection is far larger than the other two combined and more varied in content. Tom Wakeford was a semi-professional aviation photographer, author, and magazine editor. The subject of his books included the Panavia Tornado, Operation Granby, and the RAF 75th anniversary. He worked closely with Ian Rentoul, whose photographs are included in the collection. The RAF Museum is grateful to the families of these extraordinary photographers.

Photo by Richard Wilson via RAF Museum

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