Imperial War Museum Lambeth London - 12th November 2014
Click to see photos in the Gallery
Several members and friends boarded the Sprats Coach at Sainsburys to go to the Imperial War Museum in London for the day. On the way we stopped at the Birchanger Services for a break before setting off again. In London we went past The Tower of London and saw all the ceramic poppies in the moat, each representing someone who died, then over Tower Bridge and arriving at the museum where we were dropped off.
By the main entrance outside, as well as the navel guns, I noticed a section of the Berlin Wall which was originally by the Brandenburg Gate, where I saw it when on holiday in Berlin. I stood by that spot just before the wall came down twenty five years ago. Inside the museum I saw the new layout of the Ground Floor Atrium with a Spitfire I, Harrier GR9A, V-1 Doodle Bug hanging from the roof and a V-2 rocket standing upright, a Russian T-34 tank and a car destroyed by a suicide car bomber in Baghdad. The Imperial War Museum has had three homes, The Crystal Palace for four years, South Kensington for eleven years and Lambeth since 1936. The Museum now owns HMS Belfast, parts of Duxford, The Churchill War Rooms and The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.
On the ground floor was the First World War Exhibition where you can experience the sights and sounds for those on the Western Front. On display was a tank, a Sopwith Camel biplane and relics from the trenches. Several school children were there so it was quite crowded. On the first floor was the history of the Second World War with the story of the domestic side at home showing a Morrison Shelter and items found at home, the military side showing items such as a Lancaster cockpit, a Midget Submarine and an Enigma deciphering machine and tapestries.
On the Second floor was a display depicting Peace and Security Spies and the story of the SAS rescuing the Iranian Embassy workers. The first item I noticed on this floor was a “Little Boy” atomic bomb casing which is a type which was used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. General Montgomery's Staff car is also on show. In a couple of other rooms is a small exhibit about Afghanistan and the history of Spying and Special Forces. While on this floor I went to a section where you could ask how to go about finding your family roots in the armed forces.
The third floor was showing art in war and the fourth floor was all about the holocaust in German occupied countries during the Second World War. The top floor was dedicated to The Lord Ashcroft Gallery with pictures of the holders of the Victoria Cross and George Crosses, telling their stories and other medals. At 4:00 pm we went back on the coach and had a guided tour of some of the sights around the area including Olympic Games structures, The Shard etc before going straight back to Norwich.
We all thanked Peter Wood for organising this very interesting day out.

Andrew Elphick

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