Lincolnshire is known as bomber County because during the Second World War it was full of airbases from which bombers would launch missions against Nazi Germany.
Now there is a new exhibition on at The Collection Museum in Lincoln called “A Century of Valour” which is an exhibition about Lincolnshire’s aviation gallantry over the last 100 years.
It’s a very interesting exhibition with lots of artefacts on display. These range from World War II era compasses and field telephones, to an ejector seat from a plane.
Medals from Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who led the Dambusters raid on the German dams, are also on display. Personal items belonging to Spitfire pilot Douglas Bader are on display such as his medals, his wallet, logbook, and identity tags.
There’s also lots of information on the walls about individual stories of heroism that were awarded medals for their bravery.
It’s not just humans that get medals for valour; animals do too. There have been over 50 medals awarded to animals for their services in the Armed Forces over the years. These include 32 pigeons, 20 something dogs, and one cat.
The exhibition highlights some stories of how individual animals earned their medals. One pigeon, for example, survived a plane crash in Germany and managed to fly 450 miles home, while badly injured, to deliver a message saying where the plane crashed. The pigeons in my garden seem far less heroic.
It’s not just tales of heroism from World War II but also from the Cold War and more recently.
From an accessibility point of view, however, the exhibition can be improved in a couple of ways.
Firstly, information cards were laying flat in the display cases next to the exhibits. I found it very difficult to read these because I can’t lean over the top of them like everybody else. Plus the text was often a bit small which didn’t help.
It would have been easier if the cards were inclined slightly, or if there was a corresponding booklet with the information written down that people could carry around with them. They do provide a booklet for some exhibitions in The Collection but for some reason they didn’t do it this time.
Secondly, some videos were playing on screens on the wall showing old footage from during the war. There were no subtitles on these videos so I couldn’t understand what was being said.
We did speak to a member of staff at the exhibition and raised these points with them, so hopefully, they will take it on board and make some changes.
The exhibition is on until 15 March, and I would recommend going to see it if you are interested in World War II or local history. There are some fascinating information and interesting exhibits to see.