Not only is the Kent Battle of Britain Museum the oldest and largest collection of Battle of Britain artefacts in the UK, it also boasts an unusual collection of full size replica aircraft used during the making of the epic 1969 film of the same name.
Located with and outside hangars of the former RAF Hawkinge – the closest Fighter Command station to the French coast – Spitfire, Hurricane and Messerschmitt BF 109 mock-ups stand amid real guns, vehicles, wreckage and other relics of the famous Second World War air campaign of 1940.
The privately operated museum, which receives no support from the British government or local authority, opened in 1971. Located four miles from Folkestone, Kent, the museum has gained the support of several former Battle of Britain pilots who have donated personal items to the display.
RAF Hawkinge was used by both the Royal Flying Corps and later the Royal Air Force from 1915 until it closed in 1958. During the Battle of Britain the base was home to Hawker Hurricanes of No. 79 Squadron, part of 11 Group of Fighter Command.
While most of the site has now been built on, the Kent Battle of Britain Museum is housed within several former wartime buildings. It also explains what became of many of the full scale fighter aircraft replicas used for the film starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.