Regno Unito / Museo

Brooklands Museum



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Brooklands Museum is now home to a vast collection of aircraft, airfield vehicles, cars, bikes and weapons. Brooklands race circuit was commandeered as the Vickers-Armstrongs aircraft factory during the war, where thousands of Hawker Hurricanes and Vickers Wellingtons were constructed which proved vital in the Battle of Britain and aerial bombardment prior to D-Day.

The military aircraft factory based at Brooklands racetrack in Weybridge was a vital hub of construction for numerous aircraft used by the RAF, including the Vickers Wellington, made by Vickers-Armstrongs. The site was also home to Hawker Engineering, who constructed Hawker Hurricanes on the site. The RAF had initially intended to use Brooklands as a pilot training facility before the war, but this was instead built at Sywell. 

Unfortunately, the factory was a prime target for the Luftwaffe and was bombed on 4 September 1940, despite being camouflaged with additional trees obscuring the track. 90 workers were killed and an estimated 419 injured. The Hawker facilities were bombed just two weeks later, but no one was injured. After the bombings, the most senior staff, including the infamous Barnes Wallis, were moved to less conspicuous facilities in surrounding areas in Hersham, Cobham and Esher. After the move Barnes Wallis conceived the ‘Bouncing Bomb’ which was used ostensibly in Operation Chastise, the bombing of the Ruhr Valley depicted in The Dam Busters

Hawker Hurricanes were famously deployed during the Battle of Britain alongside the Spitfire, to oppose aerial attacks by the Luftwaffe. However, they were still in service come 1944 and participated in the Battle of Normandy between 5 June and 29 August 1944, as a fighter-bomber and completing second-line tasks. The Vickers-Wellington was used to support the navy in the defence of western approaches and used to obscure the intended location of the Normandy landings by bombing the area around Calais. The aircraft used during the landings were painted with ‘invasion stripes’ to help better identify Allied planes, and were mostly painted out immediately to avoid enemy attention. 

During the course of the war over 3,000 Hawker Hurricanes and 2,500 Vickers Wellingtons had been built there, but the facilities became run down by the end of 1945. The site was later sold off to numerous organisations and today is operated by the Brooklands Museum Trust. 

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