Thomas Clifford ‘Tony’ Iveson DFC AE (11 September 1919 – 5 November 2013)

Tony Iveson was a Battle of Britain pilot.

Born in 1919, Iveson joined the RAFVR in 1938. He was called up on September 1 1939. At No 5 Flying Training School at Sealand. Iveson converted to Spitfires and joined No 616 Squadron on 2 September 1940.

On 16 September, Iveson ditched in the North Sea 20 miles off Cromer after running out of fuel while chasing a Junkers Ju 88. He was picked up by a motor torpedo boat and landed at Yarmouth. He was posted to No 92 Squadron on October 11 1940. Commissioned in May 1942, Iveson did his second operational tour with Bomber Command. He joined No 617 Squadron in 1944 and amongst other operations, he flew three sorties against the German battleship Tirpitz, including the one that resulted in her sinking in Tromso Fjord on November 12 1944.

On January 12 1945 he took part in a raid on shipping and the submarine base at Bergen, in Norway. The Lancasters were jumped by German fighters and his aircraft was badly damaged, with his port inner engine set on fire and his tailplane and rudders riddled with bullets. His two air gunners and wireless operator had already baled out, when the the fighters suddenly broke off the attack. Iveson managed to regain control of the stricken aircraft and reached Sumburgh, Shetland. For this action, he was awarded the DFC.

Iveson left the RAF on July 12 1949. Later he became Chairman of the Bomber Command Association and was a major force in the campaign that led to the creation of the Bomber Command Memorial in The Green Park in London.

Eileen Younghusband: Britain’s Greatest Generation

Eileen Younghusband returned to Bentley Priory in February to film at the Museum for a forthcoming four-part BBC series, ‘Britain’s Greatest Generation’.

The series will be shown on BBC Two, starting on Friday 8 May, the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. Eileen’s visit to Bentley Priory Museum will air on Friday 15 May.

During WWII, Eileen worked in the Filter Room at Bentley Priory, calculating the targets of the Luftwaffe’s bombing  fleets from information from pioneering radar.

In 1941, at the age of 19, Eileen joined the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force). After completing her initial training at RAF Innsworth and RAF Leighton Buzzard, Eileen was posted to 10 Group Fighter Command at RAF Rudloe Manor, near Bath, where she proved herself to be fast and accurate enough to be commissioned as a Filterer Officer. After training at RAF Bawdsey, she went first to 9 Group, RAF Barton Hall and finally to Headquarters Fighter Command at RAF Bentley Priory.

Eileen is an incredible custodian of the important history of the work that women and men did in the Filter Rooms during WWII. She has shared these stories through published  books and media work.

Charlesin FilterRoomIn 2013, Eileen met with HRH Prince Charles – Patron of the Museum’s Fundraising Appeal –  during the opening of Bentley Priory Museum and stood next the model based on her, in the recreation of the Filter Room at the Museum.




Commemorating the Contribution of Polish Aircrew during the Battle of Britain

Image, above: Group of young people visiting from Slough – where the Hawker Hurricane was made during WWII.

At the end of March, we welcomed a group of young people, aged 13-25, from ‘Aik Saath’ in Slough to the Museum to explore  the contribution of Polish Aircrew during the Battle of Britain.

Young person trying on RAF Uniform - part of the Museum's handling collection. During their visit, they tried on RAF uniforms and discovered the meanings behind the different badges that the Polish aircrew wore proudly on their uniforms during the Battle of Britain.

The group also explored the medals and artefacts of Polish aircrew on display in The Rotunda. As many of the visiting young people spoke Polish, they were able to help Museum staff with interpreting some of aircrew’s log-book entries.



Group of young people exploring a pilot's log-book on display.
The Polish 303 Squadron was made operational on 2 August 1940, and was pivotal to Allied victory during the Battle of Britain.

The visit was part of the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ project, which will see the young people visiting other important heritage sites, including the Polish Memorial at RAF Northolt and the RAF Museum in Hendon, before they interview Polish veterans about their experiences during WWII.

The amazing stories from the interviews will then be embedded into an exhibition that the young people will curate, which will come to Bentley Priory Museum in the autumn of 2015, to commemorate the 75 Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Flight Lieutenant William Walker (24 August 1913 – 21 October 2012)

Flt Lt William Walker was a Battle of Britain pilot. In later life, he wrote poems about the Battle of Britain.

Walker joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve at Oxford in September 1938 to train as a pilot. Called up on the outbreak of war, he completed his training and joined 616 Squadron, based in East Yorkshire and responsible for protecting the industrial cities of the North of England.

After battles with the German Luftwaffe in the North of England, Walker moved with 616 Squadron to Kenley, in the South of England.

Battle of Britain veteran William Walker laying a wreath to absent friends outside Bentley Priory

On 26 August 1940, as Walker was attacking a Bf 109 his Spitfire was hit from behind and he was wounded in the leg. As his controls were shot away, Walker was forced to bail out at 20,000 ft and landed in the English Channel, where he was rescued by a fishing boat. He was transferred to hospital where they removed a .303 bullet – which he kept as a souvenir.

Walker recovered and returned to service during World War II, and was released from the RAF in September 1945.

Walker was a poet and later wrote about the significance of the Battle of Britain and the courage of those who flew during this pivotal moment in modern history.


Squadron Leader Cyril Stanley ‘Bam’ Bamberger DFC* AE* (4 May 1919- 3 February 2008)

‘Bam’ Bamberger was an accomplished RAF pilot who flew during the Battle of Britain, the Defence of Malta and the Korean War and was awarded the DFC Bar and AE Bar medals.

Bam was also a passionate supporter of the creation of a Museum at Bentley Priory and was vice-chair for the newly founded Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust.

In 2008, a few weeks before his death, he gave an interview to the Sunday Telegraph about Bentley Priory’s importance:

”When we first heard the MOD was to sell Bentley Priory, all members of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association were shattered and given the financial lead by one of the Honorary members, we decided to save Bentley Priory for the Nation.

Bentley Priory is the spiritual home of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association. Our first annual dinner, with Lord Dowding present, was held in that historical building in 1946. Ever since that date, we veterans have gathered there every year to remember our Battle of Britain fallen comrades, and as the years have passed, the Few get fewer.

Bentley Priory is a Memorial for the Nation to those who served in the Battle of Britain in any capacity and, as such, has a national and international focus attracting interest from all over the world. I am pleased to be playing my part in the preservation of the significant parts of this great building. Lord Nelson and the Victory saved England. Lord Dowding and Bentley Priory saved the World.”

Cyril Stanley Bamberger – always known as ‘Bam’ – was born in Cheshire on 4 May 1919. In 1934 he became an electrical engineering apprentice, and in 1936 he joined the ground staff of 610 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force, which was formed at Hendon and he then operated Hawker Hind light bombers from Hooton Park, Ellesmere Port. Bam was accepted for pilot training in 1938.

Bam was called into full-time service during World War II and rejoined 610 Squadron, now on Spitfires, at Biggin Hill on 27 July 1940 as a Sergeant Pilot. Bam was sent to an Operational Training Unit for 3 weeks to gain Spitfire experience.

On 28 August Bam returned to 610 and claimed a Bf109 probably destroyed. Bam was then posted to 41 Squadron at Hornchurch on 17 September. On 5 October, he gained his first confirmed combat victory when he shot down a Bf 109.

In mid-October, as the Battle of Britain was coming to an end, Bam volunteered for Malta, where he joined 261 Squadron (Hurricanes). Bam destroyed 2 Ju 87s during his time with 261 Squadron and then moved to newly re-formed 185 Squadron at Hal Far.

Bam continued to fly during the rest of World War II, serving in North Africa and returning to Malta and Hal Far.  After the war, Bam commanded 610 Squadron for their conversion from Spitfires to Meteors and served during the Korean War.

Bam died on 3 February 2008, at the age of 88, with his family around him.