We have been informed by The Association of RAF Fighter Control Officers that veteran Joan Fanshawe passed away at the end of December whilst visiting family in New Zealand. Joan is pictured above with Group Captain Tim Willbond and Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Stephen Hillier at event at Bentley Priory Museum in April 2017.
Joan Fanshawe was a Clerk Special Duties and was one of the first WAAF personnel to be employed on duties in the Dowding System. Her first tour was at HQ 11 Group where she was employed as an Operations Room plotter from July 1940 to January 1942; this period covered both the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Joan was on duty on the morning of the 15th September 1940 and witnessed Churchill’s visit on that momentous day.
In January 1942 she was commissioned as an Assistant Section Officer. On D-day she was serving at the Sector Operations Centre at Tangmere from where squadrons were controlled until they crossed the French coast.
Joan is pictured below, on the right-hand side, with TRH Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall and fellow WAAF veterans at the opening of Bentley Priory Museum in September 2013.
Please note: The Museum will be closed from Monday 17th December 2018 and will reopen on Monday 21st January 2019.
We’re delighted to be hosting another concert from the Tonic Choir on 10th November 2018.
To find out more about the concert and how to buy tickets, please visit our What’s On page.
Tickets are now on sale for ‘Time Flies: A Celebration of 100 Years of the RAF ‘ – a RAF Royal Gala at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane on Sunday 7 October 2018.
‘Time Flies’ will tell the story of the formation of the RAF in 1918 to present day, through song, dance, poetry and film.
Among the names announced for this one-off spectacular show are the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the D-Day Darlings, Pixie Lott and Sir Ben Kingsley.
Proceeds from the Royal Gala will support 5 charities: The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, RAF 100 Appeal, the RAF Music Charitable Trust, The Polish Airmen’s Association and Bentley Priory Museum.
Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal’s website.
We will be open on Sundays throughout September 2018.
September is traditionally the month in which the Battle of Britain is commemorated. To mark this, we will be open every Sunday in September 2018.
- Sunday 2nd September
- Sunday 9th September
- Sunday 16th September
- Sunday 23rd September
- Sunday 30th September
Standard opening hours and admission charges apply.
The family of former WAAF Elisabeth Stewart (nee Brewster) have informed us that Elisabeth sadly passed away at the end of 2017.
Elisabeth joined the WAAF in 1940 when she was just 18 years old and was posted to RAF Bentley Priory early on in her career. Whilst based at RAF Bentley Priory, Elisabeth worked as an Operations Room Plotter. She remembered that they were often joined by senior officers watching them from the balcony above and on occasion, Winston Churchill would also be observing.
In December 1944, Elisabeth was the first to hear the message that Glenn Miller’s plane had gone missing. Just four months earlier Glenn Miller and his band had played at RAF Bentley Priory.
Later, Elisabeth was commisioned as a Codes and Cipher Officer and was posted to the Orkneys. There she met her future husband who was serving in the army. Their daughter went on to join the WRAF.
When sharing memories of her time in the WAAF with us, Elisabeth noted that there was “a great sense of community and belonging”.
Please note: Access to the Museum on Saturdays 28th April and 5th May will only be for concert ticket holders.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
If you’re looking for more information about or to purchase tickets for the “Flying Without Wings” concert, please visit our events page.
Enjoy a sumptuous, handmade afternoon tea in the Museum’s vintage cafe.
£19.50 per person (£24.50 including Museum admission).
£24.50 per person including a glass of Prosecco (£29.50 including Museum admission).
Advance booking required by Friday 2nd March.
Click here to book online
Alternatively, call 020 8950 5526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
Joan “Grog” Arundel (nee Grogono)
We have been informed by the family of Joan Arundel (nee Grogono) that Joan sadly passed away earlier this year, aged 100.
Joan joined the WAAF at the very beginning of the war and learnt much of what she was doing on the job, whilst based at RAF Bentley Priory. It was all such a new venture when she first started that initially she didn’t even have a uniform – she wore her own clothes and an armband she was given with “WAAF” written on it.
Joan features as one of the bronze models in our Filter Room gallery, where started as a plotter, then moved to teller, then Corporal in a matter of weeks. She did almost every job there was in the Filter Room.
The Museum will be closed for the festive period from Monday 18th December 2017 and will re-open on Monday 22nd January 2018.
If you are looking to book a group, school or outreach visit, then you can still contact the office.
Group bookings: Email Operations Manager
School visits: Email Learning Officer
Outreach visits: Email Engagement Officer