HRH The Duke of Gloucester visited the de Havilland Aircraft Museum on Tuesday, September 6 to present The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, as part of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The Duke and civic dignitaries visited the museum and met volunteers to hear about their work. These included the specialist teams dedicated to the restoration of the museum’s Mosquitos and its pre-war Dragon Rapide biplane.
The award ceremony took place on the mezzanine floor of the Geoffrey de Havilland hangar and was received by Pauline Dowling and Myles Petts, two of the museum volunteers. The award is the sector equivalent of an MBE.
Over 150 volunteers are responsible for all aspects of the museum’s operations: exhibit restoration, site maintenance, visitor hospitality, finance and IT. The Duke is the museum’s second royal visitor; Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, opened the Walter Goldsmith hangar in 1984
Dating from 1959, it is Britain’s oldest aviation museum and is located in the grounds of Salisbury Hall, near London Colney. During the early years of World War Two, it was used by de Havilland as the secret development centre for the Mosquito twin-engine multirole aircraft. The prototype is now displayed in the Walter Goldsmith hangar, just a few metres from where it was designed and assembled.