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Imperial War Museum

Yesterday Meebs & I made the most of a rainy day and went to a museum, the Imperial War Museum. The building was previously a hospital, and after that it was (quite horrifically) a place where the general public would go and watch the crazy people, who were tied to chains - nice!

Anyway, today the building houses the Imperial War Museum, so named because it covers all of the wars of the Empire, and not specifically wars that only England (UK) took part in. The museum covers all of the wars from the WWI to present day. In 1917 it was decided that the 'war to end all wars' (WWI) would need to be documented. It was thought that there would be no further wars after it...

On arrival you walk through the gates. A slab of the Berlin Wall, aptly sprayed with graffiti, stands to the side, while two massive guns and their shells take centre stage - see info below:

The two guns were each from different ships - the maps show where the ships travelled to.


Meebs checks the directionality - to the left... (shell in the foreground)

Inside we were greeted by tanks, old and older, and planes sweeping and soaring. We were lucky enough to be there at the right time, and were taken on a tour. It was great, except wear comfy shoes, its about an hour of standing. Anyway we took a few pics...

This is the inside of a Jagdpanther. The German tank destroyer. If anyone thinks they have an uncomfy chair, check out the spring cushions here!

The Jagdpanther, with the massive gun from the outside. I stand corrected, but the gun has about an 88mm diameter. This tank was devastatingly accurate and terrorised the allied forces.

The soaring planes. In the foreground, on the right is a Spitfire. On the left, the German plane that was an advancement on the Spitfire. In the background is an American plane that was so efficient it would escort bombers to say, Berlin, then escort them out & after that go back for some random bombing of anything that moved!

I forget the name of this plane, but it was the first plane used by the Brits in WWI. How it actually flew, nobody knows, but it did. There was space for 2 men in this plane. Sometimes the second man would have a pistol to fire or grenade to drop on the enemy. Other times the second man would have to be left behind if the plane had to fly further - weight problems. Its material wings were actually useful - bullets would not shatter the entire wing - they would pass through - and the plane could continue to fly.

This plane was an improvement on the above plane, I think it could fly at double the speed!

How crazy is this - the tin thing floating from the roof used to house a man, who was lowered from a German Zeplin. The Zeplins used to fly higher to avoid the bullets, but then found that they couldn't see the enemy, so would lower a 'spotter' in the 'boat' above!

For those who can read 'small'

These original London buses were used to transport troops, arms and one was even converted into a pigeon coup - pigeons being the most reliable way to get a message sent / received in WWI. The army needed an immediate mode of transport, and needed to get through France ASAP to meet the German troops and the buses were the best available source.

A tank - tanks 1st got there names from the term Water Tank - when the British wanted to use them in WWI, they wanted to bring them over to France, but didn't want the Germans to know what they were doing. So they called them Water Tanks - a means to carry water. However they weren't for water but were for guns -BAM!

When this fell on London, it was explained as a gas explosion. When another fell it was also explained as a gas explosion. This rocket bomb was the beginning of nuclear warfare. While it looks devastating, and was, its flaw was the very sharp point on the tip of the rocket. This tip, along with the weight of the rocket would actually bury a lot of the rocket in the ground - limiting the damage.

We weren't allowed to take pics in the rest of the museum - but it's well worth a visit. Just don't have lunch first if you're a bit squeamish - the Holocaust section is hectic. Also entry to the museum is free!


  1. Just on a more serious note, it was really fascinating walking around the ground level looking at all the big machines and stuff...but if the only things that you've seen on the Holocaust are a couple of tv documentaries and movies, please think twice about going in there, I managed the first bit but it all got too much and I had to make Lucky leave without seeing the rest - although I had said that I was okay to sit in the garden outside whilst she carried on, but Lucky being who she is, wouldn't hear it ! Thanks Lucky :)

    Meebs x


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