15 November 2019

Through Adversity to the Stars: a new exhibition installed at Runnymede Memorial

A new exhibition telling the stories of some of the 20,000 names commemorated at Runnymede, as well as exploring the design and history of the memorial, has been unveiled.

 Exhibition at Runnymede memorial

Through Adversity to the Stars – named for the RAF’s Latin motto ‘Per ardua ad astra’ - is the latest step in the ongoing work at Runnymede Memorial, which includes the recent restoration of the intricate ceiling paintings. This will continue into 2020 with the introduction of a digital exhibition that will further explore the story of Noor Inayat Khan, a Second World War SOE operative and one of 14 women commemorated on the memorial.

 

The memorial, which is sometimes known as the Air Forces Memorial, commemorates over 20,000 airmen and women who were lost in the Second World War and have no known grave.

Consisting of several information panels located around the cloister, Through Adversity to the Stars tells the story of the Royal Air Force and its role during the Second World War. Alongside Noor Khan, the exhibition also tells the stories of some of the names commemorated, including one of the crews from the Dambusters raid and Wing Commander Alois Vašátko - a Czechoslovak flying ace.

Reading the information panels

The exhibition also tells the story of the memorial itself, starting with its inception; from the reasons behind the memorial’s location, to the various key design decisions taken by Sir Edward Maufe, the memorials architect, including some of the original watercolour designs.

The story continues through to the present day, uncovering the restoration and horticultural work and discussing the memorial’s continuing significance in remembrance services and community events today.

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