When the Korean War broke out in 1950, British resources, severely depleted by the Second World War, were already stretched by existing commitments in parts of the world such as Malaya.  The RAF’s involvement and British involvement more generally, was limited by this and by more pressing Cold War concerns over Soviet intentions. However, the RAF was there.  Sunderland flying boats, based at Iwakuni in Japan, patrolled the sea around the Korean peninsula; RAF pilots served on exchange tours with the USAF and RAAF; Auster’s, still under RAF authority although often manned by Army personnel, provided reconnaissance and artillery spotting capability and aircraft such as the Hastings evacuated casualties back to the UK.

Korea highlighted the importance of effective aircrew training and the inadequacy of the Gloster Meteor against modern Soviet designs such as the MiG-15.  It underscored the flexibility of air power; a Shorts Sunderland could be patrolling the sea around Korea on one day, and very soon after be on search and rescue duty from Hong Kong or bombing targets in Malaya while based in Singapore.This lecture will explore the RAF’s involvement in Korea, and attempt to place it in a broader Cold War context.


This lecture will be held in the National Cold War Exhibition Auditorium at RAF Museum Cosford at 12:30PM on Friday 20 May 2016.


This lecture is free of charge however we do ask that you pre-book a free ticket as seats are limited. Booking is quick and easy, we just need some basic contact information.



Ewan Burnet is Curator of Film and Sound Curator at the Royal Air Force Museum. Prior to joining the RAF Museum, he worked at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. His role includes caring for the film and sound collection, cataloguing new material, recording of oral history interviews, processing enquiries from the public, film and television producers and the preparation of audio-visual material for the museum’s exhibitions.


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