RAF Stories [REMOTE]

RAF Story Volunteers meeting up for lunch in Leicester
RAF Story volunteers meeting for lunch in Leicester

As part of the RAF’s Centenary celebrations and commemorations, the RAF Museum launched RAF Stories. RAF Stories is a digital online project that collects and shares engaging historical and contemporary stories related to the RAF; encouraging people to talk about their personal connection to the RAF and how it has impacted their lives.  The range of stories has been remarkable, much like the people who tell them; current and ex-service men and women, relatives and individuals all with connections to the RAF have taken part in this project and so many more are expected to take part in the future.

Collection of some of the stories has been facilitated by volunteers. Working remotely from the Museum, volunteers have conducted; the interviews, edited the clips or quality checked the content before it is published. Having volunteers working remotely is proving to be very effective as it has allowed the Museum to create connections with a range of different individuals in areas across the UK – this would be very hard to achieve if the volunteers themselves did not live close to the individuals who share their stories with us.  

RAF Story Volunteers in Leicester

Recently I was given opportunity to speak with students from both University of Leicester and De Montfort University, who were meeting with the RAF Stories team, Jess Boydon [Community Engagement Officer: RAF Stories] and Dan Waters [Digital Content Producer] to discuss their future involvement with the project.

At the time of meeting, the students had already begun creating connections with people in the local area with interesting stories to tell, some even had begun the interviewing process. I was interested in why they had decided to join the RAF Stories team, some reasons included always having a strong interest in aircraft and wanted to hear the stories of those who operated them and continue to do so; living local to RAF Museum London and loving it as a child or the, opportunity to give back.

Many of the students said that the Museum/ RAF Stories Project were in some way related to their university courses for example History, Oral history etc. With that in mind I asked what skills they wanted to improve by volunteering with us. The career-based skills many were looking forward to developing included interviewing skills, editing skills oral presentation. However not all were volunteering to gain experience, some students wanted to volunteer in order to increase their confidence in talking to others.

Conducting an Interview

I was interested to learn what conducting an interview was like and. Samantha was able to tell me about her experience.                              

“The woman who we were speaking to, her father was in the RAF from the age of 18 at the start of WW2. He was made a POW from 1941-1945 at Stallag Luft III (same camp where great escape occurred) and was able to show us so many interesting documents and share so many intimate details about her father’s life in order to tell his story, it was great”.

Message from Jess Boydon

Jess Boydon who has led the RAF Museum’s RAF Stories project since the beginning, had this to say about the students input into the project;

“I’m delighted by the energy and enthusiasm that working with students from the University of Leicester and De Montfort University has brought to the RAF Stories project. The students are essential in helping the project extend its reach, ensuring that anyone in their local area with a story to tell can be recorded and included. Through their involvement with this project they are learning a variety of skills from interviewing, research, filming, editing and generally improving confidence in communicating with a wide variety of people. These will all be fantastic skills to take forwards to the next level of their education and for employability when the time comes.”

Final Note

We are all excited by the many stories yet to be recorded by a very energetic team of volunteers. If you would like to view some of the amazing 100 stories already recorded, please visit the RAF Stories website where you can see the huge amount work that has already gone into this project.

If you would be interested in volunteering at the RAF Museum please refer to our opportunity page. Alternatively join our mailing list to hear about any new roles.