Opening: 23 May 2016, 11:00am Daily: 24 May - 23 October 2016, 8:00am 8:00pm
The United Kingdom and Bahrain have enjoyed a close and enduring friendship, dating back to 1820 when a treaty of protection was signed between the British government and the Sheikhs of Bahrain. In 1928, the Royal Air Force (RAF) began surveying the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf, where they established a number of airfields and flying boat bases. The cooperation between the RAF and the Sheikhs of Bahrain included granting the RAF use of the airfield at Manama, and later on in Muharraq once the new airspace was built. After 1932, Bahrain played a pivotal role for the RAF as a refueling stop for both landplanes and flying boats on Imperial Airways routes to India. Aviation has consistently played a major role in building and solidifying a strong partnership between the two countries since the dawn of flight in the early 20th century as the UK pioneered aviation technologies and Bahrain has been a constant supporter and adopter of this technology. For over 80 years, the RAF has played an active role in the defense of Bahrain. During World War II, the RAF undertook the defense of Bahrain while donations collected from the people of Bahrain through public subscription contributed to the Gulf Fighter Funds, raising £50,000 which paid for ten spitfire aircraft operated by the RAF. An additional six aircraft were purchased using funds raised in Bahrain. This exhibition celebrates the 200th anniversary of the close relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Kingdom. The display illustrates the shared aviation heritage of Bahrain and the UK and centers on an iconic World War II spitfire provided by the RAF Museum.