The RAF Museum in Hendon is offering the public an extremely rare opportunity to view original World War One documents from 1914.

Each special archive showing will be restricted to just 12 people, and the museum’s expert archive team will be on-hand to answer any questions you might have about World War One or any of the letters, photographs, memoirs, log book and manuals that will be on display.

These viewings are a special part of the museum’s rolling calendar of events to commemorate the outbreak of the Great War. They are complemented by a lecture by the museum’s resident aviation historian, Ross Mahoney, in which he explores the evolution of military aviation in the decade prior to the outbreak of the war, the debates around its use, and the scope and effect that air power playing during the opening months of the war.

By the end of 1914, military aviators were conducting operations that encompassed the three elements that modern air forces would recognise in the 21st Century.

Indeed, in 1914, the Royal Flying Corps – as today’s Royal Air Force was then known – was in effect the world’s first expeditionary air force as it deployed from its home bases in Great Britain to the continent with few major problems.

For younger visitors to the museum, there is First World War: Once Upon a Time, special storytelling sessions that the whole family can take part in, with resident storyteller Sonia Caller. Each session has a World War One theme and will include activities as well as the engaging stories.

  • Royal Airforce Museum, Grahame Park Way, Hendon. First World War Archive Material Viewings take place on August 2 and 3 at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm. Ross Mahoney’s lecture is on August 2 and 3 at 1pm. First World War: Once Upon a Time is from August 2 to 5 at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm. Details: 020 8205 2266,