The world's largest gun to the Burma Spitfires: Top ten military history stories of 2013

By Richard Moss | 30 December 2013

One of our most popular sections, War and Conflict, produced scores of museum and heritage stories during 2013. Here are the ten most popular as chosen by Culture24 readers

1.  World's largest surviving military gun arrives at Royal Armouries Fort Nelson

a photo of a large howitzer on a rail track in a museum store house
Culture24's most popualr story in military history. The 18-inch Railway Howitzer that travelled from Holland to Hampshire© John Paul de Winter, Utrecht
It’s the biggest military gun in the world and it traveled from a transport museum in Holland for the centenary of the First World War.

2.    Richard III: The Royal Armouries' Bob Woosnam-Savage on the violent death of the King in battle 

A photo of a team of four scientists standing in front of a table within a laboratory
Bob Woosnam-Savage (third from left) with (left to right) Philippa Langley (Richard III Society), Dr Stuart J Hamilton (Deputy Chief Forensic Pathologist, East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, University of Leicester)  and Dr Jo Appleby (Lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology, University of Leicester)© Royal Armouries
Hacked to death at the Battle of Bosworth. The Royal Armouries had all the gory details on the death of Richard III.

3.    RAF Museum celebrates the golden age of Airfix kits 

a photo of a display of Airfix model kit boxes
© Courtesy RAF Museum
Ah the whiff of the epoxy resin and enamel paint... It was enough to get the Culture24 editor waxing lyrical about the joys of the Airfix kit.

4.    Dutch female jouster to defy Henry VIII by battling at Royal Armouries finale 

A photo of a woman in a medieval jousting suit sitting on top of a horse
A Dutch destroyer made her British debut in a spectacular joust at the Royal Armouries in August 2013.© Royal Armouries
We caught up with Alix van Zijl, the veterinary surgeon who made her British debut at the Royal Armouries’ famous Bank Holiday face-off amidst the testosterone fueled arena of the jousting tournament.

5.    David Cundall leads Burma archaeology team in search for buried World War II spitfires

A photo of a man pointing at a miniature model of a World War II plane inside a field
© Wargaming

Say what you like about Mr Cundall and his quest for the Burma Spitfires, but this is a story that just won’t go away.  Here was the opening salvo of a long running saga.

6.    RAF Museum begins task of rescuing the last German Dornier bomber from the seabed 

a photograph of a plane flying low over the countryside with a tree lined road, fields and a farm below
A Dornier 17Z of the Luftwaffe flying low over the English countryside© RAF Museum
It crashed off Goodwin Sands during the Battle of Britain in 1940 and here’s how the RAF Museum began the delicate task of recovering it intact.

7.    Imperial War Museum to reopen to public with Spies, drones and photography displays 

A computer-generated image of a military museum
© Foster + Partners
Such is the popularity of the IWM there was massive interest in its partial re-opening – even amid the din of ongoing building works.

8.    Unique First World War aerodrome Stow Maries saved from dereliction 

Officers Mess stores at Stow Maries First World War Aerodrome
The Officer's Mess at Stowe Maries© Courtesy of Heritage Lottery Fund
A heart-warming story about a remarkable survivor, the pictures alone reveal why this is a gem worth saving.

9.    Royal Engineers Museum reveals ambitious plans for First World War centenary

a photo of a First World War propaganda poster showing a soldier standing on a map of France reaching out to a man standing on a map of England.
© Courtesy Royal Engineers Museum, Library & Archive
Hundreds of Museums are making plans for the First World War centenary, but the Royal Engineers - who designed and built many of the trenches - generated most interest.

10.    The last RAF VC10 touches down at Dunsfold Park 

a photo of a jet plane landing on an arifield
VC10 Queen of the Skies lands at Dunsfold Park.© Courtesy Brooklands Museum
An iconic workhorse of the Cold War retires, triggering happy memories for many readers.

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