Recommended Links and Places
Users of Google Earth can download this file,
which contains a large number of placeholders for locations associated with Wallis, his work, his weapons and the people who used them.
Main Wallis collections
- The Barnes Wallis Foundation (BWF) (formerly the Barnes Wallis Memorial Trust (BWMT)) has an excellent collection of
Wallis-related artefacts and memorabilia. Artefacts include Upkeep, Tallboy and Grand Slam bombs, part of a Highball
and part of the Highball carrier from a Mosquito. Formerly at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Evington, the collection is currently in
storage pending transfer to a new location - the Trust's Upkeep is now on display at the
Newark Air Museum. The Trust holds an annual meeting in
Howden, Yorkshire, with a presentation on a Wallis-related topic.
- The Brooklands
Museum, Weybridge, Surrey (which was near the Vickers factory) has
Wellington bomber N2980 "R for Robert" recovered from Loch Ness in 1985 and now
Some of Wallis' bombs are on display including an Upkeep, Grand Slam, Tallboy and (uniquely)
a Tallboy Small (the 4,000lb version used for trials); one of the Highballs recovered from Loch Striven in July 2017 will be on display soon -
this means that the museum has an example of every type of Wallis-designed bomb. The museum also has a (mostly)
Weybridge-built Concorde G-BBDG.
- The RAF Museum at Hendon
had on display the only other complete Wellington remaining (MF628), the one seen taking
off in The Dam Busters film (the aircraft is currently at Cosford undergoing extensive refurbishment).
Hendon has a reconstruction of Wallis's
office with original artefacts, a box of model bouncing bomb prototypes of various forms,
and an Upkeep. They also have a Grand Slam bomb on display, and
their Cosford site has another Grand Slam. The museum also has a link of anchor
chain from Tirpitz, which was
sunk by Tallboys in November 1944, and a painted bulkhead from the ship (which
was repeatedly taken as a trophy by 9 Squadron and 617 Squadron from each other). Other Wallis artefacts and papers are
held in storage.
- The Science Museum Library
at Wroughton, near Swindon, holds the Barnes Wallis papers, a large collection of Wallis's scientific papers, which he donated to the
museum shortly before his death. Note that this site is very difficult to get to by public transport, and although there is a lovely
reading room on the site, you will need to pre-book your visit, including which files you wish to see.
Bouncing Bombs - Upkeep/Highball
Unless otherwise stated, all of the following were recovered from Reculver, Kent, where test drops were conducted in 1943.
Earthquake Bombs - Tallboy / Grand Slam
Explosion! The Museum of
Naval Firepower, Gosport, Hampshire, has one of Wallis's Heyday experimental
torpedoes on display.
The Wellington Aviation Museum
at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, has a pair of Wellington (or Warwick)
wheels and a propeller
the tail of a Wellington (said to be L7775)
the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group also have
parts from the same aircraft, including the wings.
The Aviation Artefact
Museum, part of the
Armstrong Museum within Bamburgh
Castle, Northumberland, covers many aspects of military shipbuilding and
aviation. The collection includes geodetic structure from Vickers-Armstrongs
Warwick HG136 which crashed on a nearby hill in 1946, and many other aircraft parts (mostly from local
crashes), as well as a T-1 bombsight and computer (though it is incorrectly
labelled as a Mark XIV bombsight and computer).
The Flambards Experience in Helston, Cornwall, has a number of
aviation-related displays, including a small display of items related to Wallis and his time at Predannack
(which is 5 miles from Helston).
Formerly the site of a substantial Barnes Wallis collection, the
Yorkshire Air Museum
at Elvington includes Wallis in their
Pioneers of Aviation
display, with a few Wallis-related artefacts.
Other locations of interest
Wallis was born at Cromer House, Butterley Hill, in Ripley, Derbyshire
[image] and is commemorated in the Sir Barnes
Wallis Recreational Area within the town
[image]. On Maple Avenue in the town is the
Sir Barnes Wallis pub [image].
On a building in Barrow-in-Furness, where Wallis worked on airships, there is a
plaque to commemorate his work.
The building is within the site of BAE SYSTEMS though the plaque can be read from the public highway
Wallis lived for most of his life at White Hill House, Beech Avenue, Effingham, Surrey
[map]. This house is still there (now called Little Court), though it is no longer in the hands of the Wallis family. His grave is in the grounds of St. Lawrence Church in Church Street, Effingham [map].
During his formative years, Wallis lived at 241 New Cross Road
[image] in London - the house has a
plaque on it commemorating its most famous resident.
Later, he lived at 23 Pepys Road
[image] just round the corner.
A little further west off New Cross Road are Wild Goose Drive
[map] and Swallow Close
named in honour of Wallis's post-war designs. On Wild Goose Drive, there is the
Barnes Wallis Community Centre.
Wallis got married at St. Luke's
[map] [image] on St. George's Day, 1925.
Wallis went on holiday regularly to the Lake District, preferring to stay in the Scafell Hotel, Borrowdale
[map] which now has the Barnes Wallis Suite as a featured room.
Eder Dam Museum is housed in one of the former power stations at the base of
the dam. The museum has a full-size
as well as a model of the dam after the raid, and other wartime memorabilia (my
thanks to Tony Knight for this link).
The Thameside Aviation Museum in
East Tilbury have a 1/2 scale
R.100 was built at Howden
features Wallis' connection with the town. There is now no trace of the airship
sheds or the cottage where Wallis lived, and much of the site is now
Boothferry Golf Club. Just
north of Howden is the
Barnes Wallis Inn
which has some Wallis memorabilia on the walls inside.
617 Squadron were originally based at RAF Scampton where there is a
with some Wallis-related items - this includes a Highball, which was recovered
at Reculver in 1977 and, after 30 years in Amsterdam, found a new home at
Scampton in 2007.
In Scampton itself is the
[image] (opened in 1999) which has related memorabilia (including a model of a
Lancaster and prints on the wall).
The model of the Möhne Dam seen in The
Dam Busters film is one of the originals used for the wartime tests, and it still exists at the
Building Research Establishment in Hertfordshire; the model is now a listed
building and can be visited by prior arrangement with the BRE.
Derwent Dam in Derbyshire
was used by 617 Squadron for training for the dams raid, and there is a
small memorial at the dam. No actual "bouncing bombs" or other practice bombs were ever dropped here (or at any other British reservoirs).
Wallis conducted some static explosives trials on a disused dam at Nant-y-Gro in the Elan valley [map]; these
showed that the small model test results would scale up as predicted. The remains of the dam (which was
breached in the trials) can be visited, and it is included in the
Elan Valley walk
promoted by the Royal Geographical Society as part of its “Discovering Britain” series (click on the "Downloads" tab
for written and audio guides to the walk).
Several Tallboys and a Grand Slam were dropped on the bombing range at Ashley
Walk in the
New Forest, and the sharp-eyed can still spot these craters, as well as part
of the submarine pen target which was buried after the war but is starting to
Atlantikwall has some good photos of what's left of the various targets.
After the war, Wallis conducted model flying experiments with his Wild Goose and
Swallow designs at
RAF Predannack in Cornwall. The models were launched from a rocket-powered
rail sled and remotely-controlled by radio. The rails ran parallel to the main
runway, crossing the other runway, although the latter was later returned to
Atlantikwall has some good photos of what's left of the
rail track and the rest of the airfield; access to the site is possible when no
flying is taking place.
On 15th November 2008, a statue of Wallis was unveiled in Herne Bay, looking across towards Reculver where the "bouncing bombs" were tested.
"Wallis's house" in The Dam Busters film is actually near Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire.
The University of Manchester has its
Students' Union in the
Barnes Wallis Building in Sackville Street
[map] [image]; Wallis was awarded
an Honorary Fellowship of UMIST and lifetime membership of the Manchester Students' Union in 1967.
- Nottingham Trent University has its
IT and Reprographics departments in the Barnes Wallis Building in Shakespeare Street.
- Britannia Airways operated a
Boeing 737 G-BGYJ named Sir Barnes Wallis; it first flew in 1979.
There is a Barnes Wallis Close in Effingham [map], Boscombe Down
Weymouth [map] and
a Barnes Wallis Drive in both Telford
Barnes Wallis Court just round the corner from there in Oyster Lane, Byfleet
and another in Welton near Lincoln
Barnes Wallis Avenue in Horsham (overlooking Christ's Hospital, where Wallis went to school)
Barnes Wallis Road in Fareham
(near Brunel Way!) and a Barnes Wallis Way in both Gloucester
Do you know of any others?
...and locations which don't have Wallis artefacts
Despite statements in books that The de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre in
a Highball, it doesn't ...
... and Scotland's National Museum of
Flight at East Fortune (near Edinburgh) doesn't have an Upkeep.
Eden Camp in North Yorkshire doesn't have an Upkeep either.
Although it has been stated in print and online that the "Flight Shed" at Longbridge in Birmingham had a roof designed by Barnes Wallis, this appears to be an "urban myth" and there is no evidence to support this (please e-mail us if you know otherwise). The building (on the corner of Lowhill Lane and Groveley Lane) was demolished in 2011.
Although it has been stated in print and online that the former large hangar at Eastleigh Airport in Southampton (now part of the Ford factory) had a roof designed by Barnes Wallis, this also appears to be an "urban myth" as there is no evidence to support this either (please e-mail us if you know otherwise).
If you know of sites of interest to Wallis enthusiasts which are not listed here, please e-mail us and we will add it here.
Recommended Further Reading on Barnes Wallis
- Brickhill, Paul, The Dam Busters (Evans Brothers, 1951) - the classic story of both the Dams Raid and 617's other wartime missions, although some of the detail is incorrect
- Cooper, Alan, The Men Who Breached the Dams (William Kimber, 1982) - a more detailed story of the men of 617 involved in the Dams Raid
- Cooper, Alan, Beyond the Dams to the Tirpitz (William Kimber, 1983) - about 617's later raids, including the Tirpitz attack
- Curtis, Des, Most Secret Squadron: the Story of 618 Squadron (Skitten Books, 1995) - the story of 618 Squadron and Highball, by a wartime member of the squadron
- Euler, Helmuth, The Dams Raid: Through the Lens (After the Battle, 2001) - a detailed look at many aspects of the Dams Raid, with many excellent photos; focusses more on the German side than other books
- Falconer, Jonathan, The Dam Busters (Sutton, 2003) - a good general book on the Dams Raid
- Flower, Stephen, A Hell of a Bomb (Tempus, 2001) - a detailed story of all of Wallis's bombs, and the missions when they were used
- Gibson, Guy P., Enemy Coast Ahead (Michael Joseph, 1946) - the classic story of the Dams Raid and Gibson's earlier exploits, by the man himself
- Holmes, Robin, One of Our Aircraft: the story of ‘R for Robert’ the Loch Ness Wellington (Quiller Press, 1991) - the story of how Brooklands' Wellington was recovered from Loch Ness and restored
- Lumsden, Alec, Wellington Special (Ian Allen, 1974) - a good history of the Wellington and its variants, with many unusual photos
- Morpurgo, Jack E., Barnes Wallis (St Martin’s, 1972) - the classic Wallis biography, focussing more on the man than his work; also available in paperback (Penguin, 1973) and in a revised edition following Wallis’s death, which has an extra two pages (Ian Allan, 1981)
- Murray, Iain R., Bouncing-Bomb Man: The Science of Sir Barnes Wallis (Haynes, 2009) - a review of the scientific and engineering aspects of Wallis's whole career from airships right through to hypersonic aircraft.
- Murray, Iain R., Dam Busters Manual (Haynes, 2011) - technical manual covering the technology of the Dams
Raid and the "earthquake bombs", including details of the weapons, aircraft modifications and targets.
- Murray, Iain R., Vickers Wellington Manual (Haynes, 2012) - technical manual covering the technology of the Vickers Wellington bomber, including its Wallis-designed geodetic framework.
- Pugh, Peter, Barnes Wallis: Dambuster (Icon, 2005) - more readily available than the Morpurgo biography, this adds very little to the older work and has pages devoted to the Avro Manchester and TSR.2 which are largely irrelevant
- Shute, Nevile, Slide Rule (William Heinemann, 1954) - a good read about Shute's time with Airspeed, it also has a large section on his time building R.100
- Stopes-Roe, Mary, Mathematics with Love (Macmillan, 2005) - the story of Wallis's courtship, conducted by way of a correspondence course in maths, as revealed by letters between Barnes and Molly
- Sweetman, John, The Dambusters Raid (Cassell Military Classics, 1999) - the definitive story of the Dams Raid; also available in several other editions
- Sweetman, John, Tirpitz: Hunting the Beast (Sutton, 2000) - the definitive story of the air attacks on the Tirpitz, including the three Tallboy raids
- Ward, Chris, Lee, Andy and Wachtel, Andreas, The Dambusters: the Definitive Story of 617 Squadron at War 1939-1945 (Red Kite, 2003) - another excellent history of all of 617's wartime missions