In September 2014 the National Aerospace Library (NAL) was given nearly 300 books that were once owned by the Royal Aircraft Establishment's Heritage Library. As the NAL is housed on part of the site formerly housing the Government's former aeronautical research organisation, it felt like the books were coming home.

The RAE/QinetiQ Collection includes a great selection of books, pamphlets and documents that were judged to be historically important by the RAE. They include items on balloons and ballooning, some of which date back to the time the RAE was a balloon factory, works on aerodynamics, engines, space exploration and foreign air forces, as well as material about the RAE itself. Some of the material was given to the RAE by the Air Ministry and one gem is a pre-World War II book on the German aero industry written by a Nazi supporter and contains a digest written by the Air Ministry’s Intelligence Branch. There are also works on continental air forces which were used by the German government before World War II.

Sadly, a number of these items need professional conservation work so the NAL have launched an “Adopt an RAE Book” appeal to help ensure these books are available to the next generations of aeronautical engineers, historians and enthusiasts. It costs around £35 for each item to be conserved and more information about how you can help the appeal can be found on the NAL webpages.

Our appeal has been given a boost by our local branch of Waitrose when it chose the “Adopt an RAE book” appeal as one of their July Community Matters charities. When a Frimley Waitrose customer pays for their shopping they get a token to put into their favoured charity box. At the end of the month Waitrose give £1000 in portion to the number of tokens they receive.

Full details of all the item within the RAE/QinetiQ Collection can be found on the NAL catalogue, together with over 100,000 other housed in the library. All of the NAL's items can we viewed at their Farnborough reading room Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am-4pm.

Tony Pilmer
22 June 2015