scramble bell




May I introduce myself as a life-long aviation enthusiast and collector of Air Ministry bells. The ones that I am writing of are those very attractive ones with a heavy crown on top and a deeply etched crest……the King’s Crown, A.M. for Air Ministry and the date….. it is these bells that were a feature of Royal Air Force aerodromes in times gone by.

It was whilst hunting for vintage wooden  aeroplane  propellers that I first became aware of them, they were never common but occasionally appeared at the sort of aviation related auctions that Sotheby’s and Christies used to have in the 1980 & early 1990’s. They always seemed expensive and in those days I never bought one, but what registered was that they never went unsold……….and in any collection of aviation artefacts it was they that stood out impressively.

It was a few years back, that I actually made my first purchase, a good example of one dated 1940. This  I thought would cure my need to have ‘just one’ but, very sadly this merely led me on a  lengthy and  pecunious  quest to find others.

On the way I began to  realise that the Royal Air Force as it existed from the mid-1930’s to the mid - 1940’s must have used numerous   different types of bells. From a purely aesthetic point of view a decision was made to concentrate solely on the ones as described, the others would be left for other collectors to focus on.

My quest made me realized that they are not common, quite the opposite in fact, they are usually treasured  souvenirs and they are hard to find in fact.  Annually very few of these sorts of RAF bells come onto the open market.

Why, you might ask did I need more than one. All I can say in mitigation is that if you are a natural collector  be warned, these bells are  addictive! This website merely records and shares what little I’ve learnt along the way.

Some fellow collectors hang them from wall brackets, some from purpose made floor stands, some  have  a short row lined up and some stand them on polished round wooden bases. With the former the bell can be rung and with the latter they are static. Either way that ability to identify with an exact period of British aviation history is most  appealing, any aviation enthusiast would love to own one of these bells.