Airbase museum plans taking shape

A NEW museum dedicated to the history and personnel of former twin American air bases in Suffolk is taking shape in a control bunker.The newly-formed Bentwaters Aviation Society is developing the Bentwaters Cold War Museum in the former control bunker where the 1980s raids over Libya were masterminded.

A NEW museum dedicated to the history and personnel of former twin American air bases in Suffolk is taking shape in a control bunker.

The newly-formed Bentwaters Aviation Society is developing the Bentwaters Cold War Museum in the former control bunker where the 1980s raids over Libya were masterminded.

The above ground command post at the former RAF Bentwaters, near Woodbridge, will be a museum documenting Cold War activities at both Bentwaters and Woodbridge air bases.

The Society hopes the museum will open next year and that the public will be surprised when they discover what has been uncovered about life at the two bases.


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The contents will include uniformed models in the war operations room, scale models of every plane to have been stationed at the air bases and a history linking activities at the air bases with worldwide events. The society says it only wants to open the museum when it is finally ready.

Bentwaters Parks Ltd, a company set up by the Kemball farming family who own much of the air base, will fund some of the costs and the Society will seek sponsorship from businesses.

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Sarah Kemball, project leader, said: ''We have had a generous response from people bringing in mementoes when the EADT ran an article.''

She said volunteers are doing much of the preparation and they are greatly helped by the knowledge of Graham Haynes, of Sudbourne, who is the technical advisor.

Ms Kemball said the museum's aim was to salute the dedication of the men and women who served at the air bases between 1944 and 1993 with both the RAF and USAF.

She said their efforts had left behind a ''proud history of courage, honour and achievement' and this would be recognised through a display of memorabilia, models and historical photographs.

n A Hangar Dance featuring the Memphis Belle Swing Orchestra will raise money for the museum. It is on August 30 from 7pm until midnight at Bentwaters and there will be an air display, a collection of military vehicles, and guests are encouraged to wear clothes from the 40's and 50's.

A similar event last year attracted nearly 1,000 people but this year's dance could be the last if the hangar is let commercially at a later date. Ticket details are available on 01394 460655.

(NB Subs, if you have to cut this article please include the hangar dance information.)

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