New film tells unique history of Wattisham air base through the years

The film included interviews with veterans and residents who live nearby the base. Picture: KEITH RI

The film included interviews with veterans and residents who live nearby the base. Picture: KEITH RIMMER - Credit: Archant

The unique story of Wattisham Air Station has been told in a new film, which was screened for the first time yesterday.

A reconstruction scene being filmed. Picture: KEITH RIMMER

A reconstruction scene being filmed. Picture: KEITH RIMMER - Credit: Archant

Wattisham: Both Sides of the Fence details the history of the air base, near Stowmarket, from its 1938 origins as an RAF bomber station to its current role as the home of the British Army’s Apache attack helicopters.

The film, which was screened in the Wattisham Flying Station officers’ mess yesterday in front of an invited audience, gives starring roles to the RAF, USAAF and Army Air Corps aircraft which have flown from the airfield.

The 99-minute production also features stories from military personnel, who have served at the base, as well as interviews with local people who have lived alongside it.

The Wattisham Station Heritage Group, which runs the station’s museum, linked up with Southampton-based Viewpoint Productions to make the film, with David Ellery as director and Maggie Aggiss and Keith Rimmer as producers.

The film tells the unique history of the Suffolk air base. Picture: KEITH RIMMER

The film tells the unique history of the Suffolk air base. Picture: KEITH RIMMER - Credit: Archant


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Mrs Aggiss, 59, museum curator, who has written a book on the airfield entitled Wattisham Aerodrome at War: From Both Sides of the Fence, said the weekend’s screening was the culmination of three years’ hard work.

Mrs Aggiss said: “I have been involved with the heritage group for 24 years, and 10 years ago I wrote a book about the history of Wattisham.

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“Another member of the group Keith Rimmer, who had some film experience, came to me in 2014 and said, ‘we really should tell the history of Wattisham in a film’.

“Keith knew someone at Viewpoint Productions and so for the past three years we have been interviewing veterans, making reconstruction scenes and speaking to people who have lived near the airfield.

The new film detailing the history of Wattisham was screened on Saturday. Picture: KEITH RIMMER

The new film detailing the history of Wattisham was screened on Saturday. Picture: KEITH RIMMER - Credit: Archant

“The film covers every part of the station’s 80-year history, including things like the US Army Air Force’s involvement at the base and its role during the cold war.”

Mrs Aggiss said the reaction to the film on Saturday was very positive.

She said: “A lot people said to me that they enjoyed it and had learnt a lot about the base. I had people, who have lived nearby all their life, saying, ‘we didn’t know this happened’.

“It was quite emotional to see people’s reactions after all the hard work.”

For more information on how to buy the film, click here to visit the Wattisham Station Heritage Group’s website.

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