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The Museum - Wattisham Station Heritage Airfield Museum

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The Museum

Museum Layout showing exhibits, shop and NAAFI
Museum Layout showing exhibits, shop and NAAFI
click on the the pictures below to enlarge

When you enter the museum and take a tour in a clockwise direction you are effectivly walking a time line from 1939 up until the present time.  The first room you come to is the office which is a replica of a wartime office laid out as it would have been when in use.

Next door to the office is the former Vestry Room of Remembrance a place now where you can read the role of honour, say a prayer or just sit and reflect on the years of the past.

Next you come to our display about the early RAF years since the base opened in 1939.
On the 6th April 1939 Wing Commander O R Gayford DFC AFC took command of the station and on the 11th May 1939 Bristol Blenheim Mk 1 bombers of 107 and 110 squadrons arrived under No. 2 Group Bomber Command.

Wattisham was formally handed over to the USAAF on 8th May, 1943, and the stars and stripes were raised outside HQ. Between 1942-1945 the base was a USAAF air depot, re-designated the 4th Strategic Air Depot.

Next you come to the early Jet Years started when the Americans formally hand the station back to the RAF in January 1946 and in October the same year sees the arrival of 245 Squadron equipped with Meteor F3’s.

Then on 29th September 1954, 257 Squadron replaced its Meteor 8’s with the new Hunter MK2 and by February 1955, 263 Squadron had done the same.


During the 1950’s the standard format of a Fighter Station like Wattisham was two day and one night fighter Squadrons.
The night fighter position was filled by 41 Squadron flying Javelin MK4’s.

In 1960 Wattisham became home to both 56 and 111 Sqn’s  flying the supersonic cold war interceptar English Electric Lightning F1A.


In 1976 both 56 and 23 Sqn’s replaced it’s Lightning’s with the Phantom FGR2. The colour scheme at that time for the Phantom was the standard camouflage grey-green, but in late 1978, 56 Squadron Phantoms started to appear with the light grey scheme only, which became known as the “Air Superiority Scheme”.

In March 1993, The British Army officially took over Wattisham Airfield flying the Westland Lynx AH7, AH9 and the Gazelle AH1’s helicopters.

In January 2005 two Apache AH1 Attack Helicopters were delivered to Wattisham and today Wattisham is now home to all Apache AH1 helicopters in the British Army.

And finally you pass by our small shop leading into the last room before you exit the museum, in this room you can read all about the airfields local area history.

 
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