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Whats Happening Now - Wattisham Station Heritage Airfield Museum

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Whats Happening Now

Whats Happening Now
Museum News and Events

This section provides you with information, News and upcoming events relating to Wattisham Station Heritage Museum

22nd October... Walking with the Wounded

Wattisham Flying Station gave a rousing welcome to Four British and two US wounded veterans who are doing a 1,000 mile ‘walk of Britain’, which is scheduled to end on November 1 at Buckingham Palace.

The team is made up of Alec Robotham, Matt Fisher, Scott Ransley, Stewart Hill and Americans Andrew Bement and Kirstie Ennis.
Click on the pictures to enlarge

23rd September... A Rare Visitor to Wattisham Flying Station
Two Antonov 124 heavy lift aircraft visited Wattisham Flying Station on the 22nd and 23rd of September. These aircraft were filmed for inclusion within the upcoming Wattisham Station Heritage documentary. "Wattisham from Both Sides of the Fence"
13th September.... Fund Raising Dog Show
Members of Wattisham Station Heritage Museum organised a Fun Dog Show in order to help raise funds for the documentary we are producing "Wattisham From Both Sides of the Fence" 

All the dogs and owners were well behaved and the rain just about held off!!   Our thanks go to all those who contributed to make the event a success.
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                                         All the Class Winners                                     Best in Show
12th Sept.... Cycle Tour of Britain at Wattisham Airfield
Wattisham Flying Station today allowed the Aviva Cycle Tour of Britain to use the runway as a sprint section, shown here passing in the front of Wattisham Station Heritage aircraft collection and the Army Apache Helicopter.
Click on the pictures to enlarge 


14th August 2015... Search and Rescue Sea Kings Stand Down
Today marked the end of an era for the RAF Search and Rescue operations at Wattisham Flying Station, the Sea King has been at Wattisham since 1994 and B Flight have flown over 3000 life saving missions. At 13:00 hours today the RAF handed over responsibility from 22 Squadron B Flight to the private company Bristow who will carry out search and rescue operations from their base at London Ashford Airport near Dungeness Airport in Kent.
12th June 2015...WSH have a new member

The Soldiers who man the Guard Room at Wattisham Station have a new recruit called Private Bailey and have signed him up as the Guard Room mascot, when Maggie Aggiss our museum Curator collected the keys from Bailey to the museum today it was suggested that we make Bailey an associated museum member and adopt him as our mascot also.
30th May 2015...Roger Topp visited Hawker Hunter XG194
Click on the pictures to enlarge
Wattisham Station Heritage museum was pleased to host a private visit on Saturday the 30th May 2015 for a special visitor and his immediate family,  Roger Topp, was the C.O. of 111 Sqn, and flew our restored Hawker Hunter XG194 as the lead aircraft in the world famous Black Arrows Display Team when they performed a 22 aircraft loop at Farnborough Air show in July 1958.
Roger has been to see his old aircraft at Wattisham before but never with his family now at the age of 92 the family decided they would like to accompany Roger to see Hawker Hunter XG194 for a very special day visit.  Roger had a distinguished RAF career retiring with the rank of Air Commodore.
             Click the picture to see what Roger had to         Click the picture to hear Roger Topp tells us 
           say about Hawker Hunter XG194 restoration           how they performed the 22 aircraft loop.

Roger is very supportive of the work carried out by Wattisham Station Heritage volunteers and is looking forward to seeing the Documentary currently being filmed. The documentary will focus on the historic heritage of Wattisham Airfield and have a large educational content so that young people can learn about the role Wattisham played during World War II, the Cold War Years and the role of the current custodians of the base, the Army and will be titled...
7th May 2015... Blenheim Bomber filmed for the Documentary
For the full story and more pictures Click HERE.....
Westland Scout AH.1 XT617
Our Westland Scout AH.1 XT617 gets its newly painted Rotor Blades fitted and now looks great standing alongside our other helicopters.
3rd May... Filming begins for the Wattisham Documentary
The 3rd of May 2015 was a very special day for Wattisham Station Heritage, for it marked the start of filming for the broadcast quality documentary being produced and filmed by Viewpoint Productions entitled "Wattisham From Both Sides Of The Fence" 

The day was taken up by filming two interviews, one was with Peter Botwright who piloted the very first jet aircraft to be stationed at Wattisham in 1952, during his time at Wattisham Peter flew mainly the Gloster Meteor and the Gloster Javelin aircraft.

Peter was met at the museum by Maggie Aggiss the museums curator who gave Peter a guided tour of the museum and listened to the fascinating stories which Peter recalled from his memories during his time stationed at Wattisham such as the Coronation Flypast.

The main interview was carried out in the Officers Mess where Maggie asked the questions.

The day concluded with the second interview with Fred Pratt of Brickhouse Farm Naughton who shared his thoughts and experiences with regards to the arrival of the Americans in 1943. He told how the family were forced to hand over land for the construction of the Air Depot for servicing aircraft and also a hospital.

Click on the pictures to enlarge
24th April... 1/6th scale model of Gloster Javelin XH983
This 1/6th scale model of Gloster Javelin XH983 which measures approximately 9 ft square, was kindly donated to Wattisham Station Heritage Museum by Mr Bryan Atkins of Rendlesham.
Bryan had spent 3 years working on this superb model, and we are all extremely grateful to him. The Javelin is now on display in the museum.

The Actual aircraft was delivered to the RAF in 1959, where it served with 41 sqn with the tail letter 'S' at RAF WAttisham.
It was put in to storage at RAF Shawbury in 1962, and in 1964 withdrawn from use.
In 1967 the airframe was burnt up in fire practice at RAF Cottesmore.

We have nicknamed the Javelin model 'Earl' in memory of Capt Earl Taylor 41 Sqn, a brave USAF exchange pilot who tragically lost his life during a flying display in July 1958 at Wattisham village.

Click on the pictures to enlarge
18th March... Valley Fork Trucks Come to our Rescue
When Mark Tilbrook the owner of Valley Fork Trucks heard of our plight for a tractor so that we can tow our aircraft out of the HAS for public diplays and to arrange them for the photoshoots we are organising he contacted us to offer on permanent loan a tractor capable of doing the job.

Today he and his collegue Phil Shepherd delivered the tractor for us to try to see if it could indeed tow our aircraft, as you can see from the video and pictures it did so with ease, we at Wattisham Station Heritage would like to express our gratitude to Mark and Valley Fork Trucks for their generosity.
1st March Museum now open for the 2015 season
Wattasham Station Heritage museum had a good turn out of visitors from the public today as well as a visit from the Woodbridge 432 SQN Air Cadats.

We are delighted to be able to display some original Second World War posters kindly donated to the museum by a local gentleman.
We have set a side a room to display the posters, many of which are local War Bond posters. Also as 2015 sees the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe and Victory in Japan, we have included a display to commemorate the celebrations.


Our members here at Wattisham Station Heritage have been working hard during the winter months to get the museum and its exhibits ready for our visitors during the 2015 season.
Final preparations are well in hand and we look forward to welcoming you all from the 1st of March when we officially open our doors.
As the poster on the left say "Lets Go Forward Together" for a great visitor season.

Click HERE to book your visit

Click on the pictures to enlarge
21/01/2015 Radio Suffolk Interview with Lesley Dolphin


Today two of our committee members Maggie Aggiss and Keith Rimmer were invited by Lesley Dolphin of Radio Suffolk to talk about the Wattisham Station Heritage museum and its plans to make an educational and historic documentary covering all aspects of life on and around Wattisham Airfield since its construction up until the present day.

Click on the pictures to enlarge

On the 4th of January 2015 Wattisham Station Heritage held a memorial service at St Catherine's Church at Ringshall for  Flying Officer Derek Law who died in such tragic circumstances, this accident came to lite while one of our committee members was doing research for the Wattisham documentary which we are making, we traced some of his fellow friends and pilots and as a result of this we held a memorial service to pay our respects to Derek.

Below is the story of this tragedy.
Early on the 5th January 1966 this young pilot climbed into the cockpit of his English Electric Lightning belonging to 56 Squadron based here at RAF Wattisham. Previous to this Flying Officer Law had served at RAF Khormaksar, with 43 Squadron in Aden, flying the Hunter.
Originally from South Africa, he had taken part in the 16 aircraft flypast in honour of Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral over London in 1965 and was proving to be a very talented and natural young pilot.

That morning Flying Officer Law had been briefed to fly a training mission out over the North Sea, but after take off and climb out of Wattisham he discovered that his radar had failed. Knowing he could no longer carry out his mission he elected to carry out some continuation training with an instrument only approach into RAF Bentwaters only 25 miles away from Wattisham.

On the approach into Bentwaters one engine failed causing him to abort and head for the safety of  home at Wattisham. On flying over the Suffolk countryside his second engine failed causing him no choice but to eject from the stricken aircraft.     He pulled the ejection handle but found that the canopy would not release trapping him inside the aircraft and he was forced to perform an emergency landing into a ploughed field, with no power and landing gear up. This he performed magnificently and brought the aircraft to an almost dead stop infront of a small cottage just yards from over head electrical cables.  At this point Flying Officer Law was still alive.

The aircrafts wing had struck an oak tree and this caused the canopy to release causing the ejection seat to fire and propelling Flying Officer Law into the outer branches of the tree and onto the tarmac road beneath. Here he died at the scene.   He had suffered only a few minor head injuries and a broken wrist on the impact to the ground while still in the aircraft but it was concluded in the inquest that if he had ejected into open land that he may of survived the crash.

The cause of the canopy and seat malfunction was due to the pins which held it in place did not fire correctly. The engines had failed due to part of the radome (on the front of the aircraft) falling into the engines air intake.
The crash site is between the villages of Helmingham and Otley in Suffolk and the oak tree is standing, still with the scar of where the aircraft’s wing hit over 45 years ago.
Flying Officer Derek Rollo Law was just 24 years old at his death and is buried in Ringshall Church, just a mile from the end of the runway at Wattisham Airfield.

As a fitting memorial to Flying Officer Law, his name now appears on the nose and cockpit section of our Lightning, thanks to the permission of Ken Hayward, as Flying Officer Law actually flew the aircraft while serving with 56 squadron at RAF Wattisham.

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