Classic Team Lotus boss Clive Chapman to unveil new 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition at Hethel

The second Nissen hut at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition while it was being constructed. Pi

The second Nissen hut at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition while it was being constructed. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

A new exhibition hut to commemorate the contribution made by a former American airbase to the Second World War will be unveiled by a motorsport legend this weekend.

The second Nissen hut at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition while it was being constructed. Pi

The second Nissen hut at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition while it was being constructed. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

Clive Chapman - son Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman and current boss of Classic Team Lotus - will officially open the new Nissen display hut at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition on Sunday, May 14.

Mr Chapman has long been a supporter of the museum, where the 389th Heavy Bombardment Group 2nd Air Division of the United States Airforce was based when the country entered the Second World War in 1941.

Only the original chapel and gymnasium remain from the Hethel Airfield site, in Potash Lane, which has led volunteers to fundraising £20,000 for two Nissen huts to expand their displays of historical collections relating to the airbase and those who served there.

The first hut was opened by former British Army head General The Lord Richard Dannatt in April 2014, with the opening of the second hut this weekend coinciding with the museum's open day.

The second Nissen hut at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition while it was being constructed. Pi

The second Nissen hut at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition while it was being constructed. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant


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This Nissen hut has a new tea room - designed to resemble the base's former cafe - and is named in memory of leading 389th Bomb Group veteran Earl Zimmerman, who played a key role in missions at the base.

Anne Howlett, trustee at the museum, said: 'It's a little bit of Hethel's history which has been saved from dereliction for everyone to see.

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'It stands as a memory of what the 389th Bomb Group did during the war. We wanted to display things better, so that's why we've got extra space.'

Much of the fundraising and work assembling the exhibition over the years has been done by the museum's chairman, Fred Squires, who has helped to gather a series of artefacts and memorabilia.

Lord Dannatt unveils a plaque in memory of 2nd Lt. L "Pete" Hughes at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial

Lord Dannatt unveils a plaque in memory of 2nd Lt. L "Pete" Hughes at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, Hethel, in 2014. Picture: SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Mr Squires grew up nearby and as a child watched the activity on the airbase from its boundaries, developing a fascination for its work.

Displays include striking original wall paintings, uniforms, decorations, combat records, photographs and other memorabilia.

The museum is always looking for volunteers to help run the exhibitions. Anyone interested should email hethel389@hotmail.co.uk

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