New museum to bomber crews set to open at Old Buckenham Airfield

The new 453rd Bomb Group Museum will be officially opened on Remembrance Day at Old Buckenham Airfie

The new 453rd Bomb Group Museum will be officially opened on Remembrance Day at Old Buckenham Airfield. Curator of the new museum is James Clarey. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

At first glance it looks like a normal Nissen hut nestled on a south Norfolk airfield.

Jimmy Stewart, Operations Officer with the 453rd Bombardment Group, pictured with colleagues at Old

Jimmy Stewart, Operations Officer with the 453rd Bombardment Group, pictured with colleagues at Old Buckenham Airfield, - Credit: Archant

However, housed inside is a new museum to the 453rd Bombardment Group who served at Old Buckenham Airfield from 1943 until 1945.

The museum, which will be ceremoniously opened on Remembrance Sunday, features the largest collection of 453rd memorabilia in existence.

The remarkable collection - never before seen in public - is a fitting tribute to the sacrifices and efforts of the brave US airmen who served from the base.

Project manager and airfield manager, Matt Wilkins, said: 'The one question that's always asked is why isn't there a museum on site, it's long overdue.'

Curator James Clarey inside the new 453rd Bomb Group Museum at Old Buckenham Airfield

Curator James Clarey inside the new 453rd Bomb Group Museum at Old Buckenham Airfield - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

The museum, housed in a newly built Nissen hut, features a remarkable array of objects including items that once belonged to the men who called the base home.

Highlights include a reproduction of a dispatchers hut, original flying jackets adorned by crew, a sentry box and an original airfield plaque carved from an ammo box.

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Curator James Clarey said: 'The museum tells the story of the ground crews and the air crews who worked, lived and died here.

'The further we get from original events, the more things get forgotten and memories fade. The idea of this museum is to bring them back to life again.'

At any one time the museum will house a third of the total collection which has come together from two individual collections belonging to ex-RAF serviceman Mr Clarey and Pat Ramm, who died last year.

Mr Ramm acted as liaison between the 453rd Bombardment Group Memorial Association in America and Britain.

Mr Wilkins said: 'It's an unrivalled collection and it tells its own story. The best part is there are veterans and their families who are planning to come here from America.'

On Sunday, November 8 the airfield will host a traditional Service of Remembrance at 10.55am before Mr Ramm's wife Agnes formally opens the museum.

The museum will be open to visitors to the airfield on Sunday for one day only before it permanently opens to the public in March next year.

Are you organising a memorial to bomber crews who served in your area? Email kate.royall@archant.co.uk

*See Monday's Eastern Daily Press for a special 12-page Remembrance Sunday picture special.