Spitfire helps to launch opening of Sywell Aviation museum

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A FLYPAST by a Spitfire was the highlight of the official opening of a new museum display atSywell which was attended by hundreds of people.

Following two years of building work, the Sywell Aviation Museum at Sywell Aerodrome has now been completely redeveloped.

The official opening of the new wing at Sywell Aviation Museum, Sywell Aerodrome.

The official opening of the new wing at Sywell Aviation Museum, Sywell Aerodrome.

The museum, which is housed in a former wartime Nissen hut, contains displays which show the history of the RAF and American Army Air Force in the county during World War Two and the impact the German Luftwaffe had on Northamptonshire.

Andy Shemans, chairman of trustees, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by how many people have turned up.

“The museum committee originally got together in 2001 and the first extension was two years ago.

“All the equipment in the museum has been donated or loaned by members of the public and we’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of people.”

Haydn Salter, a museum trustee who helped build the museum, said: “It is important people should remember what happened in World War Two.

“It is probably the best the museum has ever looked.”

The new building was officially opened on Saturday morning by the Mayor of Wellingborough and two representatives of the American Air Force from RAF Croughton, near Brackley.

Other attractions during the day-long event, included a display of military vehicles, performances of 1940s music by The Blitz Sisters, and an appearance by the Pitsford Home Guard.

As well as the displays about the roles of the RAF, American and German air forces, the museum also displays artefacts from a crashed B-17 Flying Fortress, which was found in a field near Blakesley in 2010 by a team of aviation archaeologists.

Among the finds the group discovered were numerous bullets, pieces of the American plane’s windscreen, one of its wheels and a pedal from the cockpit. But the most remarkable discoveries included two boots worn by members of the crew, remnants of a parachute and a small silver bracelet worn by the plane’s pilot, Nicholas Jorgensen.

The museum also includes a 500kg German deactivated, bomb which is the centrepiece of a Luftwaffe section. The bomb was the same type as those dropped on Wellingborough on August 4, 1942, killing six people and injuring several more.

Also on display in the museum, courtesy of Paul Spendlove, was the original 1938 Fordson Tractor used by Brooklands Aviation during the war.

The museum is open every weekend and bank holiday from 10.30am until 4.30pm until the end of September.