Thurleigh’s 306th Bombardment Group museum reopens this weekend

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This weekend will see the re-opening of Thurleigh’s museum dedicated to the memory of the 306th Bombardment Group who were stationed at the airfield during WW2.

The 306th was the first US bomber group to bomb Germany after they joined the war in 1942 and the museum pays tribute to the group and the memory of the airmen who made the ultimate sacrifice.

From 1942 to 1944 the B-17s stationed there, flew 10,000 sorties, dropping 23,000 tonnes of explosives on enemy targets.

During this time they lost 177 aircraft with 483 airmen killed in action and 305 missing in action.

145 were wounded in action and 884 were captured as prisoners of war, of which 108 managed to escape and get back to Thurleigh.

While the building itself is of interest as one of the few remaining original WW2 buildings, it’s what is inside that is the real attraction.

As well as military memorabilia, there are are personal letters, photos and belongings from those who were stationed there.

The museum was set up by Ralph Franklin who was a young boy living near the airfield when it was active.

As an adult he started to collect some artefacts in memory of the bomb group. As time went on many of the airmen and their families started to donate items of interest.

There are now hundreds of artefacts that help show the story of the bomb group and the men and women connected to the 306th group.

Volunteer at the museum, Clive Carroll said: “It is an exciting time but more importantly we’re here to remember the airmen.

“This airfield was very important, it was the first to be handed over to the US Air Force and they stayed here longer than at any other airfield.

“The 306 Bomb Group and Thurleigh airfield played a pivotal role in the war effort.”

The museum re-opens on Sunday 5 May and will be open every Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 10am until 4pm.

To find out more about the museum, head to their Facebook Page.