The Parham Airfield Museum comprises the 390th Bombardment Group Memorial Air Museum & the Museum of the British Resistance Organisation, operating under one Management Committee. Its continued existance relies on volunteer support & donations to help with the necessary maintenance to ensure continued preservation of the buildings and its contents.
After the war in Europe, runways were broken up & buildings were allowed to become dilapidated and when not pulled apart, were used for farm storage. Among them was the Control Tower, shot up & abandoned after the Americans held a riotous farewell party there in August 1945. Framlingham Station 153, as the 390th Bomb Group knew the airfield, now stood neglected, windowless & derelict.
In 1976 a small band of determined enthusiasts decided to restore the decaying building as a museum in tribute to the endeavours of the 390th Bomb Group, 8th US Army Air Force & other Allied airmen operating from bases throughout East Anglia, during the Second World War.
A five year restoration programme began, using volunteer labour & funded from their own resources. The Control Tower was finally dedicated as the 390th Bombardment Group Memorial Air Museum of the USAAF on 13 May 1981 & since then has remained in active contact with, and received steadfast support from US veterans & their relatives, supporters & friends.
the museum exhibits include a unique and rare collection of recovered
Second World War aircraft engines, parts of Allied and German aircraft,
uniforms, numerous photographs, documents, combat records, paintings and
memorabilia relevant to the U.S 8th Air Force, the Royal Air Force and
the German Luftwaffe of the Second World War. Many exhibits have been
kindly donated to the museum.
to the museum are always ready to listen to the information about the
museum collection from the "On Duty" staff and likewise the
staff are interested in the wartime experiences of visitors. However, sometimes
younger visitors have a view that is not apparent to the older generation.
One example that amused the staff was when a young boy hearing the music
being played in the museum, usually a Glen Miller recording, said to his
father, "Listen Dad old music".
staff are often asked of crashes that took place. A major incident occurred
when a pathfinder aircraft that was to lead the groups flying the day's
mission was attacked as it was about to land. It was attacked by a JU-88
that had sneaked up on it's tail. With it's controls shot away it made
a right turn past great Glemham church and crashed into a brick wall surrounding
Glemham House and immediately burst into flames. British
soldiers billeted in Glemham House got to the wreck as fast as they could
and without regard to the fact that the aircraft had a full bomb load
aboard began to carry out the wounded and roll the bombs away. After the
survivors were pulled to safety the situation became very dangerous and
the rescuers were warned to draw back just as the remaining bombs started
to explode. Out of the
thirteen crew men aboard sadly three were killed, but the ten crew men
that escaped were saved by the quick actions of the British soldiers who
risked their lives to save them.
Some photographs taken inside the museum
The Museum of the British Resistance Organisation was created in 1997, with the opening ceremony being carried out by Lieutenant Colonel JW Stuart Edmundson TD RE, one of the founders of the nondescript 'Most Secret' GHQ.
Auxiliary Units, as they were officially known. The 'Auxunits' were one of Britain's nine secret services of WWII, alongside better known clandestine organisations such as the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) & the Special Operations Executive.
Parham Airfield Museum Committee Members & Officers
President - Peter Kindred
Honorary President - Colonel Derek Salmi USAF
(in alphabetical order)
Don Brooks (USA)
Major Dick Drain (USA)
Frank Drain (USA)
Marcus & Dr William Edmundson
Lord & Lady Ironside
Allan Moller (USA)
Sir Clive Rose GCMG
Thomas & Marie Spence (USA)
Chairman - Tim Brett
Secretary - Lena Walton
Parham Airfield Museum - Registered Charity No 284146
Member of MLA & BAPC