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Hethel airbase museum to hold gala day

The 389th Bomb Group memorial museum in Hethel are holding a First World War exhibition in their newly dedicated Nissen Hut. Fred Squires with some of the exhibits.

The 389th Bomb Group memorial museum in Hethel are holding a First World War exhibition in their newly dedicated Nissen Hut. Fred Squires with some of the exhibits.

A museum which marks an old US airbase’s contribution to the Second World War is to hold its annual gala day this weekend.

The event at The 389th Bomb Group Memorial Museum at Hethel, between 10am and 4pm on Sunday, will give visitors a chance to look at an ever-increasing display of new artefacts.

The original museum buildings hold a wealth of material relating to the 389th Bomb Group of the United States 8th Air Force, which served from the base during the Second World War.

However a further dimension has been added after a new Nissen hut containing displays of paintings, uniforms, decorations, combat records, photographs and other memorabilia was unveiled by General The Lord Richard Dannatt, former head of the British Army, at an official opening earlier this year.

There is also memorabilia relating to the 466th Bomb Group, which was based at Attlebridge during the Second World War.

Appropriately in this centenary year, there is a collection of objects from the First World War, many of which have been recovered from the battlefields of Northern France.

They range from German schnapps bottles and an 18-pounder brass shell, to an officer’s whistle and barbed wire cutters.

Some, like a German helmet and a semi-automatic rifle, may be handled by visitors to the exhibition.

It also tells the story of 2nd Lt Lloyd H.”Pete” Hughes, to whom the new hut is dedicated.

Memorabilia relating to this heroic flyer is on view, including his decorations of the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor - the latter was awarded in 1943 for outstanding bravery on an operation to bomb oilfields in Romania.

He lost his life on the mission at the age of 22.

Organisers of the Hethel display had to raise £10,000 for the Nissen hut to show the objects they had gathered.

However, members of the public have been so generous with donating items that they are looking to raise the funds for a second Nissen hut.

Among outside attractions will be various stalls, military vehicles and classic cars.

There will also be a barbecue and refreshments available.

For more information, Fred Squires can be contacted on 01953 798774.

Are you organising a community event? Tell the Mercury by calling 01379 651153 or email dma.news@archant.co.uk

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