I have visited the museum several times this year. There is always a warm welcome from the volunteers there, along with a nice mug of tea or coffee and lovely homemade cakes and sausage rolls.
Every time I visit, I always find something new to look at – sometimes it is a completely new building full of more artefacts, vehicles, and things of the era. The website says it takes about 2-3 hours for a tour, but quite honestly, you can lose yourself in a time-warp in every room.
The museum obviously documents and presents the time that the American air force was based at Debach (and many other bases in East Anglia), but also you get a good glimpse of what life was like in the 1940s in England and specifically Suffolk. The "Home Front" building show how typical homes would look, and you can see lots of familiar objects and logos of products that have survived over the years. There are stories about the local land girls, and I believe they hold a 1940s American themed barn-dance in one of the grain-stores which stands where the original hangers were.
Sunday 28th September was the last Sunday open day of the year, and it was the "Jeep and Vehicle"day. It's the first time I have visited on this event, and there was so much to see. Along with the regular exhibits, dozens of other WWII vehicles arrived and were on display. A great collection of Willys Jeeps lovingly restored and preserved, along with a whole host of other American war vehicles. There were a few British vehicles hidden amongst them, but they all had similar colours so blended in with the crowd.
Around 11am, about 30+ of these vehicles went on convoy including a bit of off-roading and run along the local fields/tracks. It really did look like the Americans were arriving again, just as it would have looked back in the day. The tour took about an hour to complete, and thankfully every vehicle returned without mishap, break-down or getting stuck in the mud (it had rained heavily recently). On return everybody headed for a cuppa, although I’m sure those Jeep guys & gals are a hardy type.
The weather on the day was mixed, mostly bright with the occasional quick shower. There are plenty of buildings to head for if the rain starts. There is access to the top of the control tower. I went up there to take some over-view photos and realised how windy it was on the day. The sturdy railings gave peace of mind, but the videos from my camera have the background soundtrack of "wind over microphone".
Along with all the exhibits and things to see, the museum reminds us of the lives of the airmen and support staff based so far away from their families and homes. Many stories about the people based there can be found at the museum or their website. A fitting tribute to all who were based there and those who maybe didn’t make it back home. In fact, a tribute to all the forces from all nations who sacrificed everything for us.
I have added some more photos to the photo album here.