Bentwaters Cold War Museum : Sunday 4th June 2023
On the 4th June 2023 a few members of The Suffolk Miliitary Aviation Society visited Bentwaters Cold War Museum (BCWM) This museum is a fantastic place within the old USAFE base. Using part of the old infrastructure.
Driving thought the old main gate you straight away see the history of this mighty cold war base. Arriving at the museum we were met by a couple of friendly staff members. Signed in and boarded their minibus for a trip over to their Restoration HAS while going over we crossed runway threshold and continued though the old HAS site.
Once in the HAS we were told about the airframes etc within the HAS and their plans ahead for them and all questions were answered by the teams working on the different frames. Given time to walk around and take photos etc.
Within the HAS was
T33A (CT133) 19252 in USAF markings not far off being painted and moved to the museum. Tail has already been painted and marked but covered up ready for unveiling when finished.
Meteor F8 WH453 under restoration had been converted to a drone but is being converted back to original
Lightning F53 (ZF581) 53-675 again nearly ready for paint and is going in to 74sqn markings
Jaguar GR1 EJ XX741 taxi able 6sqn markings
F16 model that used to be gate guard at the base.
After that we were taken back out to the bus given a bit of time to take a few photos of the HAS site from the front of there HAS. Also seen from there was Everett Aero’s HAS outside was:
F4M FGR2 XV460 forward section 74sqn markings
Hunter F6A XG196 31/234sqn markings
Jaguar T4 XX838
Also seen on the way back to the museum was a F4 wing section from I think XT907 that was stored there and has recently had its Tail and Cockpit section up for sale.
After returning to the museum site, we entered though a small shop area and a lovely diner. Then going into a large open area with a mix of Aircraft. Vehicles and Ground Equipment. Again, there were staff members to help with any info needed or requests to get extra photo opportunity’s (If you want something ask, they will try, and help don’t just do it)
Towards the back there are buildings that are still as they were when it was active “war operations room” and “battle cabin” and other rooms full of info, Models and memorabilia far to mush to list….
Within the Museum compound is of course the highlight and star of the BCWM
A10A WR 80-0219 81st TFW markings
F84F FU-6 (6771) Thunderbird markings ex Belgian Air Force but is to be assembled and painted into 81st TFW markings
Hunter GA11 VL/865 XE707 Royal Navy Markings
F4M FGR2 I XV401 74sqn markings
Harrier GR3 ZD667 4sqn markings special tail
International Harvester Bus
Coleman MB-4 Tractor
BAC Rapier FSB2
NF-2 Flood Light Units
USAF LOX Cart and tool Trolly and much more ex USAF and 81st FW memorabilia.
A very relaxed museum, Great staff and 100% will be visiting again….
After leaving the museum we had a look around again at the old infrastructure from the roadways leaving again vis the old main gate and security hut.
Building 134, Bentwaters Parks, Rendlesham, Woodbridge, IP12 2TW
Email : bcwm.org.uk
My greatful thanks to Benn George for putting the report together and submitting photos from the visit. Also to BCWM for accomodating the members of the group on the day.