Bentwaters Cold War Museum, Rendlesham, on the site of RAF Bentwaters
The Bentwaters Cold War Museum (BCWM) is housed in a command post or bunker on what was the USAF air base at RAF Bentwaters, and is believed to be the only museum of its kind, open to the public.
BCWM is within the Bentwaters Parks business park, just off the A1152 at Rendlesham.This interactive map and aerial photo shows the exact location.
The museum was opened and dedicated in May 2007 by The High Sheriff of Suffolk, Air Marshal Sir Richard John Kemball, KCB, CBE, and by Major General Dale C. Tabor, USAF (Retd.).
Planned public opening times are listed on the BCWM website.
Major General Dale C Tabor, USAF (Retd.) and Air Marshal Sir Richard John Kemball, KCB, CBE
at the opening and dedication ceremony at BCWM on 20 May 2007.
SHORT VIDEO - a couple of clips from the proceedings (5.8Mb) including a snippet of a Spitfire flypast
(Apologies for the quality of the video but it was taken hand-held with a stills camera)
The main “war operations room” and “Battle cabin” have been restored to there original condition, the BT telephone exchange room, and decontamination showers and airlock are also as original.
Other rooms within the building have been turned into exhibition rooms, covering the history of RAF Bentwaters from W.W.II until the base closed in 1993. Included in this are histories of the units that operated form the airfield, particularly the 81st Fighter Wing.
Another room is dedicated to the history of the other airfield which was part of the “twin base” complex RAF Woodbridge, again covering the period from WW2 until the present day.
Left, the memorial to George S Dorman. Right a yard-of-ale drinking score sheet
There are other exhibition rooms featuring information on the “Special Operations/Rescue Squadrons” that were based at RAF Woodbridge, and also the “Aggressor” Squadron based at Bentwaters. And a multi-media "theatre" incorporating seating from the 510th Command Post briefing room.
Left, a memorabilia ashtray. Right, one of the MANY excellent model aircraft - A-10.
As can be seen from the VERY SMALL SAMPLE above, there is a wealth of very varied exhibits in the Bentwaters Cold War Museum.
A further selection of photos taken at the opening and dedication:
The weather was kind but just in case...
Major General Dale C Tabor, USAF (Retd.), left.
Sarah Brown introducing the proceedings
Air Marshal Sir Richard John Kemball, KCB, CBE, High Sheriff of Suffolk
Major General Dale C Tabor, USAF (Retd.) with the model of an A-10 "Warthog"
that had been presented to him by the airplane makers, Fairchild-Republic.
Major General Dale C Tabor, USAF (Retd.) presenting the model of an A-10 to Sarah Brown,
for the model to be housed in its new home, Bentwaters Cold War Museum.
Major General Dale C Tabor, USAF (Retd.) about to present an A-10 pin to all the members
of the Bentwaters Aviation Society, whose hard work has enabled the BCWM to reach the
state of readiness to receive the public.
Air Marshal Sir Richard John Kemball, KCB, CBE, High Sheriff of Suffolk,
chats to Simon Gladas, liaison officer of the Bentwaters Aviation Society
Major General Dale C Tabor, USAF (Retd.) chats to guests.
Geoff Pleasance (left), the acclaimed aviation artist, undoubtedly discussing aviation
matters with Graham Haynes, Chairman of the Bentwaters Aviation Society.
Bill Kemball, left, major sponsor of BCWM and owner of Bentwaters Parks, where the Bentwaters Cold War Museum is located, having a chuckle with his cousin, Air Marshal Sir Richard John Kemball, KCB, CBE, High Sheriff of Suffolk
Defence system outside the entrance to the Bentwaters Cold War Museum