December 2023 - The Bentwaters walk on Dec 3 has been cancelled.
Given that the surfaces at Bentwaters can easily turn into an ice rink in freezing conditions, we think a cancellation is safer for everyone!
November 2023 - The BCWM Live Night recreated Cold War operations at Bentwaters...
November 2023 - Can you help support the BCWM?
October 2023 - It's walking time again!!!
October 2023 - Last chance to visit the BCWM in 2023!
September 2023 - Live Night returns on Nov 25th 2023!
September 2023 - Beware the Bear!
August 2023 - The BCWM becomes award winning.
The BCWM has won an award from Prestige Awards for history museum of the year. After having recently been nominated in the South of England category for 2023/2024 we found out recently that we had won and are happy to share the news with all of our supporters.
August 2023 - Anglo American Day 2023.
The BCWM would like to thank all of the exhibitors and visitors who came to our Anglo American Open Day on Aug 20th 2023. It was a really busy day from start to finish and we certainly saw some sights throughout the day ranging from a mass arrival of Harley Davidson motorcycles to some real classic vehicles to birds of prey. There was an abundance of food consumed as well ranging from a burger van to fried chicken to ice creams that kept everyone fed all day long!
A selection of images taken on the day by Simon Parker are shown here.
July 2023 - Out & About with the BCWM.
Members of the BCWM staff and the museum’s reenactment group, F Flight, attended the event held at the IWM Duxford on Friday July 28th. The event entitled “Flying Days: The Americans” is always a very busy event and we had lots of interest in our stand/shop and exhibits that were taken along for the day. Well done to the team for a long hard day that was a resounding success! Some images of the day are shown here.
July 2023 - Rendlesham Remembers...
A service was held on 2/7/23 at the former RAF Bentwaters Base Chapel to commemorate 30 years since the closure of the base. The event was attended by the BCWM’s reenactment group, F Flight, as part of the commemoration service and links with the local community.
The Church made a video of the services which can be watched on YouTube here.
July 2023 - Why not bring your classic car or vehicle to our Open Day on 20/8/23?
June 2023 - More patches have landed in our online store...
We have just added a range of patches to our online store that range from a U2 to a Desert Storm Tornado patch – you can find them in our patch and pin area here.
June 2023 - A visit from Suffolk Vehicle Enthusiasts Club on June 18th 2023
The Suffolk Vehicle Enthusiasts club visited the BCWM in the morning of June 18th 2023 before heading off into the countryside with their collection of vehicles. With about 25 of the planned 30 cars arriving they showed off a superb variety of different cars from different eras and styles. Some shots of their visit can be seen below.
May 2023 - Come and see a variety of cars from the Suffolk Vehicle Enthusiasts Club
On our next opening on June 18th 2023, the Suffolk Vehicle Enthusiasts club will be visiting the BCWM in the morning before heading off into the countryside with their collection of vehicles. Some of the cars they will have in attendance include a 1933 Ford Fordor, a 1965 Triumph Herald, a 1967 Sunbeam Alpine, a 1946 Austin 8 Tourer, and a 2001 Daimler V8. So if you are a bit of a petrolhead, why not pop along to see them as well as the BCWM at the same time?
May 2023 - We are getting ready for our 2023 Anglo American Day...
May 2023 - Restoration and upkeep are not static things...
At the BCWM we have a number of airframes on display and under restoration, and the process of looking after them is never-ending. As you can imagine when airframes are out in the open air they are subject to weathering and abuse from the sun, heat, cold, rain and more that is merciless. We have a constantly rolling programme of works to keep on top of the outdoor exhibits that is never easy to fully achieve when you are constrained by time, resources, and equipment, but we do try to keep on top of things. We can easily appreciate that everyone loves to see pristine exhibits but in reality unless you have a full time team dedicated to this, it’s nigh on impossible to deliver that!
Part of our restoration programme includes working on several aircraft simultaneously in our restoration hangar which when completed will be moved into public view in the compound only to be replaced by airframes from the compound that need attention and work – this is a constant cycle for all of us.
That being said, we recently undertook some maintenance on the A10 and Hawker Hunter in the museum compound that included a heavy duty cleaning and then application of some protective oils to try and limit weathering and deterioration – we are sure you can see from the images that the A10 has taken on a new shine!
Please remember that the BCWM is staffed by volunteers from all walks of life, so if you think you can help, then joining the Bentwaters Aviation Society as a Member is a great place to start and we will benefit from your support, not only financially, but if you have experience and enthusiasm to get involved. Details about becoming a BAS member can be found here.
May 2023 - Don't forget we are open on May 28 and 29...
We will be open on May 28 & 29 so why not pop in and have a browse? With the ever improving weather you can even treat yourself to an ice cream from our Diner and make a day of it.
If you want to avoid the sunshine, then attending one of our restoration hangar tours will keep you out of the sun and give you the chance to see behind the scenes of our airframe restoration programme. Bookings for the hangar tour can be made in person in our shop.
We look forward to seeing you!
April 2023 - The Restoration Hangar Tours are proving popular....
As we opened for the first time in 2023 on April 2nd, we had the opportunity to open up our restoration hangar to the public and had 2 minibus trips full of eager visitors who spent an hour being shown the hangar. Each trips visitors (we run 2 trips a day when we are open – check the tour booking item in the online shop for date details) had a briefing from our restoration team about each of the airframes in the hangar that included the history, current status and future plans for the aircraft. Feedback given by the visitors was extremely positive, and we are looking forward to seeing more visitors in the future who will then find out more about just what is involved in the restoration and maintenance of aircraft at a museum!
Well done to Benny Meager who won our Restoration Hangar Tour completion. Thanks to all who entered and we hope you will take part in our next competition, so keep an eye out for that in the not too distant future!
Return of the F16 to Bentwaters
When people think of RAF Bentwaters they mostly think of the A-10s that were based there, and often forget or overlook the 527th Aggressor Squadron who flew F16s from the base. The 527th were easily identified on the base with their “Bear HAS” that still has the original artwork on the doors, but they were also represented by a model of an F16 on a plinth at the rear of the Command Post. That particular F16 model has spent many years on display and then in storage at the IWM Duxford, but has now been returned to it’s former home at Bentwaters.
Members of the BCWM restoration team recently went to the IWM Duxford to collect it and it is now safely back in storage at the BCWM. The intention is that we will move the original plinth (as seen in one of the images below) and remount the F16 on public display. Keep an eye on the BCWM website for news of when this will take place in 2023. We are extremely pleased to be able to display this iconic model at the BCWM and are still staggered at it’s size as you can see with Ian White from our restoration team standing beside it in the photos.
New for 2023 is public access to our restoration hangar!
As we prepare for opening in April 2023 we are pleased to announce that the BCWM has launched a new offering for visitors. Historically we have had to limit public access to our restoration hangar due to resource availability and access, but we are now able to take up to 16 people over to see the hangar twice a day when we are open.
The visits to the restoration hangar will allow you to see the various aircraft and vehicles under restoration and maintenance, and you will be briefed on the status and plans for each element by members of the restoration teams.
See behind the scenes in the BCWM restoration hangar where we are currently working on the restoration of our Sepecat Jaguar, Lockheed T-33, BAC Lightning, Gloster Meteor and several ground units used to support the airframes.
Access to the hangar will be possible at 12noon and 2pm on the days the BCWM is open (subject to availability). You will be driven over to the HAS by minibus and then shown round the restoration items before being taken back to the museum.
Local artist to display at the BCWM.
An art exhibition entitled “David Come Home” by Simon Isaac will soon go on display at the BCWM, both in the main museum and in our restoration hangar. To find out more about Simon’s photographic and moving image art, you can visit his website here.
Welcome to our new website!
Over the last few months we have been working behind the scenes to consolidate some of our websites, and we have now completed this with a brand new website build that combines the previous BCWM and BAS/BCWM Online shop sites into one removing the need to jump between 2 separate websites. It also allows us easier ways of introducing new products and news as we move forward as a museum and aviation society.
Given the unbelievable ever increasing use of mobiles and tablets, we thought it was time to optimise our web presence for these devices in the first instance and to make access to our online store even easier for those of you who are always on the move!
We hope you enjoy the website, and continue to support the BCWM as we strive to improve our museum wherever and whenever we can.
Interested in attending a talk by a former U-2 pilot?
Runway25, who we work with to supply our BCWM keyrings, are soon hosting an event at RAF Cosford where a talk will be given by Ross “Extreme” Franquemont who was a USAF U-2 pilot. The event will be hosted in the atmospheric surroundings of the National Cold War Exhibition Hangar at RAF Museum Midlands, Cosford and promises to be another memorable evening. Ross will talk about how he came about being a U-2 pilot, training and operations, being an instructor on the U-2 and the experience of the Chase Car, a unique aspect of the iconic U-2 programme. You can find out more about the event and tickets at the Runway25 website here.
Super green light for our Diner/Cafe!
Our new Diner/Cafe was inspected on Feb 7th 2023 by the Food Standards agency and was given top marks with a rating of 5(the scale is 0 to 5, with 5 being the optimal score). We are extremely pleased with this after the collective efforts of many of the BCWM staff over the last few months to build, fit out and complete the new Diner/Cafe. We are sure it will go down well with visitors this year, and for many more to come in the future. We open again to the Public from April 2nd 2023, so come and have a look for yourself.
Stay warm this Winter with a BCWM fleece blanket!
As we head into Winter and the temperatures drop, why not treat yourself to a BCWM fleece blanket to keep yourself warm wherever you are? The new branded blankets can easily be rolled up and carried about in a bag so you can stay warm wherever you are! The fleece blankets measure 150cm x 100cm, and are available in camo, silver grey, navy, charcoal and camel colours.
You can easily get one for yourself or for someone else’s Christmas present at our online store here!