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History of the 489th Bomb Group Museum

The 489th Bomb Group Museum (on Hardwick Airfield) was opened in May 1996. It was closed in October 2011 and the 489th Collection moved to the Halesworth Airfield Memorial Museum. The Collection is still on display at the museum on Holton (Halesworth) Airfield, ‘home base’ to the 489th.

489th Museum before restoration489th Museum before restoration

In late 1995, unable to find suitable premises for a museum in the vicinity of Halesworth, the Friends of the 489th were generously offered the use of a former WWII nissen hut on farmland belonging to the Woodrow family. During WWII Hardwick Airfield, in Norfolk, was the home of the 93rd Bomb Group.

Converted nissen huts, already on the site were being used as museums to the 93rd Bomb Group and to the RAF. A grass strip close by was used by vintage aircraft and several former WWII buildings on the land had been preserved and used to good effect.

The nissen hut was ideal and the opportunity to set up a museum dedicated to the 489th was becoming a reality. Work began to refurbish the nissen hut and turn it into a museum.

Nissen Hut refurbishment 1Nissen Hut refurbishment 1

Nissen Hut refurbishment 2Nissen Hut refurbishment 2

Nissen Hut refurbishment 3Nissen Hut refurbishment 3

Nissen Hut refurbishment 4Nissen Hut refurbishment 4

Nissen Hut refurbishment 5Nissen Hut refurbishment 5

Nissen Hut refurbishment 6Nissen Hut refurbishment 6

Nissen Hut refurbishment 7Nissen Hut refurbishment 7

Nissen Hut refurbishment 8Nissen Hut refurbishment 8

Work continued throughout the winter and spring to get the museum ready for the opening in May 1996. All work was done on a voluntary basis by the Friends. In addition, David Neale, the Chairman of the Friends of the 2nd Air Division USAAF, laid a lawn around the building and designed a sign to direct visitors to the new museum.

David Neale presents sign he designed and made, 19961996 - David Neale presents the 489th Museum sign he designed and made

On the 23rd May 1996, the veterans of the 489th arrived in Halesworth for their Group’s UK Reunion. Then on Tuesday 28th May, the 489th Bomb Group Museum was officially opened.

1996 - L-R Ralph Belward and Charles Freudenthal open the 489th Bomb Group Museum1996 - L-R Ralph Belward and Charles Freudenthal open the 489th Bomb Group Museum

1996 - 489th Bomb Group Museum1996 - 489th Bomb Group Museum

Work has continued over the years to improve the display of the exhibits. Wooden tables have been replaced by custom made glass cabinets and a large corner cabinet for the display of uniforms was designed and put together on site.

2007 - Museum2007 - Museum cabinets designed and made by Tony Kerrison, John Baker and Sid Wilby

Uniform cabinet designed and made by Tony KerrisonUniform cabinet designed and made by Tony Kerrison

2007 - Museum 2007 - Museum

2007 - Museum 2007 - Museum

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