RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre RAF Sculthorpe was the USAFs only atomic bomber base in East Anglia. From Spy flights to atomic incidents to natural disasters and heroes. We are proud to be able to share its rich history on this page or at our Heritage centre at the former base.
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A Superb set of photos from David Pyne.His Father was pilot, Captain Stanley Pyne.He was with the 86th Bomb Squadron fro...
04/03/2021

A Superb set of photos from David Pyne.

His Father was pilot, Captain Stanley Pyne.
He was with the 86th Bomb Squadron from 1958 to 1962.

They show his Father and crew, but also stunning photos taken from inside the B-66 refueling on a KB-50 of the 420th ARS.

For a some time now recently, Sculthorpe has been a mecca for "urban explorers" and unfortunately, other anti social iss...
02/03/2021

For a some time now recently, Sculthorpe has been a mecca for "urban explorers" and unfortunately, other anti social issues which included the Centre being broke into last year.

We also see lots of websites and YouTube videos of people trespassing on MOD land to gain access to the ATC Tower.

Ourselves and UK Airfields are the only organisations that have had legal access to the tower in the last 10 years that we are aware of.

This is a live fire and live aircraft movement area and is strictly off limits.

We not saying all urban explorers and the such are irresponsible, but the police and local community have stepped up in recent months to stop the increased behaviour of vandalism and Anti social issues.

Police operation on Sunday......

Β£1400 in covid fines handed out (travelled from Bury St Edmunds)
4 charged with offences related to graffiti.
3 for drug offences.
1 for criminal damage.

We are not sure how we came by this one, but we have sharpened the image.The Jaguars of Coltishall using Sculthorpe as a...
01/03/2021

We are not sure how we came by this one, but we have sharpened the image.
The Jaguars of Coltishall using Sculthorpe as a bolthole in 1982.

We think this image was taken by someone in another aircraft?
It's the wrong angle for the ATC tower.

A then and now.....The roundabout or traffic circle has been a focal point since the base was converted into a VHB in 19...
28/02/2021

A then and now.....

The roundabout or traffic circle has been a focal point since the base was converted into a VHB in 1948.
During the 80s, one of the MAP returned F-100s stood on the roundabout as a gate guard.

It was removed in 1989.

The building at the back is the USAF Chapel which is the best kept building today as it is occupied by a Bespoke cabinet maker.

We have had a few new donations of personal paperwork items recently.Two new menus from 1954 and 1955 plus a travel perm...
27/02/2021

We have had a few new donations of personal paperwork items recently.

Two new menus from 1954 and 1955 plus a travel permit and 4 75mm shells from a M51 "Skysweeper" anti Aircraft gun.

Have a look though the photos of a small selection of the items we have.

I love these items as they represent a person who lived/worked at the base.

If you feel like you have something that you think we could be interested in or donate, please message me or email at [email protected]
Rest assured all credit is given and they will have a great home.

Thanks to Gary Viall, Val Ashpool, Ian Warner, the Schwitzer family for some of the donations

Please check the photos for captions.

First visit of the year for the RAF and what a entrance!.....an RAF A400.Kevin, our Heritage Centre photographer has cap...
25/02/2021

First visit of the year for the RAF and what a entrance!.....an RAF A400.
Kevin, our Heritage Centre photographer has captured the A400 crusing past the ATC and a new contribution from Leanne Scales...2nd time she has used her husbands camera!

Fantastic shots all round!

Spectacular shots of B-45s of the 86th Bomb Squadron.These photos were taken by now Major Hugh Mckay during his time at ...
24/02/2021

Spectacular shots of B-45s of the 86th Bomb Squadron.

These photos were taken by now Major Hugh Mckay during his time at Sculthorpe, Molesworth and Alconbury.

Hugh served with the 19th TRS and transferred to the 86th during the mid fifties.

He was very pleased to receive our B-45 mug!

Our best wishes to Hugh and a thanks to him and his son, Bill for the use of the photos.

During the summer of 1989, the TR-1s and Ultra rare TR-1B of the 95th Reconnaissance squadron used Sculthorpe as a bolth...
22/02/2021

During the summer of 1989, the TR-1s and Ultra rare TR-1B of the 95th Reconnaissance squadron used Sculthorpe as a bolthole whilest the runway at their home base of RAF Alconbury was having its runway resurfaced.

It also gave visitors a rare glance at these aircraft at the August Air Tattoo.

Many thanks to Jim Elkthunder, Mark Rees and Steven Willsher for the excellent photos.

A Superb photo of a Lakenheath F-111 taken by Colin Collis at the 1989 Air Tattoo which was the last to take place at RA...
20/02/2021

A Superb photo of a Lakenheath F-111 taken by Colin Collis at the 1989 Air Tattoo which was the last to take place at RAF Sculthorpe.

Many thanks to Colin for sharing.

During the 70s, many of the MAP (Military Assistance Program) French Air Force F-100s were returned to RAF Sculthorpe.Th...
18/02/2021

During the 70s, many of the MAP (Military Assistance Program) French Air Force F-100s were returned to RAF Sculthorpe.

These excellent photos were taken by Fred Martin at a Photo opportunity day at Sculthorpe in May of 1975.

Most of these F-100s would either be scrapped or end up in museums.

Many thanks to Fred for allowing us to share his photos.

16/02/2021

When we can reopen....( we honestly don't know when that is!)....we like to create an atmosphere...
Our latest addition is this fantastic 1950s Ferguson radio Bluetooth speaker.

The radio has been loving adpated to a modern specification by Electrobarn based here in North Norfolk.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ElectroBarn?ref=search_shop_redirect

We look forward to welcoming you all back were you can enjoy a refreshment and some old school tunes.

Two of a Gloster Javelin at respective Armed forces days at RAF Sculthorpe.We are not sure on the date of the first, but...
13/02/2021

Two of a Gloster Javelin at respective Armed forces days at RAF Sculthorpe.

We are not sure on the date of the first, but it could be 1957?
Any info of the squadron would be appreciated.

The 2nd is from the late Jack Friell collection and shows XJ123 of 85 Sqdn at the 1962 Armed Forces day.

We continue our current snow theme and we popped over to see how our Jaguar was fairing in the cold snap!
10/02/2021

We continue our current snow theme and we popped over to see how our Jaguar was fairing in the cold snap!

The weather is creating some fantastic photo opportunities and our Heritage Centre photographer, Kevin Osman has capture...
09/02/2021

The weather is creating some fantastic photo opportunities and our Heritage Centre photographer, Kevin Osman has captured some fantastic shots of the CV-22s training at Sculthorpe on his daily walk.

Currently we are in the grip of the beast from the east at Sculthorpe.Here is a selection of photos from today.
08/02/2021

Currently we are in the grip of the beast from the east at Sculthorpe.
Here is a selection of photos from today.

Even though I've walked around the base hundreds of times, new things appear.We took shelter in the former BX whilest a ...
07/02/2021

Even though I've walked around the base hundreds of times, new things appear.
We took shelter in the former BX whilest a snow storm gripped the airfield.

We noticed an emblem under the plasterboard.

A USAF Postal and Courier services sticker.

Suspect it was used as a post office when the base reopened in 1967 onwards as the APO was in a different location during the 50s.

Now removed and will be adding it to the Heritage Centre collection.

This is a Superb shot taken by the late Jack Friell of a F-84F from the 166thTFS, Oh ANG at the 1962 Armed Forces Day.
06/02/2021

This is a Superb shot taken by the late Jack Friell of a F-84F from the 166thTFS, Oh ANG at the 1962 Armed Forces Day.

It's been a bit of a busy week and we acquired a selection of fantastic 35mm film of the 420th ARS who was based at Scul...
05/02/2021
RAF Sculthorpe Norfolk 420th Air Refueling Squadron 1958 KB-50 F-101 Voodoos F-104 Starfighter

It's been a bit of a busy week and we acquired a selection of fantastic 35mm film of the 420th ARS who was based at Sculthorpe.

This particular clip shows the KB-50JS of the 420th on the stands, taking off, refueling, Thuds, Voodoos and Starfighters before returning to Sculthorpe.

A wonderful snippet of what the 420th did in 1958.

https://youtu.be/W228uGqd1fc

Fantastic footage of the 420th ARS based at RAF Sculthorpe in 1958.The clip shows the KB-50 refueling Voodoos and Starfighters.Also enjoy This Rerecorded ver...

A Superb photo from the Late Jack Friell collection of 55 squadron Victor Tankers at RAF Sculthorpe in 1979.They used Sc...
04/02/2021

A Superb photo from the Late Jack Friell collection of 55 squadron Victor Tankers at RAF Sculthorpe in 1979.

They used Sculthorpe as a bolthole whilst RAF Marhams runway was resurfaced.

New into the collection is a set of stunning photographs taken at the 1962 Armed forces day.We have around 30 plus of th...
02/02/2021

New into the collection is a set of stunning photographs taken at the 1962 Armed forces day.

We have around 30 plus of this quality passed on to us by Steve Hill and originally taken by the late Jack Friell.

First out of the group is this F-104 starfighter of the 436thTFS, 479thTFW.

01/02/2021

Our last post of the floods of 53 and this was a local news report from ITV Anglia in which my son and I paid our respects to the victims, the survivors and heroes.

Sadly no flood memorial ceremony this year, but we still paid our respects.
31/01/2021

Sadly no flood memorial ceremony this year, but we still paid our respects.

If you are in the Norfolk area, tune into BBC Norfolk Breakfast around 09.00 - 09.15 where our Curator will be talking a...
27/01/2021

If you are in the Norfolk area, tune into BBC Norfolk Breakfast around 09.00 - 09.15 where our Curator will be talking about Freemans story and the Floods of 53.

He aspires to be like Alan Partridge!πŸ˜†

In the days, weeks, months after the 1953 floods the assistance the Americans from the 47th bombardment wing based at Sc...
26/01/2021

In the days, weeks, months after the 1953 floods the assistance the Americans from the 47th bombardment wing based at Sculthorpe was immeasurable and priceless to rebuilding.

The various different units based at Sculthorpe helped out with manpower, specialised equipment, shelter, clothing, food and water.

The people of Norfolk didn't forget what the Americans did, Reis Lemings first wedding was held in Hunstanton, paid for by the town.

Base Commander, Col David Jones was invited to a private dinner with HRH the Queen at Sandringham.

In 1954, at the First Armed forces day at RAF Sculthorpe base commander Col David Jones was Presented a token of thanks and friendship from the people of Norfolk by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Sir Edmund Bacon.

A Sliver Pheasant.

This was held for many years as the most prized possession by the 47th until they left in 1962.
The Pheasant was gifted back to Norfolk Council and it lived in Norwich Library for many years until it was destroyed in a fire in 1994.

Sir Edmunds widow paid for a replica to be made and once again it was on display in the American library at the newly built Forum.

Last year, we had the opportunity to bring the Pheasant home.

We are very proud to have such items and stories for all to share at the RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre and remember all of those involved in Britain's worst natural disaster.

Please check the photos for captions.

We are absolutely honoured to now announce our latest exhibit to the RSHC....Staff/Sgt Freeman A Kilpatricks George Meda...
24/01/2021

We are absolutely honoured to now announce our latest exhibit to the RSHC....

Staff/Sgt Freeman A Kilpatricks George Medal.

Please do take the time to read the whole following post, it's an amazing story from a unassuming hero.......

Staff Sargent Freeman Kilpatrick was stationed at RAF Sculthorpe in 1953.
He was part of the 3rd communication Sqd which handled the telephone systems on the base for the 47th bombardment wing.

He was living in Hunstanton with his wife, Sara and 3 year old daughter, Suellen in rented accommodation on South Beach Rd.

On the night of the 31st of January, 1953.
Freeman and his wife was about to head out to catch a movie.

Babysitter Joyce stubbins was at their home to look after their daughter.
At around 18.00, Freeman stepped out of his front door to notice a increasing amount of water start to appear, he soon realised that something was wrong when it tasted salty.

He left his wife, daughter and babysitter and told them to get to higher ground.

He then went running down South Beach Rd to warn others and help families get on the roofs.
He then struggled though the floods to get back to his own house with the flood level now over 15ft in less than 20 minutes.

He got back to his house and got his family and babysitter onto the roof.

A short time later his house disintegrated beneath them and the family was now adrift in the worst of the storm on the house roof for some hours.

They were rescued some hours later.

3 members of Joyce Stubbins family had been killed in the floods.

Freeman was awarded the George Medal for his heroics in saving 18 people that night.

However, he never really wanted the attention, in fact he hated it.

He felt that he was the wrong person in the right place.

He sadly passed away in 2014, but before he did he gave an interview to an Author, Sean Kelly for his new book "Home Bases."

The book is about US personel stories in mainly London.

In the interview he stated that his wife was mad at him for leaving them for some time after the flood events.

He felt he did what anyone else would have done.

All he really wanted from the whole ordeal was a signed photo from the Queen for his family.

Thanks to Sean Kelly, we made contact with Freemans son, Alex who after a few email exchanges offered the donation of his Father's George Medal.
Alex said that his Father never spoke of his actions or saw himself as a hero and that Alex himself didn't find out until he was 14.

Alex said he knew his Father would be happy that the GM was back in Norfolk for everyone to enjoy.

We wrote to the Queen and we received a letter back within a week from her lady in waiting stating that the Queen was touched to learn of Mr Kilpatricks wish.

Sadly, due to the Queen's rules it wasn't going to happen.
We tried this for Freemans family.

We are thrilled to have had this unique opportunity to bring this pricless peice of Norfolk history back for everyone to enjoy and remember the events and actions of many during the floods.

Please do check the photos for captions.

All recent photos taken last year and prior to the recent Covid restrictions.

During the night of the storm, many personnel from RAF Sculthorpe assisted where they could.A small band went above and ...
23/01/2021

During the night of the storm, many personnel from RAF Sculthorpe assisted where they could.

A small band went above and beyond.......

Particularly in the Hunstanton area.

Two USAF personnel from Sculthorpe would become George Medal recipients....one is very well known, one shunned his actions.

Airman 2nd class Reis Leming, 67th Air Rescue Squadron ( now 67th SOS at Mildenhall) waded out three times in the pitch black, dressed in a anti Exposure suit and only armed with a torch and Dingy.

He Rescued 27 people from the floods, eventually collapsing with hypothermia and exhaustion.

He was the first non British citizen to be awarded the GM in peacetime and only one of two Americans to be awarded the GM in peacetime.

Reis became a hero in Hunstanton and visited many times until his death.

We would like to thank his daughter for sharing some of the below photos.

Please check the photos for captions.

Other USAF personnel were awarded British honors, the other GM was Awarded to

S/Sgt Freeman A Kilpatrick......

Tomorrow we have a very special announcement and Freemans story.......

Over this coming week we turn our attention to Britain's worst Natural disaster....The North Sea Floods of 1953.https://...
22/01/2021

Over this coming week we turn our attention to Britain's worst Natural disaster....

The North Sea Floods of 1953.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sea_flood_of_1953

During the evening of the 31st of January, 1953 the combination of very high tides and Storm conditions, engulfed the East of England from the North of England to the Thames.....

Norfolk was hit hard by the storm sturge with its low lying land.

Hunstanton was one of many towns and villages hit by the storm.

Many of the newly arrived 47th bombardment wing personnel had made home in places like Heacham and Hunstanton.

Most of the Families lived in summer accommodation and the houses on South Beach Rd didn't stand much hope against the force of the storm...

31 people lost their lives at Hunstanton, 17 of them American, connected to Sculthorpe.

This included the Branch Family....all 4 killed by the tempest........

The Americans lost their own, but they also had heroes.....

A couple of photos of a RB-45 of the 19th TRS.The first is taken landing at Sculthorpe in 1956.The 2nd is more then like...
21/01/2021

A couple of photos of a RB-45 of the 19th TRS.
The first is taken landing at Sculthorpe in 1956.

The 2nd is more then likely 60s/70s when 48-043 had been sent to Woodbridge for fire training then scrapped.

The Bentwaters Cold War Museum have the cockpit Canopy of this Aircraft on display.

It was dug up at Woodbridge and donated to BCWM.

A great shot of a KB-50J of the 420th ARS.This appears to be taken at the 1962 Armed forces day.The KB-50J started life ...
20/01/2021

A great shot of a KB-50J of the 420th ARS.
This appears to be taken at the 1962 Armed forces day.

The KB-50J started life off as a B-50.

A selection would be converted to Refueling from 1956 to 1958.

Realistically they was not suitable for the job and could could not keep up with refueling more modern jets.
Two additional J-47 jet engines were attached to assist the aging aircraft to keep at a similar speed to the refueling jets

They also suffered from stress fatigue on the airframes and prone to fires.
But they did the job that needed to be done.

A spectacular photo taken by Bob Loring whilst catching a ride on a KB-50 of the 420th ARS.Bob was with the 47th A/E fro...
18/01/2021

A spectacular photo taken by Bob Loring whilst catching a ride on a KB-50 of the 420th ARS.

Bob was with the 47th A/E from 1960 to 62 and visited us a few years ago with his family.

A fantastic photo of a B-47E at the 1962 Armed forces day.  This B-47E was assigned to the 3920th Combat Support Group (...
15/01/2021

A fantastic photo of a B-47E at the 1962 Armed forces day.

This B-47E was assigned to the 3920th Combat Support Group (later Support Wing) at Brize Norton.
Their purpose, apart from being sent to open days, was to provide 7th Air Division staff officers with flying time.

A couple of fantastic arieal photos taken by friend to the Heritage Centre, Richard Flagg.These really show off the scal...
13/01/2021

A couple of fantastic arieal photos taken by friend to the Heritage Centre, Richard Flagg.

These really show off the scale and size of this Cold War monster!

These photos were taken in 2008 and still show a lot of buildings which since 2008 have been demolished including the four type 2 hangers.

Link to Richards excellent UK AIRFIELDS page.

https://www.facebook.com/ukairfields/

Many thanks to Richard for the use of the photos.

David Whitaker was a photo lab technician with the 19th Tactical reconnaissance Squadron at Sculthorpe.He certainly had ...
09/01/2021

David Whitaker was a photo lab technician with the 19th Tactical reconnaissance Squadron at Sculthorpe.

He certainly had a good eye for photos, but also took some spectacular arieal photos of Sculthorpe.

We wish him a very happy birthday today.

Please check the photos for captions.

During Sculthorpes "Heyday" of the 1950s, it was almost like a small town.This 1958 Information booklet was given out to...
07/01/2021

During Sculthorpes "Heyday" of the 1950s, it was almost like a small town.

This 1958 Information booklet was given out to anyone new arriving at Sculthorpe.

It gives information about the base and Britain.

Included is a map of the buildings someone new might have needed to know.

If you use the map and legend with the assistance of the 1955 aerial photo, you can pick out many of the buildings.

Some are still present to this day.

Address

Chapel Street

NR21 7RR

Opening Hours

Sunday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

+447766715548

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What-Ho! squadron Leader β€˜Ginger’ Jones here! Celebrate world book day by downloading our exciting ebook from Devon writers, illustrators and publishers Kooky and Kitsch, for your young pilots, cadets and apprentice engineers! A fantastic bedtime read for all aviators, young and old! So go to our website kookyandkitsch.co.uk for lots of fun, free content and a jolly good read! And a big thank you from all of us at Waddingthorpe Airfield. Tally-Ho!
Thor missile unloading at RAF Sculthorpe.
This place is a part of me ,I was born there in 1961
From the US National Archives. Link to the original here: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/6387898
I found a few old photos from my time at RAF Sculthorpe '68-69. I was originally billeted at RAF West Raynham and still had mates there as we didn't have our own barracks but lived in the Airman's quarters and ate in the British Mess. I did spent a lot of time in the NAAFI until our barracks opened.
A few of the French F100's from the collection of the late John Johnson
Question about "RAF Sculthorpe was the USAFs only atomic bomber base in East Anglia." - were there not SAC TDYs to Marham & Mildenhall ?
Makes me realize what a really big base it was before I was stationed there in the late 60's and early 70's. Love the old photos.