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Redundant is proving useful

PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:05 03 March 2010

REDUNDANT equipment from the former Bentwaters air base is being used in the restoration of a vandalised Second World War control tower.

Beams, posts, windows, doors, railings and steel from buildings being demolished on the domestic side of the former American air base have been taken to Debach Airfield for the rebuilding of its dilapidated control tower.

REDUNDANT equipment from the former Bentwaters air base is being used in the restoration of a vandalised Second World War control tower.

Beams, posts, windows, doors, railings and steel from buildings being demolished on the domestic side of the former American air base have been taken to Debach Airfield for the rebuilding of its dilapidated control tower.

Now Richard Taylor, owner of Debach Airfield, is appealing for sponsors to pay for the refurbishment of individual rooms in the tower. He already has the financial support of Martin Storey, of Wilms UK Ltd, for two rooms.

Members of the public can view the restoration progress when the airfield is open from 10.30am to 4.30pm on June 16 and discover how they can help with the plan to set up a museum.

The aim is to recreate the operations room to show how it would have looked 65 years ago and Mr Taylor would like to restore the fire and ambulance stations when he finishes the control tower.

He said: "Debach Airfield played an important role in defending Britain during the war. We believe it is important to preserve this unique piece of history for future generations.

"It took a lot of work to make new metal windows to fit the original openings, we have put doors on so that the tower is now secure, we put railings on the roof, we have repaired the staircase to the roof and we have strengthened the veranda."

Mr Taylor's family have owned the land, on which the American 493rd Bomb Group was situated, since 1962.

But it was only recently that Mr Taylor, after being approached by the Friars to Flyers project, which supports historical visitor attractions in east Suffolk, decided to take more of an interest in the land's history.

The 493rd Bomb Group was named Heltons Hellcats after the group's first commanding officer, Col Elbert Helton, and after the war the site was used as a prisoner of war camp before being abandoned in 1948.

Anyone who can donate artefacts associated with the airfield for a museum should contact Mr Taylor on 01473 737236.

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