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Fenland Aviation Preservation Society (FAPS) was formed by a group of aviation enthusiasts at the Dun Cow Pub at Christchurch, Cambs.
The Propellor Blade Memorial was dedicated in the cemetery of Bergen, North Holland. The propellor came from the recovery of Lancaster ED715 at Chatteris, conducted by FAPS. Five members of FAPS attended the unveiling and dedication ceremony and were welcomed into the Bergen community.
The Stirling Mural was removed from a building at North Creake disused airfield by FAPS, was erected and unveiled at the Bomber Command Museum at Hendon, London,the ceremony was attended by a large number of FAPS members and families of the missing airmen.
A Propellor Blade Memorial was dedicated at Newmarket racecourse. The propellor blade came from a Wellington T2888, of 99 Squadron RAF, which crashed at Stags Holt, Cambs and was recovered by FAPS. The Memorial was dedicated to all members of 99 Sqn and erected at the entrance to the members enclosure at the racecourse, which during WW2 was RAF Newmarket Heath airfield.
The first Fenland Aviation Museum opens. After appealing for a building to house the hundreds of artefacts recovered from various crash sites within Fenland, we received a reply from Mr Lee Bamber, who ran a local Garden centre, offering space to establish the Museum. Following extensive building and fitting out works by members of FAPS during 1986/87, the Fenland Aviation Museum (FAM) was officially opened in 1987.
We discovered that a Vampire aircraft was available from Manchester University at the airfield at Barton. We successfully aquired it on the condition it was removed within a fortnight, a team of FAM members went to Barton on the first weekend and stripped it down ready for transport, and the following weekend they brought it back to the Museum. We had our first aircraft, a Vampire T11, XD434.
Sutton Bridge Propellor Blade Memorial. We heard that there was to be a power station erected on the old airfield at Sutton Bridge and decided to approach the Parish Council to ask their opinion and for their help in erecting a Memorial to all Nationalities who had served at RAF Sutton Bridge. After several years of lengthy negotiations, FAPS were finally successful and the Memorial was erected and dedicated in 1993.
Having outgrown our Museum's current building we were advised that another building had become available within the Garden Centre with adjacent land which would enable us to acquire more airframes. Following negotiations, the site was acquired. Once again building work and fitting out had to be done and then all the artefacts from the building had to be moved to the new sight by the members. This was achieved and the new museum was opened in 1994.
At this time the title of the Museum changed to The Fenland & West Norfolk Aviation Museum (FAWNAM) and its governing body title to the Fenland & West Norfolk Aircraft Preservation Society (FAWNAPS).
We were very fortunate to make contact with a person who had two Lightning aircraft for sale, one of these was purchased by the Museum and moved to site. On the same site was also a Jet Provost, owned by the March Air Cadets, and we were asked if this could also be moved to our site to be closer to their location. Therefore by1995 we had aquired a Lightning T5 XS459, & a Jet Provost T3 XM402.
Several buildings were added to the site of the Museum to house the ever increasing number of exhibits and artefacts including; Buccaneer & Boeing 747 Cockpits, Avon & Pegasus Engines, Provost Systems Trainer and all the displays associated with them.
We were advised by the Harbour Master in Kings Lynn that aircraft wreckage had been found in the Wash, and asked if we could we help with identifying it? We discovered that it was a Mosquito aircraft that had dived in during 1945 and that the crew had not been recovered and were therefore still listed as missing. We contacted the Ministry of Defence (MoD) who put in place a Naval recovery crew. They worked in very ardous conditions to recover the remains of the aircraft and more importantly the remains of the Pilot and Navigator, who could now have a proper burial and were no longer "Missing".
The Shackleton Cockpit arrives. Although we already had the centre fuselage section of Shackleton MR 3/3 WR971 for several years, it was not until 2013 that we were able to aquire the cockpit and other fuselage sections and bring them together at the Museum.
Another milestone was reached when the owner of a Replica Spitfire Mk 1X and a Hurricane fuselage approached us to see if we would be interested in displaying them at the Museum. This has now been acheived and a fine addition they make to the Museum and it also enables the public to view these iconic aircraft.
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Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum, Lynn Road, West Walton. Cambridgeshire, PE14 7DA
T: 01945 461771