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Helicopter Museum

The Heliport, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset BS24 8PP England

Tel: 01934 635227

E-mail: helimuseum@btconnect.com

Restored the original 1930s  Control Tower
Richard Gibson
Herr Flick “Allo Allo”
Last surviving Dambuster
George 'Johnny' Johnson

After several years of planning and a £134,000 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund, a team of volunteers at The Helicopter Museum has restored the original 1930s Weston Airfield Control Tower complex adjacent to the museum and fitted it out with artefacts and displays covering the history of aviation in the area. The new exhibition will be officially opened on Saturday 8th April by actor Richard Gibson, who played the role of Herr Flick in the television comedy series “Allo Allo” during a special commemorative weekend featuring WWII Veterans, around 150 re-enactors, military displays and 40 vehicles.

“There is a certain irony about Herr Flick opening this exhibition” says Museum General Manager Lee Mills, “bearing in mind the huge contribution made to the war effort by the shadow factories and RAF Locking during the Second World War. We are all really excited about the opening and look forward to welcoming all the Veterans who will be attending.”

Included in those special quests is the last surviving Dambuster, George 'Johnny' Johnson who will be attending the event over the weekend to chat to visitors about his unique aviation history and to view the new exhibition.

“The Weston-super-Mare area actually has a rich vein of aviation history, stretching all the way back to before the First World War.” Lee added “Airline operations from the new airport took place from the mid1930s and Bristol Aeroplane Co. shadow factories and RAF Locking were established in the early days of the Second World War.”

“The control tower is especially notable as having originally been a cab shelter on Weston seafront, relocated to the airfield when the Borough Council agreed to establish an airport on the outskirts of the town in 1935.”

More than 3600 aeroplanes were built at Weston-super-Mare during the Second World War and this continued post war, culminating in the establishment of helicopter design and production at Oldmixon and rocket engine manufacturing at Elborough. Private and commercial light aeroplane operations also thrived until it all ended in 2002. Today the Helicopter Museum is the only operator still flying from the old airport.

Chairman of The Helicopter Museum Trustees, Elfan Ap Rees, says “When the idea of a museum to represent the history of the helicopter was first initiated in the late 1970s, we registered the name as “The British Rotorcraft Museum and Avon Air Collection Limited”, with the idea in our minds of eventually covering the wider local aviation scene. It’s taken nearly 40 years to happen and we are very grateful to the volunteers and support from local companies that has enabled us to complete the project at a fraction of the cost that would normally be budgeted by most museums. We now hope the new exhibition will remind visitors and new residents to the town, of the part Weston played in the West Country’s aviation history.”

The Museum is now keen to set up a new group of volunteer wardens, willing to give up 3-4 hours a week to show visitors around the exhibition and perhaps share their own local aviation knowledge. Contact helimuseum@btconnect.com or call 01934-635227 to express an interest.

“I shall open zis only once”
Herr Flick to launch New Aviation Exhibition
Last Surviving Dambuster Also Attending