The Friends Of Leiston Airfield Heritage Centre
Some years ago a small building on the Cakes & Ale Park became surplus to requirements and we were given the use of the building for the storage of various pieces of equipment used on our annual event and to store the many photographs and other artefacts acquired over the years. This building, known to all as Gus’s Hut and very similar to a garden summer house, was used by Gus Clutten as an office/work place for his work on the park. As a mark of respect to him we decided to name the building ‘The Gus Clutten Memorial Hut’. Some time later we lost our good friend from the USA Joe DeShay and his widow Ellen very kindly suggested that family and friends might wish to make a donation to our funds. They did donate and we used this money to refurbish the hut making it water tight and presentable. It was at this point, after accumulating some further artefacts, that we could see the beginnings of a small museum taking shape.
We changed the name to The Clutten – Deshay Memorial Hut and in May 2008 opened The Leiston Airfield Heritage Centre’
On display are around 200 photographs of the airfield, pilots, their aircraft, ground personnel and buildings. We have details of all the missions flown, the POW’s and Escapees and of course the Roll of Honour. One of our members kindly donated an airfield radio, owned by her late husband, which we have returned to full working order and we found some runway flare-path lights which are also now in working order. Our good friend from Jacksonville Florida, Joe Shea has donated his uniform jacket and flying helmet and, what we think is a rarity, his mission board tag in the form of an aircraft with his name on. This was used to indicate his position in the formation. We have many more photos to show as well as some excellent biographies of personnel, but we still require more artefacts. The Centre can accommodate much more and with the possibility of another building in the future we have the makings of a unique tribute to the men of one of the most successful fighter groups of the Eight Air Force.
Please contact us with your offers or in the case of visitors let us know when you wish to visit as the Centre is at the moment, open only at weekends and at certain other times.