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EAST ANGLIA 

BATTLEFIELD AND MILITARY HERITAGE 

If you are  looking for something to do for an afternoon while on holiday somewhere in Britian, we can find a local expert guide for the battlefield and arrange a tour for you.  

 

Airfields and sea defences figure prominently in the East of England with many museums dedicated to the region's role in the two world wars> However it also has castles and reminders of more ancient conflicts
 


Events in East Anglia 

If you are planning a tour to Britian, and would like to take in some of the spectacle of our military heritage we can help you to take advantage of the dozens of re-enactment and other events staged around the country.


We will be adding an events calendar so you can see what is on and where!

 RAF Northolt was a sector station and still is an  RAF airfield.  The station contains a reconstructed sector operations room as well as other historic buildings. The airfield was also the home of the 303 (Polish) Sqn RAF in the Battle of Britain. It can be visited by prior arrangement. Contact British battlefields for details

The No 11 Group Bunker Uxbridge was used by RAF Fighter command throughoiut the Second World War.  It is one of the most famous command posts in history. It was from here that the main air battles of the Battle of Britian were controlled. The plottign table is still laid out when it was at 11.15 Am on Sunday 15
September 1940 when Winston Churchill watched the battle from the gallery.   I unique place, which can be visited by groups with a
prior arrnagement, contact British Battlefields for details

The Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede commemorates by name over 20,000 airmen who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe, and who have no known graves. They served in Bomber, Fighter, Coastal, Transport, Flying Training and Maintenance Commands, and came from all parts of the Commonwealth. Some were from countries in continental Europe which had been overrun but whose airmen continued to fight in the ranks of the Royal Air Force.

Pathfinder Musuem Wyton

The Pathfinder Collection housed at Royal Air Force Wyton near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire is a memorial and testimony to the airmen of No 8 Pathfinder Group of Bomber Command during World War II, the RAF’s only officially recognized elite force and commemorates that organization and those who gave so much in achieving its goals.The musuem is staffed by RAF staff and civilian volunteers.  It is only open to groups by appointment.

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Britain's largest aviation museum, with around 200 planes, military vehicles, artillery and naval vessels. Duxford Aerodrome was home to several RAF fighter squadrons during the Battle of Britain and later to USAAF 78th Fighter Group. Museum highlights include the Battle of Britain exhibition housed in a 1917 Belfast hangar and the American Air Museum in a modern building designed by Sir Norman Foster. The Aircraft Hall includes a Spitfire, a Lancaster and a Concorde. Also on site are the regimental museums of the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Anglian Regiment. Duxford hosts regular air shows and other events.

Brooklands is a historic site on the development of British miltiary aviation.  It was home to the Vickers aircraft factories and from where aircraft built by  Sopwith and then Hawker were tested and fl;own.  The Museum contains historic Wellington and Hawker Hurricane aircraft, a Vickers Vimy repleca and  as a collection of well as post war bomber and transport aircraft

Purfleet Heritage & Military Centre

Housed within Magazine No 5 of the former Royal Magazine for Gunpowder on the bank of the River Thames, built in 1759. The centre documents the history of the magazines and holds collections covering the army from Waterloo to National Service, including the story of the Gurkha Regiment. The naval collection has exhibits from the Battle of Trafalgar to World War II while the RAF Hornchurch Wing Collection has uniforms and aircraft artefacts from the Hornchurch aerodrome. A Zeppelin display tells how the anti-aircraft guns at Purfleet helped shoot down Zeppelin L15 in 1916.

Potters Bar and Cuffley Zepplins - WW 1

Within the space of a couple of weeks the first two German dirigibles were shot down over NW London.  SL 11 was shot down over Cuffley by Lt Leefe Robinson and L31 captained by the Zeppelin captain Mathy was shot down over Potters Bar. These events were a turning point in the first german air war on London using airships.  This story and the legacy on the ground can be interpreted with the help of a guid

he only registered battlefield in Greater London.  Here is where the Yorkists King Edward IV Edward and his brothers George, and Richard, (The future king Richard III) beat their Uncle Richard Neville Earl of Warwick "the Kingmaker".  It is a great story and makes a good day out. .

Suffolk Regiment Museum, Bury St Edmonds

Housed inside The Keep at Gibraltar Barracks. Contains badges, medals and uniforms plus artefacts such as a German Imperial flag captured from the German governor's house in Togoland in August 1914. Among the museum's large collection of drums is one of the drums left in Roubaix, France by the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940, with a note reading 'to be called for later' and retrieved after D Day.

The RAF Museum London is on the site of Hendon Aerodrome and houses over 100 aircraft from around the world including some very early aircraft designs through to the latest modern day jets and military aircraft.   It is on the site of one of the historic airfields, serving as a base for night fighters, training and communications. The site includes the buildings of the Graham White aircraft factory and houses a fine archive. 

Bolingbroke Castle

A 13th century hexagonal castle without a keep, it had a curtain wall with five D shaped towers and a twin towered gatehouse, surrounded by a moat. In the 14th century it was owned by John of Gaunt and his son Henry Bolingbroke was born there. Garrisoned by Royalist troops in the Civil War it was badly damaged in the Battle of Winceby and was later 'slighted' to stop further use, the towers and walls being torn down. Now ruined, only its lower walls and earthworks remain.

Tower Museum Bassingbourn

RAF Bassingbourn was a bomber airfield in the Second World War, home to the RAF's Operational Training Unit that took part in the 1000 bomber raids, and later to the USAAF's 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy). The site is now a barracks, home to the Army Training Regiment Bassingbourn. The Tower Museum is housed in the original 1930s control tower and focuses on the history of the airfield. The first floor is dedicated to the story of the RAF and British Army during World War II, the second floor to that of the USAAF.

The Harwich Redoubt

A circular fort built in 1808 to protect the port of Harwich from invasion during the Napoleonic Wars, it dates from the same time as the chain of Martello Towers along the East Anglian coast. About 200 feet in diameter it had a central parade ground 85 feet across. Surrounded by a deep ditch it could only be entered by one removable drawbridge. Originally armed with ten 24-pounder cannon it was later adapted to take larger guns. A number of original guns are on display along with replica firearms and related exhibitions.

Essex Regiment Museum

Part of the Chelmsford Museum, this collection traces the history of the regiment from 1741 to the present. Memorabilia and trophies include the Salamanca Eagle captured from the French 62nd regiment at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812. The museum also holds the collection of the Essex Yeomanry.

East Essex Aviation Society and Museum

Housed in the Martello Tower at Point Clear, one of the oldest of these forts built along the east coast in 1806 to repel invasion during the Napoleonic Wars. One of the few Martello Towers open to the public it now houses an exhibition based around the remains of a crashed P51 Mustang of the US 479th Fighter Group forced to ditch in the sea off Clacton in 1945. There is a memorial display to the Mustang's pilot along with collections covering major conflicts of the 20th century.

 

Combined Military Services Museum, Maldon

The museum holds several collections of military artefacts, including one of weapons and equipment used by the Special Operations Executive, and another with more recent examples of espionage equipment. Notable exhibits include the only surviving MK2 Cockle canoe, used in the Cockleshell Heroes raid in World War II, and one of the few remaining TSR2 engines. The museum also houses the Donnington Historic Weapons Collection, featuring weapons used and captured by the British Army in the 19th and 20th centuries, and there is an extensive English Civil War collection of armour and weapons. 

Tilbury Fort

From the time of Henry VIII to the Second World War, Tilbury Fort defended London against attack from the sea. The original blockhouse was strengthened with earthworks and a palisade when the Spanish Armada threatened. During the Anglo-Dutch Wars Charles II had the site re-fortified by Sir Bernard de Gomme, adding four projecting bastions and an earth and brick gunline along the river. In the First World War its anti-aircraft guns brought down a German Zeppelin. Today it is one of the best preserved bastioned fortifications in Britain.

Bungay Castle

Bungay Castle was built by Roger Bigod in 1100.  His son Hugh was a significant player in the revolts by barons aaginst Henry II.  Durign the sisge the castle was undermined. The story of the siege and the Barons revolt can be interpreted bya  guide.

Royal Naval Patrol Service Museum, Lowestoft

Commemorating the activities of the Royal Naval Patrol Service during the Second World War. Exhibits include boards listing the 850 honours awarded to members of the service, including one Victoria Cross, and a list of over 200 mentioned in despatches. There is a mock-up of a wheelhouse along with model ships, photographs and assorted memorabilia such as shields, uniforms and flags.

Norwich Castle Museum

Founded as a motte and bailey castle by William the Conqueror, this was the only royal castle in East Anglia prior to the building of Orford Castle. The stone keep dates from around 1100. Briefly captured by rebel forces under High Bigod during the rebellion of 1173-4. Today it houses a museum with galleries devoted to Boudica and the Iceni revolt, and to the Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods. Dungeon tours explore the maze of medieval cellars below the castle.

Battlefield of Winceby

A brief but significant battle in the Civil War, lasting only half an hour. In 1643 Parliament's Eastern Association army intercepted a Royalist force intending to raise the siege of Bolingbroke Castle. Cromwell's cavalry charge dispersed the Royalists, many of whom were trapped and killed in Slash Hollow, a ditch still identifiable today. There is good access to the battlefield by path and road.

Framlingham Castle

A well preserved 12th century castle, with 13 square shaped towers along its curtain wall in place of the traditional keep. Built by Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, it was besieged and taken by King John in 1216. Later it was the base from which Mary Tudor mounted her campaign to seize the throne from Lady Jane Grey. In World War II it served as a regional defence centre for British forces facing a German invasion. The castle has a visitor centre and stages events during the summer.

Orford Castle

Built by Henry II in the 12th century to consolidate his power over East Anglia and used to put down a local rising led by the Bigod family. Refortified and used as a radar station in the Second World War. Though only its unique polygonal keep remains intact, there is plenty to explore with a maze of passages in the basement and a visitor display in the upper hall. The roof affords great views seaward over the former port. 

Boudica's revolt

The uprising against Roman rule led by Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, took place in AD 60 or 61. The rebels first attacked the Roman capital Camulodunum, now Colchester, and destroyed the city. A Roman legion led by Quintus Petillius Cerialis went to put down the rebellion but was roundly defeated by Boudica's army. This battle may have taken place near Great Wratting in Suffolk. Boudica was eventually defeated at the Battle of Watling Street, the site of which is unknown. There is a gallery dedicated to Boudica's revolt in the Norwich Castle Museum. 

The Battle of Maldon 

Here a marauding Viking expedition was confronted by a Saxon militia force, led by Ealdorman Brihtnoth, in 991. The Vikings were camped on Northey Island, linked to the mainland by a causeway. Brihtnoth let them cross in order to engage them in battle and was killed in the ensuing combat. The Saxons fled, leaving the Vikings victorious albeit with heavy casualties. The day's events were captured in a contemporary poem, The Battle of Maldon. Today the landscape is much changed, with the channel much wider, but the dyke wall affords a good view of the battlefield.