The RAF Oulton Museum, Blickling Estate

Documenting the ever-growing museum collection © Jo Bosch

Documenting the ever-growing museum collection

What is RAF Oulton?

Royal Air Force Oulton was a bomber base that was created on the Blickling Estate in 1939 and undertook work vital to the war effort before being closed for operations in 1946, and finally decommissioned in 1949. Remains of the airfield can still be seen in Oulton Street, just over a mile from Blickling Hall itself. The Hall and wider estate were requisitioned during this period.

First as a successful member of 2 Group, RAF, and latterly as part of 100 Group, RAF, the station was instrumental in winning the war – as documented by the Luftwaffe themselves. The aircraft flown from the station ranged from Blenheim medium bombers to the famous Fortress heavy bomber.

The RAF Oulton Museum

Since 1995, the Blickling Estate has housed an ever-growing collection of objects, documents and oral histories relating to the working life of RAF Oulton. The museum now occupies the same space that was used as accommodation for leading Air Crew and Wing Sergeants during the war. We know this because of the records we have and the graffiti they left us.

A new chapter

The museum was relocated in 2011 which gave us the opportunity to improve and enlarge the displays.

We have also created a mock ‘crew room’. Whilst on operations, crews would spend time before and after each flight in a room designed to lower stress and improve morale. It also became an informal office for men writing letters and doing minor chores. We have added a large case to ours – a case we found on site, in pieces, giving us a nice jigsaw puzzle to solve.

We've scoured local shops and auctions to find the right furniture and borrowed items from the Blickling collection to fit the room out. It boasts a period wireless and a bookcase as well as reproduction paperwork and newspapers for visitors to read.  We have also fitted a new case, showing more objects from our collections – donated by families whose relatives served here during the war.

An ex-crew member from RAF Oulton gave the crew room his official seal of approval soon after its opening, saying it brought back so many memories.

Visit the crew room and imagine how you would have felt and behaved in those dark hours before an operation.

Can you help?

The volunteer team that run the museum are always recruiting, with duties from meeting and engaging with visitors to photographing and documenting the ever-growing collection. The team come from all ages and backgrounds – but all are passionate about sharing the story of the brave men and women who served at RAF Oulton.

Why not come and have a look yourself this year?