Forces go free to celebrate big day - The Evesham Observer

Forces go free to celebrate big day

Evesham Editorial 25th Jun, 2018   0

A NATIONAL Trust property near Pershore will open its doors for free to all current and ex-service people next weekend to mark Armed Forces Day.

Free admission will be offered next Saturday, June 30 and in addition to the mansion house and acres of parkland to be discovered, museum chiefs hope the wartime offering may prove to be of particular interest.

The popular RAF Defford museum tells the fascinating history of the secret airfield which was the centre of the British airborne radar development during the Second World War. The airfield was built in 1941 on part of the 18th century landscape park at Croome.

“The work at Defford on air to surface vessel radar changed the battle of the Atlantic,” said museum volunteer John Sterry. “Aircraft sunk over 600 of the 843 German submarines deployed.”

Systems were developed for Airborne Interception (AI) of enemy aircraft; for the detection of submarines, and for accurate navigation and bombing. These remarkable achievements provided a significant military advantage to Allied aircraft and made a direct contribution to the successful outcome of the war.

Radar development continued after 1945 into the Cold War period but with the arrival of the V-bombers, flying transferred to Pershore in 1957. In the 1960s, the airfield was used for radio-astronomy, and subsequently for satellite communication research.

In the museum, a short introductory film shows aerial views of the park and airfield, and the different radar systems. Information panels explain these in more detail and also illustrate the lives of the men and women who worked on the airfield.

There are also displays which tell the story of the 600-700 WAAFs, Wrens, women scientists, technicians and civilians who worked at Defford and another post-war section which includes the forward section of a 1951 Canberra bomber with descriptions of radar systems that were used in the Cold War period.

Current and ex-service personnel must show their ID card at the Visitor Centre to gain free entry.

For more information call 01905 371006 or visit


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