Royal Observer Corps

No. 6 Group Museum

Upon the Stand-down of the Corps in September 1991, with a possible Museum in mind, staff at the HQ of No.6 Group (Norwich) managed to put aside a great number of items of equipment, paperwork and photographs which otherwise might have been scrapped.

Ex ROC members of the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum thought that a themed building containing all these artifacts was feasible.  A suitable building was then advertised for - luckily one became available at the American Church near the USAF base at Woodbridge - transport was arranged, and it arrived at Flixton in 1992.  The task then began of obtaining planning permission, erecting and painting, and the building had the added amenity of a toilet.  Most of the summer of 1993 was taken up with moving the artifacts in and their display.

The Royal Observer Corps Museum

The official opening in September of that year was performed by Mr H J Teague MBE, a former Group Commandant of No. 6 Group (Norwich) ROC.

Today, 7 years on, the Museum traces the history of the Corps from its inauguration in 1925 through to the present day, some 75 years later.  Although stood down, the Royal Observer Corps Association has ex members all over the UK, has its own official banner and holds annual reunions.

On entry to the Museum is a welcome sign and the dated history  of the Corps, plus a display of photographs of the local Bungay post.  A woman observer wearing a wartime uniform stands in a sandbag enclosure with the post plotting instrument for aircraft.  Nearby are display cases with wartime aircraft recognition  books and their cost in old money (for the younger of our visitors).  A big display shows the post-war uniforms as worn by the Corps (which followed the RAF pattern).  Other cases show training material  from the 50's.  The Cold War saw the Corps take on the task of Nuclear weapon reporting and radio active fall-out monitoring.  Display cases feature instruments used and a model underground post.  Room 2 shows what a full size underground post looked like, with three women observers on duty.

one of the display cases in room one

The Ops Room display features a triangulation table (for working out the Ground zero of a Nuclear Burst) and a display 'A' plotting screen for the display of fall-out readings and predictions and finally some Teleprinters.

An eye-level case houses almost all the badges,  insignia and medals of the Corps. Overhead fly wartime and post-war aircraft models.  To bring the Museum up to date, a Combi-TV shows a history of the "Forewarned is Forearmed", the Corps motto, and not forgetting the Corps badge which shows the Elizabethan coast watcher looking out for the Armada.

The museum is now established and well recognised by well-known museums, and is a must for visitors and ex-members seeking information.  On special event days at Flixton the Museum has has ROC ex-members on duty to greet visitors and answer any questions.

Every September, the Museum arranges an "At-home" day for ex-members and visitors, who come from Essex, Bedford, Sussex, Hampshire, Northampton and Lincoln.  Entertainment is held in the hangar.  Much more exciting is the arrival overhead of aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight as they fly past and salute the officers, men and women of the Royal Observer Corps who gave the RAF such valuable service during the war, thus gaining from His Majesty King George VI the title Royal in 1941 for the services rendered during the Battle of Britain.

For further information, contact Huby Fairhead at nsam.flixton@tesco.net

 

 

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