BOXTED Airfield Museum is gearing up for another busy year of visitors with a new exhibition.

And the venue, launched more than six years ago by a group of like-minded enthusiasts on the site of the airfield, now has a new building in which to showcase one of its major artefacts.

Since launching it has enjoyed the loan of part of a fuselage of a B26 Marauder bomber aircraft, like those which were stationed at the airfield during the Second World War.

But until now, it has had to be kept in storage and then wheeled out on to the runways for open days.

Richard Turner, chairman of the museum, explains with the completion of a purpose built building last summer, the fuselage can now take pride of place and is on view at all times alongside a number of new displays and attractions.

Richard says : “We have got a pilot’s chair and a radio operator’s chair so we have put together an approximation of how the cockpit would have looked using those and some of the instruments.

“Maybe we will get some became a private airfield.

The historical group formed in 2000 and started gathering memorabilia and the recollections of villagers.

Chairman Richard Turner said: “A lot of local people still have memories of the airfield.

“They remember the Americans giving them sweets, which were in short supply then, of course, and chewing gum.”

The group raised £60,000 to buy two Nissen huts to house the displays and Sir Bob Russell, Colchester MP at the time, helping to secure a £34,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

More than 20 volunteers helped put the huts together with occasional help by a local builder.

One exhibit tells the story of P51 Mustang pilot Jim Howard, the only American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour for service in Europe.

His family, and many others, have made the pilgrimage to the airfield to see the exhibitions, from the US and Canada.

These include the family of airman Lenice Marshall who was stationed there.

his family have even appealed for information on a local family who he befriended during that time and was photographed with.

“Lenice’s family are actually coming over in August,” says Richard.

The museum has now launched for the summer and will open to the public on the last Sunday of each month until October.

Admission is £3, free to children accompanied by an adult. there.

“We do have the photograph of it in the scrapyard though.

“A Marauder enthusiast brought it back to Duxford but two weeks later the whole scrapyard was bulldozed and the only surviving example of a Marauder in the UK would have been lost for ever,” he adds.

In fact, there are only a handful of the aircraft left in existence.

“There are about four or five I believe.

“One is in France and the others are in the US, so the section we have is the only chance to see one in this country,” explains Richard.

The museum is also home to a wealth of artefacts, photographs and memories of villagers who recall how in 1943, farmland in the village of Langham was turned into a housing base for around 3,000 personnel.

Despite not being in Boxted, the airfield could not take Langham’s name as there was already one there.

The site was chosen because it was flat and close to the coast, giving the planes of the 386th Bomb Group and the 56th Fighter Group easy access to mainland Europe.

After the war, it served as an RAF base until 1947, when it others donated at some point, you never know what people have tucked away in their garage or cupboards.

“The cockpit exhibit is in front of the piece of fuselage, to give people an idea of how it would have been.

“We set it out like an aeroplane but that is not quite right really, as it is not an aeroplane as such and about a third of the craft is missing.

“But it really gives people and idea and we also have the story of the plan the fuselage came from which really is quite amazing, in terms of how it was nearly lost forever,” he says.

Mr Shorty, as that particular B26 Marauder was known, was stationed at the nearby Earls Colne Airfield during the Second World War.

But along with its fellow marauders, which were either scrapped or sold-off following the end of the war, it was then put out of the service.

Richard explains it ended up in a scrap yard where it languished for more than two decades.

“It is quite a surprising story of survival really.

“It was found in a scrapyard in the north of England in the 1970s but it is not known how it got