THE Colchester area is home to not only a rich Roman history but also a rich history of military aviation.

An important chapter was written at Boxted Airfield, which opened a new exhibition at its museum in 2019.n. 

Part of the exhibition is a B26 Marauder bomber aircraft like the ones stationed at the airfield during the Second World War. 

It housed 3,000 American soldiers and served as a major asset in the Allies' armoury. 

Until 1947 Boxted was an RAF base before it became a private airfield. 

Celebrations of the 80th anniversary in 2023 saw a P47 Thunderbolt and P51 Mustang soar past, while Americans and Britons remembered the site's history. 

Colchester also witnesses a tragic incident, when a Lancaster bomber crashed in the city. 

In 1944 the crew of the aircraft was moments from landing at Boxted when it crashed near to what is now Safestore. 

Four British and three Canadian men were aboard, Murray McPherson, James Mayger, Francis Gunn, John Shell, Dennis Randle, Robert Cameron, and Ernest Fancy, who sadly all died. 

The location of the incident has been named Lancaster Approach in remembrance. 

Closer to the city centre, the Goojerat barracks, which were rebuilt between 1970 and 1975, used to be the headquarters of the 19 Airportable Brigade. 

The Garrison now houses the 2nd and 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment based at the Merville Barracks as part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade. 

It also has an important piece of aviation history, with the last Dakota aircraft to have been in service with the RAF greeting all who pass into the barracks. 

The Douglas C-47B-35-DK Mark IV was manufactured in 1945 in Oklahoma City and delivered to the RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1946. 

It carried many important people, including Field Marshall Jan Smuts, Aneurin Bevan (known as Nye Bevan), Lord Mountbatten and General Benard Law Montgomery himself. 

The aircraft took to the skies again in the 60s and was transferred to New Dehli to be used by the Air Attache. 

During the 70s it returned to the UK to the Airborne Forces Museum in Aldershot and finally arrived in Colchester in 2019.