The USAAF Hall includes many exhibits devoted to telling the story of the friendly invasion of ‘Yanks’ in WWII, as Sywell is located right in the middle of a particularly busy area of the country for USAAF airfields (such as Polebrook, Harrington, Spanhoe, Podington, Thurleigh and Chelveston).
There is a fully equipped B-17 pilot and a recreation of a B-17 cheek- gunner’s position, a station billet and even a genuine war-time Jeep.
A unique exhibit is the 20th Fighter Group “OPS” boards—these chronicle every mission the group flew between 1943 and the end of the war with every air-to-air and air-to-ground victory recorded.
The Mears Ashby Collision of Mission 48 is also commemorated with recovered items from this tragic accident. A key element of the Museum’s work is the ability to tell the story of wartime heroism through aviation archaeology. Remains from various aircraft are shown with the stories behind their often tragic demise.
A recent local excavation led to the recovery of some significant aircraft parts. These were from a mid-air collision between 3 Boeing B-17 aircraft in which several crewmen were lost. Poignant personal effects were recovered together with an unused parachute. These form part of a memorial to the lost crew members.
What to See. Fully Equipped B-17 Bomber Pilot, Norden Bombsight with Bombardier, Excavated Crash Relics, Mission 48 Memorial, Pratt & Whitney Aero Engine, Rare Maps, 20th FG Operations Boards accompanied by original USAAF combat footage.