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£2m museum Bomber Command bid hotting up
CAMPAIGNERS have launched a £2m appeal to buy a Second World War airfield to create a Bomber Command museum.
Charity Bomber Command Heritage (BCH) needs to raise the cash to make a bid for the flying field at RAF Bicester, described by English Heritage as the best preserved Bomber Command base in the country.
The move comes as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed the site is on the market. There is no guide price.
The 348-acre site, off Skimmingdish Lane, is being marketed on behalf of the MoD by BNP Paribas Real Estate and will be sold by process of sealed bids.
Potential buyers must submit a “serious expression of interest” by August 24. BCH hopes this could be the first step to turn its long-held ambition into a reality, and create an education centre and museum, telling the story of Bomber Command and recreating the sights, sound and smell of a Second World War air training site.
Chairman Dean Overton said: “We are seeking donations small and large. For the large ones we are putting out feelers to same people who contributed to the Bomber Command memorial in London.
“We are reasonably optimistic. We have got a lot of work ahead.
“The National Audit Office valued it a number of years ago at £2m. Something around the £2m mark is what we are after”
The group has formed a partnership with Cherwell District Council and is using its expertise to help put together a bid.
The site was made a conservation area in 2002, and contains 42 listed buildings.
For more details or to make a donation view bc-heritage.org
RAF Bicester was taken over by the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. During the Second World War it was home to Number 12 Squadron.
The first RAF recipients of the Victoria Cross during the war were given posthumously to Flying Officer D.E. Garland and Sergeant T. Gray, who were initially based at Bicester.
Later RAF Bicester became an Operational Training Unit.