WITHAM GROUP NEWS

We’re proudly supporting Metheringham Airfield

The Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre is located at the former RAF Metheringham site in Lincolnshire. The team there are restoring and preserving KG651, a 1944 C-47A Douglas Dakota aircraft and have recently erected a new aircraft hangar to house it in and keep it protected from the elements.

Witham Group have proudly donated the required twin pack epoxy floor paint free of charge and here, Ian Brett from the Airfield tells us all about their fascinating project…

Background

“The Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre, in Lincolnshire, is dedicated to the memory of the 106 Squadron members who operated Lancaster bombers from  RAF Metheringham in WW2. Sadly no Lancaster’s were available for the museum but we acquired a 1944 C-47A Dakota six years ago when it was in looking for a new home. The Douglas C-47 Dakota is famous for mass parachute drops and many other WW2 operations. They operated through RAF Metheringham evacuating casualties to the nearby military hospital at Nocton Hall after D-Day.

Our Dakota arrived in kit form as it was disassembled for transport by road in sections. Our team of volunteers assembled it and transformed it back to it’s  WW2 RAF military transport aircraft appearance. Much of this work was completed out in the open, between showers and over the Winter months when the museum is closed. It now has a complete cockpit, navigator and radio operator positions, with para seats and a stretcher fit in the rear. Visitors are allowed  full, supervised access to the interior and can sit in the pilots seat in the cockpit or a real D-Day type para seat, something we believe is unique in the UK and it is a very popular attraction.

The Dakota lived outside for several years until it recently moved into it’s purpose built hangar. It’s condition had deteriorated in spite of our best efforts, as all inactive aircraft do outside. The restoration and conservation of this 77 year old aircraft is an ongoing task, there are always jobs to do to improve the display as well as maintain and conserve it for the future. With the Dakota now housed out of the weather it’s long term future looks more assured and the restoration work can be undertaken in suitable conditions.”

The project

“The construction of the Dakota Hangar started in September 2019. As you can see the hangar was built around the Dakota (the framework is actually a recycled and extended barn donated by Dyson Farms, or Beeswax as it was then) as it would be impossible to move it in after construction. The main contractor, Skinns of Walcott, have done a good job of not denting the Dakota when working all around it, really not an easy task at times! Work came to a halt when it was very wet in late 2019, as you can see from the mud.

With the COVID pandemic starting soon after we began construction of the hangar, progress was not quite as planned and it’s only now being completed. The  Dakota hangar is a large financial and logistical undertaking for a small museum that is funded mainly by donations and run by unpaid volunteers. We have asked for help from many sources. We have used local businesses and contractors as much as possible and several have been very generous. Witham Oil & Paint very kindly donated the two pack epoxy paint for the newly laid concrete walkways after we asked them for some advice about how finish the concrete for the public display area.

As the hangar is large, most jobs tend to be large (and expensive) as well. After we were given detailed instructions for preparation and application of the paint it took our floor painting team of six, two full days to complete the task but it looks splendid now.”

With thanks

“We have been very fortunate with many local firms supporting our efforts. A big thank you to Witham Oil & Paint for all your help, it has been very much  appreciated.”

For more information about The Metheringham Airfield, this project and how to visit or support them, please click here.