Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Sunday, 23 November 2008

Museum hope for historic RAF base

Carl Mann
Mr Mann is leading efforts to remember the air base's long history

A former RAF serviceman is hoping to set up a museum in the officers' mess of one the UK's oldest RAF bases.

RAF Sealand in Flintshire, shut in 2006, bringing to end an association with air force planes which stretched back to the World War I.

Now Carl Mann, who worked there until his retirement, is gathering support for a permanent museum on the site.

He said: "It has a long, important history that will simply be forgotten if we can't get a museum built."

He added: "The Officers' Mess would be an ideal place for a museum because so many important people have dined there, including Montgomery and Churchill."

Mr Mann has collected a huge amount of memorabilia associated with RAF Sealand.

Officers who trained at RAF Sealand
Log books are among the potential exhibits that have been collected

It ranges from smaller potential exhibits, like the station silver, to much larger artefacts, including a World War II Spitfire fighter plane.

The museum plan has received backing from a number of local politicians, including Carl Sergeant, the AM for Alyn and Deeside.

"We shouldn't forget the history around the site. It's steeped in history," he said.

"I was at the event when the camp closed, which was a sad day - so hopefully something could come of this."

The Officers' Mess is on land which is currently owned by the Ministry of Defence.

It is to be sold as part of a larger development scheme involving adjoining landowners, called the Northern Gateway project.

RAF Community Relations Officer, Squadron Leader Peter Sinclair said: "The MoD is withdrawing from the site, but we would always wish to encourage a heritage connection.

"There are on-going discussions for provisions for a visitor centre."

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